Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has never been one to mince words. If he doesn’t like you, he’ll say it to your face. While that “I don’t give a toot” attitude is admirable in some circumstances, it often lands Guillen in hot water with baseball fans — and especially the media.
Since retiring from managing following the 2012 season, Guillen — who also played 16 years in the bigs, mainly with the White Sox — hasn’t been any less vocal regarding his thoughts on his former team. Most recently, after the ChiSox lost the first game of a doubleheader to division rival Cleveland by a final of 4-1 — in a game that saw White Sox manager Tony La Russa intentionally walk an opposing hitter in an 0-1 count — Guillen appeared on the NBC Sports Chicago postgame show along with former White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik to voice their displeasure with how the team was being managed.
Guillen took things a step further though, referring to La Russa as “Rick Renteria with credentials.”
Renteria was the White Sox manager between 2017 and 2020. He was fired after his team went 35-25 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, finishing one game back of the division-leading Minnesota Twins. The team also lost two games to one in the Wild Card round against Oakland. 2020 was Renteria’s only winning season as a manager. Much of the White Sox’s incompetence rightfully fell on Renteria’s shoulders. Basically, Guillen was calling La Russa a subpar manager. Pretty tame, but also somewhat uncalled for, given Guillen’s history with the club.
Guillen isn’t wrong though. The White Sox have a lot of talent and should be competing for a division title, yet halfway through the season, they’re meddling around .500. Still, New York Post columnist Jon Heyman didn’t care for Guillen’s comparison.
Heyman implied in his tweet that Guillen was gunning for La Russa’s job, eyeing a return to managing an MLB club. Guillen didn’t take too kindly to this insinuation and went off on Heyman in a series of replies calling Heyman every name in the book. Guillen eventually apologized to NBC Sports Chicago for his actions, but wasn’t done with Heyman, finally ending his Twitter tirade by challenging Heyman to a boxing match.
This is the most fight the White Sox have shown all year, and Guillen’s not even associated with the team anymore.
Guillen may not be the biggest guy, but he’s known for not backing down. If I was Heyman, I wouldn’t want to fight. Maybe if I was 6'6", 240, I’d go at it with Guillen, but Heyman is 61 years old and only 5'8" — three inches shorter than Guillen, a former major league shortstop. Heyman is not. No chance he’s taking that fight.
After a short back and forth on Twitter, Heyman tried to resolve the situation by stating that he wouldn’t fight Guillen but was willing to donate $500 to a charity of Guillen’s choice if Guillen was willing to do the same for him.
$500? That’s it? Really? Heyman is worth $5 million, and the best he can do is $500? Come on man, at least make it a reasonable offer. Guillen has not responded. Rumor has it he’s still got steam coming out of both his ears as visions of Heyman’s tweet run through his head like sheep jumping over a fence.
While Guillen’s comments certainly weren’t kind, I doubt they held the ill intent that Heyman seems to insinuate with his tweet. La Russa deserves to be fired, no doubt about it. However, we’re still only halfway through the season. Perhaps the White Sox could make a late-season push for a playoff spot. Maybe they make a few moves at the deadline and start competing with the Twins in the AL Central. Maybe they finally turn things around. Still, as of right now, Guillen’s comments ring true, and you can’t get angry with him for stating the obvious.