GUILLEN: It surprised a lot of people. I think he had like 13 or 14 home runs last year. And the thing about it, we don't want him to come here with a home run attitude. He's a lead off hitter, he's coming at the big time, at the right moment. And I wouldn't expect him to hit a home run, but it was nice to see coming from him.
I know you said that you're going to miss having the DH here, but do you look forward to managing National League style?
GUILLEN: I don't see any difference. The only thing is the double switch you've got to make, you might use your bench a little bit more. The difference between the National League and American League style is how low your pitches have to be on the mound. I'm going to manage it the way I manage it. I think we play a couple of games against National League, we did real well, and today is another game, no matter where you play.
Venezuela is a big country with a lot of kids who play baseball. Was it underscouted until recent years?
GUILLEN: I think so, especially this organization, here. Houston has one of the best players coming out of the country at the best time, and they trade everyone, I don't know what's the reason to trade all those kids. Houston had Santana and Garcia and Abreu, they are pretty loaded. I think in the past, when somebody here one scout is in the ballpark, all the kids just jump out and hopefully they get a job. That happened to me. When I signed it was 200 kids running around for one scout.
Now the scouting to Venezuela and call in kids they can see. Just maybe because now the kids in Venezuela see how much money they make right now. When I signed, the dollar was four to one dollar, it's like, nothing for us. Now it's 2000 for one collar. That's a lot of money. But maybe because our economy, the way it was right now, kids, now the parents say let's see salaries and see baseball players.
I think in Venezuela everybody want to be a baseball player; they don't want to go to school. And I think that's the reason. Now that the more scouts go there, before it was just shortstop, shortstop, shortstop, maybe one pitcher. Now we have a lot of different positions, because the scouts are more interested in baseball. We have school, we have academy, and hopefully we continue to do that.
Will you be more prone to play for one run early because of the crowd, the bottom of the order, and also because Oswalt is so tough.
GUILLEN: With all due respect, and my respect for Andy and Roger, this kid is one of the best pitchers in the National League, to me he's the best pitcher on that staff. I don't say best pitcher; I better say he's got the best stuff. We got to try to get there early, score as quick as we can, because we know he's going to be a tough guy to be facing for nine innings.
With all the talent that Venezuela has now in the Major Leagues, do you think that -- when you look ahead, if you do, to that World Cup, do you think Venezuela would be the favorite?
GUILLEN: I think they have one advantage, not just Venezuela, I think all the Latin, the Caribbean players, because they can play winter ball. They've been acclimated, because they want to. If the team in Venezuela, they have a chance to pitch nine innings, I think they have the rules like so many innings, so many pitches. I take my chances with the starting pitches with the lineup we have. But we've got to compete against the majority of American players, they have a lot of great players, it's going to be a great competition, but I think Venezuela has a good shot.
GUILLEN: He asked me about we come here with the mentality to finish it up in Houston or go back to Chicago.
I tell him that our goal is to finish it up here, that's our hope. Is it going to be easy? No. I think they was in the same situation before. They grind it all year long. They have the players, they know how to play the game. We finish up here, fine, we'll go back to Chicago. But I just take it one day at a time. It's one day at a time and see what happens.
You guys are almost undefeated since you held off Cleveland and won the division. What was the best thing you learned from that experience?
GUILLEN: Well, the best thing about it we stick together as players. We stick together -- we was the same way when we was losing. I think it was a slap in the face and a wake up call to let them know we wasn't that good.
You see guys looking in your mirror in your car and you see the guys right behind you, you better hurry. Not the way we played, the way Cleveland played.
Unbelievable. It's one thing about Cleveland, they went so good in the second half, I say when we finish playing against them in Chicago, I made the comment they might not lose another game until we see them. They was playing so great. It was unbelievable how they were playing. I make another comment, I say if we clinch in Detroit, we will sweep them in Cleveland. And we did. That team is pretty scary. We compete all year long against pretty good ball clubs.
Do you ever encourage your hitters to do certain things to disrupt the timing of pitchers and would Oswalt be one that you might?
GUILLEN: Well, when we talk about defense, pitching, I try to stay away. I have my coaches, I want to trust. I talk to my coaches, they have one plan, and they try to keep the rhythm. It's not because I say so, it's because our hitting coach make the adjustment, and talk to the guys about it. I talk to my coaches once, Buehrle talked to my players about how we're going to attack or how we're going to play. I'd rather talk to my players about how they feel, talk about the situation. But I steer away from hitting and defense. That's why I've got my coaches there.
There's a perception among some of the people from Latin America that your quick success will open the doors for Latin American managers such as yourself. Could you explain why?
GUILLEN: Because I believe you're not going to get the job because you're Latino or another color or race. I feel you should get the job because you earn this job. I don't like people to say we go to interviews because we're a minority. This is our team, I want to bring the guy that's the best to run it. Hopefully Felipe and myself, and a couple of other guys did it, hopefully it will open their eyes. But I don't think anybody have the right to make the decision who is going to be here no matter what color, where you come from, or the religion you believe. I think people should hire the manager, because he's a good man to manage that ballclub.
GUILLEN: He asked me about the decision we had to make when you are a Latin American manager and World Cup coming up and you don't want one of your players to play. I don't think we have the right -- I don't think baseball and Players Association or any organization should have the right to tell the guys no. If they decide they want to go, they have to go. They have to go. We don't have the right to tell Freddy you're not going, it's not our decision. That's the player's decision, and this got to be a pretty good thing for Major League Baseball. It's going to be a good idea. It all depends after the World Cup coming up. Right now we hopefully I say "we," because I feel part of these games, and I say hopefully it will come out good and be great for the game of baseball.
What has been behind Freddy's success late in the regular season and the postseason?
GUILLEN: I think Freddy last year when we got him, he was being used too much in the past. He had a tendency to go down in the season. We had him not throw the innings he didn't have to throw. He would throw 200 or 300 innings, and I think he's stronger now because he's well rested and he's ready to go.
What convinced you that this White Sox team could compete for a championship without Frank Thomas and Carlos Lee?
GUILLEN: Frank played really good for us. It's a shame he couldn't be part of this. But I think he was a big part of this because he win the game for us.
Carlos Lee, he was a great ballplayer. I think we had to make a trade because we need someone with speed. The way we was looking at this team is around pitching and defense. And to get Podsednik and Vizcaino we give up Carlos Lee. I think he had a great year with the Brewers. The ballclub we had last year is a different ballclub than we have right now; the attitude wasn't there. All those guys were Latinos, and he said why aren't you helping me?
I've got more pull with the Latin players than the American players, that's weird. Last year I had 12, 13 Latin players, and you trade 10. They wasn't pushing for each other, they not was caring about the team, they was no working to win. Maybe the way they grow up, the way they grow up is not the way I like people to grow up. I like them to play hard, play good. But it worked out pretty good for us, thank God.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.