Monday, June 4, 2012

Ozzie's School of Management by Rick Morrissey

One of the many reasons I love baseball is the characters you find associated with the game.  Since a prime example of those characters is Ozzie Guillen, I was happy to win this book from LibraryThing.  I thought it would be full of hilarious stories from his many years in the game, and since Morrissey is a Chicago area journalist, he should know the "real" Ozzie from Guillen's years with the White Sox.

The subtitle is "Lessons from the dugout, the clubhouse, and the doghouse."  Even more reason to believe this would be funny.  Now I wasn't born yesterday so I'm well aware that Ozzie's language is offensive, but I figured it would be easy to overlook.  Well, this isn't the first time I've been totally wrong.

Ozzie cannot form even a partial sentence without saying F--- at least once, if not two or three times.  Just for variety he often precedes this with "Mother" and he uses these words as nouns, verbs, adjectives and in every conceivable situation.  And he's LOUD.  It sounds like he's actually proud of his language, and yet he brags about how he learned English when he came here from Venezuela so he could fit in!

This book would have been excellent as a longish magazine article, but it just isn't right for a book.  Morrissey tells the same things over and over so that as you get into the book you feel like you've read it before.  And many of the stories just aren't that interesting, seemingly chosen more as examples of his foul language than for humor or insight.  

I don't mean to completely demean either Ozzie or the book.  Ozzie is a dedicated husband and father.   He can be brilliant as a baseball manager, and there's a lot to be said for his way of communicating with his players.  The cover shows him in full rage, right up in the face of an umpire, but that's his way of defending his players and showing them he's on their side.  I think it would take a special person to get along with Ozzie but if a player can get along with him, he's got a friend for life.

When he's criticized for the way he spends money lavishly on his family, he tells people he works hard for his money and intends to enjoy it.  He doesn't wish to save it up so his widow's boyfriend can have a good time with it.  Now that's funny!


  1. Wow, that's too bad about this. I just do not like a lot of bad language in a book, especially if it is gratuitous. Of course, that is the question sometimes, but probably not this time!

  2. Too bad this book didn't live up to your expectation of it. Too much bad language makes most people uncomfortable, and especially in print. I think an interesting story would be one featuring his wife and how she copes.

  3. Jill and Margot, I can overlook quite a bit of profanity but I didn't really see the point in including so much of it. I got it already, you know?

    Margot, A book about his wife is a great idea. I think it would be fascinating how she copes with such a volatile husband and three sons who take after him.