|Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
OZZIE v DIZZY
“I love Fidel… and I’d fight Dwyane Wade if he dissed me.”
Ozzie Guillen, the outspoken manager of the Marlins, gave us the two most controversial quotes of the young baseball season, neither having anything to do with baseball.
Dizzy Dean was the most quotable and goofiest baseball announcer ever. That’s our focus, comparing two of baseball’s more entertaining quotesmen, the guy they call OzzMental and the long dead guy known as Ol’ Diz. It should be noted both our subjects are manglers of the English language. Understandable since neither were native speakers, one grew up in Venezuela, the other Arkansas.
The Marlins built a new stadium in Little Havana and brought former White Sox manager, Ozzie, in to run the team. So when Ozzie gave Castro some props for staying in power all these years you can imagine what hit the fan or broke loose. Even with his foot planted squarely in his mouth, Ozzie riles up fans, baseball or not. Oz didn’t take to Dwyane Wade disrespecting coach Spoelstra and said to expect a fight if one of his players acted that way. In many ways Dizzy Dean’s quote “They X-Rayed my head and found nothing” could apply to both guys.
“It puzzles me how they know which corners are good for filling stations. How do they know oil and gas is under there?” Dizzy worried about the service station business. Ozzie worried about new homes: “In the 80s and 90s people made a lot of money and built houses. The first thing they put in their houses was a gym. I first thing I put in was a bar. The second thing I put in was another bar.”
“Sure, I eat what I advertise. Sure, I eat Wheaties. A good bowl of Wheaties with bourbon can’t be beat.” That’s Dizzy thinking not unlike Ozzie.
Both commented on money. When a teacher wrote to announcer Dizzy pleading for him to quit saying “ain’t” Dizzy responded “Let the teachers teach English and I will teach baseball. There are a lot of people saying “isn’t” who ain’t eating.”
Ozzie, not so unsimilar “My mother is a high school principal, my brother an engineer. One of my little sisters is a doctor, another is a teacher. When you come from that kind of family and only make it to the eighth grade it’s weird and awkward but… I make more money.”
Both were gifted ballplayers and said so. Dean: “The good Lord was good to me. He gave me a strong body, a good right arm and a weak mind.” Ozzie: “(Rival manager) Showalter never even smelled a jock in the big leagues. Mr. Baseball never even got a hit in Triple A. I was a better player than him, I got more money than him and I’m better looking than him.”
Ozzie repeatedly says “I want to die on the baseball field. I want to be walking to the mound to change pitchers and drop dead. My family will be happy because they’ll know I went out like I wanted.” Of course, the dead Dizzy responds “I ain’t what I used to be but who the hell is.”
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