Guillen goes off again

Nomaan Merchant

Chicago’s sports teams have inspired many memorable coaching rants, immortalized on YouTube and replayed by gleeful fans for years.

See Cubs manager Lee Elia’s declaration after a loss at Wrigley Field that “85 percent of the (expletive) world is working. The other 15 percent come out here.” (That’s perhaps the least profane part of the speech.) Or the 45-second clip of one-time Northwestern coach Dennis Green, after his Arizona Cardinals blew a 20-point lead against the Chicago Bears, which includes this succinct declaration: “The Bears are who we thought they were!”

When I need a break, I go online and play a 2007 exchange between a local radio host and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. The radio guy, WSCR’s Mike North, had questioned Guillen’s starting lineup before an interleague game against the Cubbies. On his way to Wrigley Field, Guillen called into the station, and when North greeted him, he responded, “Aw, shut the (bleep) up,” before proceeding to rant and yell lots of other words unfit for a family paper. Ozzie then hung up as North told him not “to talk down to me.”

Since he became the Sox’s manager in 2004, Guillen has earned himself the title of Chicago’s most bombastic sports personality. Guillen has cursed out seemingly everyone who has an opinion different from his – he once called Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez a “Venezuelan mother*$&#^#.” (Guillen is from Venezuela himself.)

But Ozzie’s favorite target is the more popular, if less victorious, team on Chicago’s North Side. And he was at it again Monday in Toronto:

“We won it a couple years ago, and we’re horse(bleep),” Guillen begins. “The Cubs haven’t won in (100) years, and they’re the (bleeping) best. (Bleep) it, we’re good. (Bleep) everybody. We’re horse(bleep), and we’re going to be horse(bleep) the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win.”

Cubs fans like me mostly view Guillen with amusement. And what’s really great about this rant is that it occurred before Monday’s game, a 1-0 loss.

Guillen has the same inferiority complex as many Sox fans I’ve met. The Sox won the championship three years ago in one of the most dominating World Series performances I’ve seen. Most of what you hear from Guillen and others, however, is how the Cubs get all the love in Chicago and nationally.

Sox fans call Wrigley Field a “dump” and label Cubs fans ignorant and ambivalent toward the game on the field. That’s because the concrete nirvana surrounded by parking lots that’s called the “Cell” is much more fan-friendly, especially when it’s half-empty.

I’m just kidding, of course. And I’ve moved past the days of wearing my “SUX” T-shirt (purchased for $10 outside Wrigley two years ago), except for special occasions. Besides, Sox fans – except for William Ligue Jr., who ran onto the field with his son during a 2002 game and attacked a first-base coach – are generally harmless. Mainly, I just wonder why Guillen, who also referenced Elia’s famous tirade against Wrigley fans, gets so worked up about a team that hasn’t won a World Series in so long.

Seems like winning isn’t enough for Guillen. In the meantime, I’ll just wait for his latest rant to make it onto YouTube.

Managing editor Nomaan Merchant is a Medill junior. He can be reached at [email protected]