Hit by a Pitch

We’ll miss you, Ozzie.

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Ozzie GuillenAfter tonight’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays at US Cellular Field, the Chicago White Sox announced that, per his request, Ozzie Guillen was being released from his contract. He’ll be going to the Marlins.1

As I’ve mentioned before, I was a bandwagon White Sox fan in 2005. I’m not proud of this at all, but it’s important today for one reason. My entire (albeit short) baseball-loving life has had Ozzie Guillen as its skipper. Ozzie Guillen is the only manager I’ve ever known with the only team I’ve ever loved. I know this is lame as hell, but I feel like I’m losing a buddy.

I love Ozzie Guillen. I love the way he says what he wants to say. I love the way his sons, especially Oney, say what they want to say. (Sorry for all the links to my own shit — I’m feeling very sad and very nostalgic tonight.) He was an awesome manager for my team and he’s the kind of guy with whom I’d like to have a beer (well, several beers — could you imagine throwing back a few with this dude, holy crap).

The only certainty with professional sports teams and professional athletes these days is uncertainty. Change is everywhere. Players get traded or dropped. Teams move. Managers and coaches get fired. Strikes are threatened or happen. Lawsuits are filed. Guys leave their teams for Lithuania or China. Entire seasons are called into question.

I’m well aware of these things but I get attached anyway. I totally take sports too seriously and too personally. It’s just how I am. I’m not a fan who wants my team to win at all costs. I’m a fan who wants my team to win with the guys I love.

It’s been sad watching the 2005 World Series White Sox team be dismantled over the years. I try to keep up on everybody but it’s hard and some of them have gone to teams I hate — it’s just insult on top of injury when my boyfriend Jon Garland (who had season-ending surgery a while back) goes to the freaking Dodgers and Freddy Garcia goes to the freaking Yankees and I can’t even. But there have always been four constants — Mark Buehrle, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, and Ozzie Guillen. Ozzie Guillen was always the most important of all. He was the face of the White Sox for me, the shit-talking dude who you either loved (me) or hated (haters), who managed the hell out of the perennially underappreciated team from a city that generally, in its own drunken annoying way, prefers the northsiders (ugh).

One thing Cubs fans have on White Sox fans is that their best days as fans have to be ahead of them (possibly so far ahead they won’t be alive to witness them, but still). As a White Sox fan, I worry sometimes that my best days as a fan are behind me. Don’t get me wrong — I’ll be loyal to the Sox forever (sometimes I even think about getting a tattoo of the exploding scoreboard, as ill-advised as that would be). But shit like this? It makes me worry about the future. And it kind of puts crying in baseball.
1. I have a marlin joke! A million years ago, my ex worked for a small law firm that focused primarily on bankruptcy law. One of the partners was really into April Fool’s Day. One year on April 1, he left a message for the other partner. The message was from Mr. Marlin, who said he was “underwater in debt.” The phone number was for the Shedd Aquarium. Dude called the number, asked for Mr. Marlin, and was told that “the animals aren’t allowed to use the telephone.”

Written by Tracy

September 26th, 2011 at 9:43 pm