As of Monday, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko has been hit by a pitch three times in the last four games. Apparently, his manager has had enough. Before their game on Sunday against the Indians, Ozzie Guillen addressed the situation.
“If I see somebody hitting my players and I know it’s on purpose, two guys are going down. I don’t care if I get suspended, I don’t care.”
“They hit one guy then threw in to another guy. I got upset. I know for a fact they’re not throwing at anybody, but enough is enough. I’ve got Konerko who has got bruises all over the place. Around the league, be careful because we’re going to hit people. I don’t care if they suspend me, because I have got to protect my players.”
Pitching inside is a very important part of the game. For a pitcher to be successful, he has to challenge hitters and show he is not afraid to come inside. Guillen made the point that if you are unable to take command of the inside part of the plate without plunking someone, don’t come inside.
Guillen strikes me as a manager that I would love to play for. He is passionate about the game and about winning. He will do anything for his players, as long as they play with the same intensity.
“I’d rather have myself suspended for two days than have my players on the DL for 30 days.”
Players respect a manager or teammate who will stick his neck out for them.
Baseball is a game with unwritten rules. I can remember an incident about eight years ago while catching for a summer league team. Some guy hit a home run and decided to stand and admire his shot, before breaking into a slow trot around the bases. In my best Crash Davis impersonation, I advised the gentleman to run, which he did not.
The next batter got a fastball right in the side. As he winced and started toward first base, I told him that he could thank his buddy for that.
Despite reports that Major League Baseball is looking into his comments, Guillen stuck by his comments.
“I can say whatever I want to say. I know the integrity of this game better than anybody.”