Friday, June 23, 2006

Guillen's Distraction May Be Too Much For White Sox To Overcome


It's a word I've used to describe White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, in my Out of Bounds blog. I've used it, and haven't wavered about it.

It's not fag, which Guillen used to describe Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti. But it's a word that is hardly flattering -- at least in this country. I'm not sure about Guillen's Venezuela.

Guillen is becoming a major distraction for his team, and that can only be a good thing in Detroit. Commissioner Bud Selig fined Guillen and ordered him to attend sensitivity training in the wake of his slurs against Marriotti. Whether the Sox can continue to win and nip at the Tigers' heels as long as Ozzie Guillen remains their manager has yet to be determined. History would suggest they cannot.

Good teams, even great ones, have been taken down by that dirty "D" word -- distraction. Sometimes they can play through it for some of a season, or most of it, or even just about all of it. But eventually it will grab them and pull them down.

The 2005 Pistons made it all the way to Game 7 of the NBA Finals with the mother of all distractions, coach Larry Brown, tethered to them like a boat anchor. It wore them down to the nub, until they could no longer muster the energy to vanquish the San Antonio Spurs. Brown carried no such baggage the previous year. The Pistons won the whole enchilada.

Baseball, with its long, grind-it-out, marathon of a season, can tease the great teams who have distractions. They can go long stretches of time with the bells tolling all around them, and play good ball. Until the jabbing of distraction is no longer easy to ignore. Then the play falters, and championships that seem so certain abruptly become in peril, or even turn into paper hopes.

Ozzie Guillen isn't cute. He isn't funny. His behavior and his words -- several more examples could fill two posts worth of this blog -- bely someone who should be in charge of a major league baseball team. For now he's been fined, and ordered to attend sensitivity training -- and that alone is enough embarrassment for one baseball team. But if anyone thinks this is the last salvo we'll hear from Mr. Guillen, then they are the same ones who put milk and cookies out for Santa Claus every December 24.

So when it happens next, what will be the consequences? And for his team, the wondering of that next time and its fallout can very easily short circuit a return trip to the playoffs.

Greater teams have fallen victim, truthfully.


Blogger Ozz said...

F--- Guillen and F--- the White Sox!

12:02 PM  
Blogger Lee Panas said...

I hope Guillen becomes a distraction but so far the White Sox just seem to be getting better. Is he another Billy Martin?

9:41 PM  
Blogger Ozz said...

Yeah, the Sox are on a roll, unfortunately.

10:59 PM  

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