Not only is the baseball season over, but we’ll have to wait another 5 months before the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jay Mariotti (above) pens another column suggesting Ozzie Guillen isn’t fit to manage.
A Chicago team, I’ve always said, finally will win it all when we least expect it. We expected the Cubs to win in 2003 because they had the requisite big names. But they collapsed when the heat was on, as opposed to the Sox, who recovered and conquered October like few teams in baseball history. Their 11-1 postseason record matches the 1999 Yankees’ as the best record in the division-series era and ranks in the modern era behind only the 1976 Big Red Machine, which went 7-0. Dating back to those nervous nights in Detroit, one full month ago, the Sox lost one game.
What they did, thanks to the feisty leadership of Guillen and foresight of Williams, was write a new blueprint on how baseball might be played in the post-steroids era. They wanted selfless players and didn’t care where they came from — America, Japan, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico. With everyone obeying and respecting the yakkety Guillen like some cult figure, the overhaul worked like few we’ve seen.
There was one star, Paul Konerko, and a Mount Soxmore rotation. Otherwise, solid players fulfilled roles splendidly and played smallball, bigball, whatever was needed — but always smartball. If you had told me Jermaine Dye, Magglio Ordonez’s marginally received replacement, would be Series MVP, I’d have giggled loudly.