By Connor McKnight–
CHICAGO (CBS) As Ozzie Guillen confirmed reports that he is indeed being released from his contract with the White Sox after their 4-3 win over the Blue Jays Monday, he began by saying he wouldn’t point fingers or blame anyone as he walked out the door.
He didn’t. He put the blame on himself as he always promised he would.
“If anybody in baseball [is] going to blame [White Sox General Manager] Kenny [Williams] or [White Sox Owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf] or the front office people, they’re wrong,” said Guillen. “That’s a decision I make. The best thing about it is I will walk out of here with my head up. Jerry gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues and gave me an opportunity to manage in the big leagues. [Reinsdorf] gave me an opportunity to be free when he no have to. I always think it’s about respect.”
So, instead of setting bridges on fire as he left the post he’d held for nearly eight full seasons, Guillen had only praise for the man who let him leave the city he grew up in.
“I said I’m going to leave this town [talking] the truth,” Guillen said after the game. “I talked to Jerry this morning. I couldn’t say anything because they got to go through the process. … It was a great talk. [Reinsdorf] know it was a decision I had to make. He respect[ed] my decision.”
While neither Guillen nor Williams would confirm multiple reports that Guillen has a job offer already on the table from Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, Williams did indicate that there is a compensation package set up should Guillen land with a “particular team.”
“No, they just let me go to talk to anyone I want.” said Guillen. “And right now a lot of people talking about Florida because that’s a team… the rumors are out there. The only thing the White Sox did [was] let me go and do what I want to do.”
As for this season, Guillen admitted a certain sense of a job left undone.
“No regret. No regret,” Guillen said. “Very disappointed this year, yes. A lot of disappointment. [With] myself, my coaching staff. We should be. We not get where we want to get. ”
Guillen stayed “Chicago tough” throughout the nearly 20-minute press conference. He did not get emotional while talking with the press but did say that the toughest part to deal with was telling his players just prior to Monday night’s game.
“The toughest deal, I already did,” Guillen said. “When I talked to the players before the game, to me, it was very emotional. They know. They’re grown people. Hopefully, they’ll be better without me. The hardest thing for me is over with. [I] deal with this thing for two years and think about what I’m going to tell my players before the game starts.”
At the end of the day, Guillen and Reinsdorf just didn’t see eye to eye on a business decision. Guillen maintained that he did not want to return to the club next season under a one-year contract and Reinsdorf didn’t see the business sense in giving his longtime manager an extension.
For his part, Guillen was frank as always about why the change is being made.
“I [didn’t] earn that contract. I don’t think I earned it,” Guillen said. “I don’t think we did a good [enough] job to earn that contract. One thing I admire about Jerry; he thinks with his brain and not with his heart. Sometimes.”
Whether Guillen lands with the Marlins–as is expected–or elsewhere rest assured that Ozzie Guillen has left an indelible mark on the White Sox organization.