Ozzie Guillen pregame interview

Ozzie Guillen pregame interview

Ozzie, it was less than a month ago that your team seemed to be in danger of possibly falling out of first place. Do you think that there's anything that your guys learned during that stretch of the season that is serving them now?

OZZIE GUILLEN: I don't know that they learned anything. I think we had a wake up call. No, the way we were playing, we weren't playing well at all at that particular time, but I think the biggest thing was the way Cleveland was playing. They played so well for a stretch of two months, it put a lot of interest in the season. But not because we played that bad, it was just they were playing so good. I think we took advantage of that. I think anybody knows and everybody knows it's not going to be easy for us.

Everybody thought we were going to win by 15 game lead. I never thought that. June, July, I kept saying it's not going to be easy for us, and a lot of people didn't believe that. I think when you're playing in our division and the teams are almost equal and they're pretty good ballclubs you know it's not going to be easy to win it.

What has Coop (Don Cooper) meant to your team this year? Obviously the stats show what it means, but just aside from that, what has he meant putting the staff together?

GUILLEN: Well, he helped me a lot. Talking about as a coach, you know, I always believed your manager and your coach have to trust you and they believe in you and they know you're there for them, it makes it easy for your team. I always say, you're a good coach when you have good players. We have a pretty good pitching staff, it's easy to go and coach that one. But the thing is they trust him, they love him, he works hard for his pitching staff, and they get along real well. That's a different thing. They listen to him, and when you go out there and you can lean on somebody and talk to somebody about anything, it's going to make it easier on your job.

You were down 3-1 as a coach with the Marlins, you and Jack McKeon. What do you think Mike Scioscia has to sell today, and conversely do you have to sell anything to your team having been in that situation before and overcome those odds?

GUILLEN: Well, there's one thing about it, we do not feel that we've got them. We've got a better chance, but the day is not over yet. It's over with the last out we make or the last out they make. Yesterday I said, all it means is we could go to a seven game series.

I've seen a lot of crazy things in baseball. I think they're good enough to come back. We have to keep pitching well and keep making plays and keep hitting. But in short series you don't know what's going to happen. And I think right now we did it before, and I think they're a good enough team to try to do it.

Have you noticed any kind of White Sox fans presence here in these two games so far?

GUILLEN: Oh, it's nice. I know there was a lot at the hotel. Here when the game is over seen a few people come down and root for the team, and it's nice to when you play on the road when you see people supporting you and following you, I think you feel good and hopefully we don't let those guys down today. Hopefully we do it today. If not, we go to Chicago. But it's nice to see people behind you and supporting you.

Ozzie, same lineup today, and did you ever think you would write the same lineup eight games in a row? And would you give us the line up?

GUILLEN: I give a lot of people a day off early in the season. I tried to match up and give a lot of days off just because of this: Because I know I'm going to be playing the guys that should be playing every day in the last couple of games of the season, and we did it. I think having those guys a few days off here and there helped them to finish strong, and that helped us. I'm a guy that doesn't like to change line ups. I believe in the players, I believe those guys get me here, and I'd like to stick with the same people.

(Juan) Uribe in Colorado, I think, had a reputation of being a little erratic in the field. Was that justified, and have you worked with him, and how has he improved defensively?

GUILLEN: Well, defensively, he's one of the best I ever seen the last two years. I think this kid is coming out to being a tremendous shortstop for us. Each series we play he's a different shortstop. He catches the ball real weird, but he gets it done. I think the communication, working with Joey Cora every day, helps a lot. I think it's like friends, teaching and listening and trying to make him better I think worked for him.

But I think that the way this kid is playing shortstop for us the last two years is amazing.

Paul Konerko is pretty much the heart and soul of this offense. How big has he been for this team, specifically these last two games for you guys?

GUILLEN: Paulie is our leader on the field and off the field. I think this kid, a lot of people look up to him. A lot of guys, one guy who shows up to play every day is Paulie. Paulie when we needed him was there. We struggled early in the season, somebody put a tremendous year together. It's one thing about Paulie, he needed 100 RBIs in Detroit, I believe, and he got them, and I never seen any team in baseball rooting like they did for them.

I told Iguchi, "Don't get a home run because I need him to get an RBI." I don't think Jerry Reinsdorf or Kenny (Williams) likes it because it's more money for him. I think that's how much they love him, when you deserve and you earn that respect, that's what you do for your teammates. When he drew the 100 RBIs everybody jumped in the dugout and was so happy for him that he did it.

Do you know whether or not Jerry Reinsdorf is here today, and can you just talk about how your relationship with Jerry has developed from the time you were a White Sox player until now?

GUILLEN: Well, I think Jerry Reinsdorf is the most underrated guy in Chicago. I think Jerry does a lot for the city and nobody gives him credit. In baseball he tries to do the same thing he did in the NBA. I think the only winning team Chicago had in a lot of years was the Bulls. Who owned the Bulls? Jerry Reinsdorf.

I guarantee you, he will he would trade every ring the Bulls have for one White Sox, I guarantee that. I think Jerry put a lot of years and a lot of time into this team. To me, he made me save a lot of money. He can do that. He saved me money pretty well. He gave me an opportunity to be back with him, gave me an opportunity to be his player.

There's one thing about Jerry, if you're Jerry's employee, you'll work forever for him, unless you're a manager. If you're a manager you don't work forever. But all these people work for the White Sox, this is my 16th year with these people, he's got people working for 30 years for him. That's how loyalty is.

I think a lot of people ask me if I want to win the World Series, I say yes, just for Jerry, just for him. Obviously for the fans, but one guy right away in my mind is going to be Jerry Reinsdorf.

Yesterday you described yourself as being pretty low key in the playoffs. That seems like a change of pace. Are you making a conscious effort? Do you have to be different in the playoffs?

GUILLEN: Well, a lot of people think like when we clinch in Detroit, everybody thinks I'm going to jump like a little kid back and forth because that's the way I am. When we clinched in Boston, the same way. Every time we win a playoff people think I'm going to jump back and forth hugging my players. I'm kind of different in the games. When managers lose, I think I've got to keep my composure, don't try, especially when you win, to embarrass another manager. You have to respect the game. I see guys winning games, you've seen Bobby Cox win games, you've seen Jack McKeon win games, I never see them hugging players. They got the spot and try to do the job. I try to do the same thing, stay as calm as I can.

I just concentrate on what I have to do. If they win, good for them, and you'll see I don't celebrate in Detroit and Boston, either. I just let the players do it. I don't think that's going to change anything today or if we got to the next level. I'm going to be the same. My kids get mad at me because when you're a coach or a player you try to enjoy, but when you're a manager you try to feel excited about the what the players did for you.

Would you read us the lineup?

GUILLEN: Podsednik, Iguchi, Dye, Konerko, Everett, Rowand, Pierzynski, Joe Crede and Uribe.

Could you talk about some of the managers that you've played with or played for or worked with that had a particular influence on your managerial style, what things you've taken from other managers to incorporate your own style?

GUILLEN: Well, I think to be quick, I think Bobby Cox, Jeff Torborg and Jack McKeon, I played for those guys. Bobby Cox gave me the opportunity to learn a lot from him. Jeff Torborg gave me the opportunity to learn about baseball, gave me the first chance to be a coach. Honestly between those three guys, he's the one that influenced the most. I only played for Tony La Russa a year and a couple months. I wish I could have played with him a little bit more and learned a little bit more about the game. But I think Tony left me when I was a kid. But I think those three guys I played for the most and I learned the most about them.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.