Ozzie back for more

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

PHOENIX -- When we last saw Ozzie Guillen he was being washed down like a worn-out Texas quarter horse.

He was a human champagne spritzer, feeling no pain, giggling like a ticklish, five-year-old.

Guillen, who fires from the lip quicker than his off-balance throws when he was a shortstop, said if his Chicago White Sox won the 2005 World Series, he'd quit and run for mayor of Chicago.

And they did on Oct. 26 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The manager of the World Series champion White Sox arrived a few minutes after the bus for yesterday afternoon's game against the Oakland A's.

"We had to go to the governor's mansion," Guillen said.

You're now governor of Arizona asked a visitor?

"Naw, a few of the coaches and players and myself went over for a reception," Guillen said. Series MVP Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and coach Harold Baines visited Arizona governor Janet Napolitano (D).

"I won't even get into politics at home, we have troubles in Venezuela," Guillen said. "I want people to love me, not hate me -- which is what will happen if I got into politics."

Guillen may be out of politics, but he's back again leading an American League contender. General manager Kenny Williams had as good an off-season as any and didn't spend as much as some teams.

"You can't win in the present when you live in the past, we had to get better," Guillen said. "We can't live off 2005 for the rest of our lives."

Williams re-signed free-agents Jon Garland (three years for $29 million US) and Konerko (five years for $60 million).

"That's two guys that wanted to play for the city or for me, I felt proud about that," Guillen said. "They certainly didn't sign back with us because of the money -- they could have got more if they went elsewhere."

Not only did Williams keep the key parts of his championship team, he improved by dealing centre fielder Aaron Rowand to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jim Thome and moving Orlando Hernandez and Luis Vizcanio to the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-hander Javier Vazquez.

Guillen watched Vazquez pitch five innings, allowing one run, in Puerto Rico's 7-1 win over the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

"We're not going to face a better hitting team in the AL than the Dominican (team) he faced," Guillen said.

The Sox have a looky-looky, spot-the-weak-link rotation of Freddy Garcia, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Garland and Vazquez. The total bump in salary, with the Phils paying $7 million on Thome's salary, is only $22 million for this year.

"I don't believe in manager of the year, I've seen a lot of guys win manager of the year and get fired," Guillen said. "Chicago is still a Cubs town. Hopefully some kids will grow up to be Sox fans."

And the Sox did make some impressions on the south side. The parade of double-decker buses started at U.S. Cellular Field and weaved through the surrounding neighbourhoods.

"We drove along Martin Luther King Blvd. and whether it was a youngster in kindergarten or a grandmother they were all jumping on the curb yelling 'Ozzie! Ozzie,' " said Sox vice-president Roland Hemond, a former Sox general manager.

From there, the cavalcade wound through Greek Town, then Little Italy, then China Town, three blocks across Madison -- briefly touching into Cubs territory -- before stopping at the banks of the Chicago River downtown for speeches.

"Chicago's World Series parade was better in a way than New York's," said Sox coach Tim Raines, a former Yankee who was there for parades down the canyon of heroes in Manhattan both in 1996 and 1998.

"Winning is old in New York -- same route, same time. In Chicago, they had to make up a route."

It had been, afterall, 88 years since the previous time anyone had to plan a post-World Series parade route in Chicago.


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