(CBS) “Little by little,” former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s relationship with the franchise is improving to the point he feels more comfortable, he told the Mully and Hanley Show in an interview Wednesday morning.
“I just went to the ballpark a couple days ago, and I had fun,” Guillen said of watching a game at U.S. Cellular Field recently. “I talked to the PR and marketing guys and everybody out there. I think that was a first step.
“I enjoyed the game. That’s the first game I enjoyed at U.S. Cellular Field. You know why? Because I had a couple drinks and didn’t have to make the moves.”
After eight years managing in Chicago, Guillen and the White Sox parted ways after the 2011 season, in large part because his relationship soured with former White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, who he still doesn’t speak with. Guillen managed the Marlins in 2012 before his volatile personality played a big role in his firing there, and he’s been out of the dugout since — which he admitted is hard but also more relaxing.
Reflecting back on his time in Chicago and his relationship with Williams — who’s now the team’s executive vice president and doesn’t handle the day-to-day baseball operations — Guillen was appreciative for the opportunity he was provided. He cited “family stuff” as part of the reason he and Williams butted heads, but he focused mainly on how their baseball minds complemented one another well.
“Kenny and myself, professionally we were very, very good,” Guillen said. “I think Kenny is one of the best GMs in the game. I know he takes a lot of heat. When you work in Chicago and you have Kenny’s job, you have my job … you’re going to take heat. I think Kenny did a tremendous job when I was there to try to put the best team together to win. I think Kenny’s philosophy was, ‘The longer I’m here and the longer I run this ball club, I don’t care about how much money we’re going to spend, I don’t care what trade we’re going to make, good or bad, but we’re going to put the best team on the field to compete.’
“When you’re a rookie manager and your GM talks like that and backs it up, you appreciate that. I think Kenny made me — Kenny and (chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf). They gave me an opportunity to manage a team.”
Like always and ever, Guillen still has his edginess, including a gem in comparing managing in Chicago to managing in Miami.
“When I left Miami, (it’s like) you know you have a good wife (Chicago) you always fight with,” Guillen said. “You’ve been married for so many years that you always fight with your wife, then you divorce and find a girlfriend (Miami) and she was worse than your wife.”
Listen to the entire Guillen interview below.