Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is Ozzie a prototype 21st Century mgr?

We’re definitely in a new era. Technology is overtaking our society and turning it into something completely nonsensical. Even on the baseball diamond.

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t run the team during Friday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, nor will be on Saturday night.

THAT IS THE two-game suspension he received from Major League Baseball officials after being ejected from Wednesday night’s 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees. The umpire who kicked Ozzie out of the game says the manager used profanity while speaking to him.

It is typical that a manager who gets kicked out of a game gets some sort of penalty from league officials. But the reason this particular ejection is gaining national attention is because of what Ozzie did AFTER the ejection.

The “old school” manager would have tried hiding in the shadows of the tunnel connecting the dugout to the clubhouse, possibly feeding crude signals to whichever coach becomes acting manager in the real manager’s absence to try to impact the game’s direction.

The old school manager with a temper might go to the clubhouse and inflict some serious damage.

SO WHAT DID Ozzie do?

He went on-line. Specifically, he used his Twitter account to send out a couple of messages to the people who follow his “tweets” (which are mostly read by “twits,” but that is a subject for another day’s discussion).

In their official statement, Major League Baseball officials said they had a problem with Guillen sending out messages while the game was still in progress Wednesday night.

Perhaps they think he was sending out signals that could have influenced the outcome of the ballgame (which was a Mark Buehrle pitching performance wasted by weak hitting from the White Sox)?

I DON’T GET it. Particularly since after reading Guillen’s Twitter account to see what the offending “tweets” were, I’d have to say they were downright trivial. I’m actually more offended at how grammatically awful and poorly spelled they were.

His initial Twitter reaction to being ejected was to type out, “This one going to cost me a lot money this is patetic.” That’s literally what he wrote.

He followed up that message with a later statement saying, “Today a tough guy show up a yankee stadium.”

That is what Major League Baseball construes as a violation of “social media policy and other regulations regarding the use of electronic equipment during the course of a game.”

I CAN’T HELP but think of the baseball managers from when I was young construing such a response as timid, if not downright sissy-ish. I can’t envision the late Billy Martin typing a tweet on Twitter (or if he tried, it would be so foul and obscene that he’d likely be facing prosecution by some law enforcement type for disseminating profane language and thought). I wonder at times what our city’s sports scene would have become back in ’78 if Yankees owner George Steinbrenner had followed through on his mid-season whim and traded “manager” Martin to the White Sox (for Sox manager Bob Lemon, and how surreal both of those hard-drinkers would have found this latest controversy to be?

But back to the present.

Ozzie’s initial response was to use his Twitter account to acknowledge that he was going to be in trouble for getting ejected – on account of the fact that his fiery temperament is such that his every action gets exaggerated.

As for his use of the word “patetic” to describe his upcoming punishment, I’d say what is pathetic is that he couldn’t spell “pathetic,” particularly since the so-called big advantage of computer keyboards as opposed to typewriters is that it is easy to fix one’s typographical errors.

THERE IS NEVER a reason for a typo, except for one’s literary laziness.

It actually makes me respect Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade just a bit more for telling the Chicago Tribune, “I will never get in trouble tweeting, twittering, tweetering, I can’t even say it, because I will never do it,” Quade said. “I don’t have the time, energy or know-how, and I’m real happy about that.”

Some people are going to argue that trying to ignore Twitter is wrong because too many people are on it and that it is somehow snobby (if not elitist) to refuse to communicate in 140-character bursts of thought.

After reading through Guillen’s tweet-ed thoughts from the past few days, I can’t say that I missed out on anything by not reading these in “real” time.

UNLESS YOU REALLY want to believe Guillen’s observation from Monday that, “New York no good restaurant open late.”

For all I know, that statement could wind up offending New Yorkers – who really like to think they’re the “city that never sleeps” and that you can find anything, at any hour.

It certainly is more intriguing than Guillen’s weblog, where his latest posting is of a picture of himself with mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.

Which may well mean that Guillen is the prototypical baseball manager of the 21st Century, capable of using the latest technology to spew his thoughts. Just think of what Casey Stengel and his “Stengel-ese” would have been like if given to us in 140-character bursts of garble?


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