Sun, Feb 19, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Guillen eats humble pie

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Ozzie Guillen, who led the White Sox to their first World Series title since 1917, said he spent a sleepless night after seeing his quotes on TV

AP , TUCSON, ARIZONA

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, left, was badgered by the press on the opening day of Spring Training in Tucson, Arizona, Friday. During the off season Guillen made some comments in Sports Illustrated about Alex Rodriguez not being Dominican enough to play for their baseball team in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

PHOTO: EPA

During his two seasons as manager of the Chicago White Sox, Ozzie Guillen has fired off opinions and profanity-filled declarations on a variety of topics and personalities.

On Friday, he added a rare offering to his repertoire -- an apology.

Guillen apologized to Alex Rodriguez for comments he made in a Sports Illustrated article in which he criticized the New York Yankees star for waffling on his choice of countries for the World Classic.

"I learned a lesson. I never took a first shot at anybody in my life and now I feel like I took the first shot. I feel embarrassed, I feel guilty. I wish I had not said it the way it sounds or the way I said it," Guillen said at a news conference at the White Sox spring training complex on reporting day for pitchers and catchers.

Guillen, who led the White Sox to their first World Series title since 1917 in just his second season as manager, said he spent a sleepless night on Thursday after seeing his quotes on TV and in print.

In the SI article, which was centered mainly around Guillen's visit to a Venezuelan prison, the manager gave his opinion on several subjects, including Rodriguez's decision on which team to play for in the Classic.

Rodriguez was born in the US but his parents are Dominican. So he had a choice. He first thought he would play for the Dominican Republic, then he was not going to play at all before finally deciding to participate with Team USA.

"He knew he wasn't going to play for the Dominicans. He's not a Dominican. I hate hypocrites. He's full of [bleep]," Guillen said in the article.

Guillen tried to explain his remarks on Friday.

"I don't call him a hypocrite in that way. Alex is not a hypocrite. I was just trying to say he doesn't have to please people. He doesn't have to make people from the United States or from the Dominican Republic or from Venezuela happy. When you do that, you sound like you are a hypocrite. You say, 'Hey I want to play for the United States and that's the team I belong on,' move on and that's it."

Guillen said he didn't want Rodriguez to have to deal with the issue at spring training when he reports and would call him, if necessary.

"I apologize to Alex Rodriguez, his family, his fans, the New York Yankee organization, to the White Sox organization," Guillen said.

he started it

"That's the first time I feel like I did something wrong. I've been in a lot of controversial things before, but I think I started this one and I'm going to finish it. ... What I did to Alex was wrong. He can do whatever he wants. If he wants to play for Japan, fine for him."

Guillen also had a comment in the SI article about Nomar Garciaparra, who decided not to play for Mexico.

"Garciaparra only knows Cancun because he went to visit," Guillen said in the magazine article. On Friday, Guillen said he was just joking about Garciaparra. "I think it was funny."

Guillen was embroiled in another controversy this month when he decided to skip the White Sox's visit to the White House, a move that had the critics hopping.

Guillen said when the White Sox decided to not allow families to make the trip to Washington to keep the party size smaller, he didn't want to interrupt his vacation if his family couldn't go.

"I don't disrespect anybody. I want to make that clear," Guillen said, adding he wasn't trying to make a political statement. "I'm not going to the White House because my kids are more important than anything in my life."

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