(CBS) Several days after chairman Jerry Reinsdorf squashed any theory that Ozzie Guillen might someday return as White Sox manager, Guillen responded by indicating he’s uncertain why that’s the situation.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know who I burned a bridge with,” Guillen said in an interview on the Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score on Thursday morning. “From the beginning (of the saga), everyone in Chicago knew I did not want to leave. I respect his opinion. I would like to know which one (that I burned). The one thing about it with Jerry, I appreciate the opportunity that he gave me to play with this ball club, to manage the ball club, to be a champ with the ball club. I don’t have anything to regret with. I am who I am because of the White Sox.
“You can put it either way, you know. If you say that thing (burned bridges) years ago, 14 years ago, I might erupt and say stuff. Now, I’m too old. I take it the way it should be. It’s kind of weird, because I look at it this way: If Jerry said yes, I will manage the White Sox, that I have a chance to manage the White Sox, then he’s (not respecting) the manager he has right now. It wouldn’t be fair for Rick (Renteria) to hear that.”
Guillen managed the White Sox for eight years, from 2004-’11, which included leading them to a World Series title in 2005. He left following the 2011 season as his relationship with executive Kenny Williams became more contentious.
Reinsdorf spoke publicly and opened up in a story published in USA Today on Tuesday. As part of that, he made clear that Guillen wouldn’t return to the White Sox as manager, and while he didn’t confirm it, the “burned bridges” comment presumably included Guillen’s relationship with Williams.
“I feel very badly for him,’’ Reinsdorf said in the interview. “Ozzie is a good manager. I’ve recommended Ozzie for several managerial positions that opened up, but his experience in Miami was costly.
“I hope he ends up somewhere. He can help somebody. He just can’t come back here. He burned some bridges when he left here.’’
Guillen managed the Marlins in 2012, then was fired after one disappointing season and some inflammatory comments he made that showed support for the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Guillen confirmed he wants to manage again.
“Manage, I wish I could,” Guillen said. “But the only reason I want to manage the White Sox is because I live in Chicago.
“Meanwhile, there’s a few teams out there, if I want to manage again, I keep saying day in and day out, every day, everywhere I go, yes I’d like to, but am I dying to? Not really. Whoever thinks I can manage in the big leagues, I know I can. I know. I’m watching every game, every team. I will help. There’s no doubt about it.
“Did they see somebody change? Yeah … I said maybe Jerry said this just to see how my reaction is going to be.”
Guillen holds a positive relationship with Reinsdorf now, he said, adding there were times after he left the game that he talked to him “a lot.”
Still, Guillen admitted he was somewhat confused by the “burned bridges” comment.
“I just really don’t care,” Guillen said. “Burned bridges? Wow. The only thing I can say is Jerry got a championship and Ozzie Guillen was the face — not the face — the manager of the club. That’s going to stick with him for the rest of his life.
“I am who I am. I got what I got thanks to Jerry and the White Sox organization. If can’t manage anymore there, hey, that’s part of the gig.”
In classic Guillen fashion, he also made a quip referencing the White Sox’s 2005 championship banner and memorabilia throughout Guaranteed Rate Field
“I will remember the White Sox forever,” Guillen said. “And one thing about it, Jerry parks his car, where he parks his car, first thing when he comes out of his car in the parking lot, he’s got to see my face there.”