Ozzie Guillen is a dick.
The former White Sox shortstop and manager isn’t necessarily wrong about everything, it’s just that… he’s a dick about it.
Like when he dropped an anti-homosexual slur on the inimitable columnist Jay Mariotti. Mariotti does suck, but he crossed a line. Or when he made the very good point that Joe West umpires as if he thinks people pay to watch him umpire, but then called him fat. Or when he made a good point about how Major League Baseball’s exploitation of Latino players that fell completely flat because he couched it in a complaint about Asians getting preferential treatment.
So, as much as you want to agree with Guillen about some things, it always ends up with, “but why does he have to be such a dick about it?”
And that brings us to Guillen’s latest controversial comments, on NBC Sports Chicago, where he was asked who he dislikes more, Carlos Gomez or Nick Swisher.
“Oh my God,” Guillen said. “Nobody can compare with Nick Swisher. I hate Nick Swisher with my heart. … I think he hates me back. There’s nothing wrong with that. … I don’t like the way his attitude was all fake. I don’t like fake people.”
Swisher is the guy who used to celebrate with a Captain Morgan pose, made “Brohio” a thing when he was with Cleveland, and appeared on the MTV idiot variety show “Ridiculousness” in 2015. He’s been pretty consistent over the years with who he is, and maybe those who have seen Swisher’s whole deal as “not an act” are wrong, but it seems a lot more here like one of those cases where Guillen is taking shots at someone who’s worth taking shots at, but does it all wrong, because he’s a dick.
“I don’t hate him as a person,” Guillen said. “But the way it was, White Sox way, I didn’t like that. … I think he’s a good player. Did I use him the wrong way? Yes. I played him center field and batting first, second. That guy’s gotta be in right field, batting 10th. … I hate him as a person, I don’t hate him as a player.”
Maybe a lot of this has to do with the fact that Swisher, in his one year playing for Guillen in Chicago, hit .219/.332/.410 with 135 strikeouts, then got traded to the Yankees and put up an .869 OPS for a team that won the World Series. From his debut in 2004 until his sharp decline in 2014, the only really bad year that Swisher had was that one with the White Sox.
Swisher’s constant antics — he even had the self-awareness in the MTV skit to make fun of himself for being such a pain in the ass — made him the type of player that opposition fans can’t stand, and who can become a cult hero in his own city — if he plays well. If, on the other hand, he has a year like he did with the White Sox, nobody there can stand him either.
And when Ozzie Guillen can’t stand somebody, well, he takes it too far. Because, after all, he’s a dick.