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Sox don't get much attention because it's mostly on their manager
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 8/17/2010 12:01 AM

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A week ago today when the White Sox were tied for first place, Ozzie Guillen scolded the world for not crediting his players for turning around their season this summer.

The Sox' manager was justified in getting his Ozzie up because for whatever reason the Sox don't receive enough attention in this town.

Nevertheless, my theory is that the Ozzinator himself is responsible for the situation.

Others might think the problem is due to so many other events becoming prominent just as the Sox played their way into the division lead.

First there was the Blackhawks' run to the Stanley Cup, then the Bulls' pursuit of NBA free agents, then Lou Piniella's already-assumed revelation that he won't return as Cubs manager next season.

Finally, finally, finally, the 2010 Sox had about a 15-minute window to introduce themselves to the masses.

Ah, but then the Bears reported to camp and the Sox were relegated to secondary status again. Sorry, but the planet stops spinning and the presses start rolling when Chicago's football darlings arrive.

Anyway, others believe Sox players are ignored because of doubts that the club belongs among baseball's elite teams.

We'll know more about that starting Tuesday night, when the second-place Sox open a three-game series at first-place Minnesota.

My theory has nothing to do with newsworthiness or pennant-worthiness. It has to do with Guillen, who was the Sox story when they struggled early, when they started winning and when they flew into Minnesota this week.

It's all Ozzie all the time.

Maybe the entire Sox organization is to blame, considering management rather than players starred in "The Club" reality series on MLB Network.

Regardless, everything about the Sox winds up being about Guillen because he's the most vocal, most imposing, most compelling character in Chicago sports.

It isn't Guillen's fault that he's so innately interesting or that he makes news by being part baseball manager, part worldly philosopher, part court jester, part life coach, part critic-at-large, part song and part dance.

If Guillen isn't getting into a snit with general manager Kenny Williams over social media, he's insisting that Latin American players are taken for granted compared to Asian players. If he isn't proclaiming that Sox players stink, he's telling jokes with his wife as the punch line.

Please, Ozzie, don't stop. Don't ever stop. Sports generally and baseball specifically need engaging personalities to fill the gap between games.

Still, what all this means is that the Sox wind up being Ozzie Guillen's showcase.

Few baseball managers become the faces of their franchise, except maybe Bobby Cox now during his farewell season. Guillen is the face of the Sox, however, which is good because none of his players command the spotlight.

As successful a manager as Tony La Russa has been for three decades, Albert Pujols is the Cardinals. You hear less about underrated Twins manager Ron Gardenhire than about Joe Mauer. Derek Jeter first obscured Joe Torre and now eclipses Joe Girardi.

But Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle and Gordon Beckham pale next to Guillen even when they hit, pitch and field the Sox into first place.

The manager is the story more often than not, whether you, I or he likes it or not.