Passion and High Standards

I this blog, I consider three guys who are totally committed to their sport and who have set high standards for their sport. Here’s a look at Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, the PGA’s Tiger Woods and NHL center Jeremy Roenick. 

MLB

I sort of like Ozzie Guillen, the vocal Chicago White Sox manager. I mean I like him because he says it like it is. Guillen said Sunday that his pitchers will retaliate if Sox hitters are thrown at and hit by opposing pitchers. Guillen has a good reason to be a bit peeved. His players have been hit 45 times this season, which places them fifth in that category in the major leagues. In what seems to be the head hunting division in the AL, Cleveland batters are tops at getting HBP; it’s happened to them 65 times.

The manager said, “When we went to Cleveland they hit two guys, not on purpose, but someone can get hurt out there. You can pitch in, but if you don’t know how don’t do it” He went on to say, “It gets to the point when they hit us seven times, 20 times in one week and we hit one and they’re the headhunters and that’s a [problem] with major league baseball.”

The unhappy Guillen admitted, “Yesterday I get upset, they hit one guy and they throw in into another guy. I got upset. I know for a fact they’re not throwing at nobody, but enough is enough.” He added, “I have Konerko bruised all over the place. Around the league, be careful because we’re going to hit people. I don’t care if I get suspended because I need to protect my players.”

My thought is that the league will fine and suspend him for his statements. If those statements don’t earn him punishment from MLB, then his admitting that anyone who throws at his guys on purpose will face “double retaliation” assures him that he’ll be watching a few games on TV and his paycheck will be a tad lighter in a week or two.

I also like him because as both a player and manager he’s proven to be passionate about the game, and since 2005, when he took over the helm of the Chi-Sox, he’s guided them to two Division Championships (2005 and 2008) and a World Series Championship (2005). This season the Sox from Chicago are in the hunt for another Central Division Championship as they sit a mere three games in back of the division leading Detroit Tigers. Guillen’s overall managerial mark is 483- 426 (.531) in the regular season and 12- 4 (.750) in the post-season. Both are darm good records.

So, Ozzie has put opposing pitchers and teams on notice. It should be an interesting week with Guillen and the guys.

PGA

Tiger Woods took his 70th PGA Tour title on Sunday as he won the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational for the seventh time! It was his fifth victory in 12 starts and his second straight. Woods looks primed to be the favorite in the upcoming PGA Championship, which starts on Thursday. The tournament will be held at the Hazeltine National in Minnesota. The Bridgestone Invitational was Woods’ 16th WGC win. He won the tourney by four strokes, beating out Robert Allenby and Padraig Harrington, who finished tied for second.

Woods is number one this season in earnings, having won $5,478,163 in a dozen events. He’s finished in the top 10 nine times this year. Woods has been playing great after missing the cut at the British Open in mid-July. Additionally, in three of the last four tournaments, he has finished first.

This week, Harrington and Woods will be paired in the initial round of the PGA Championship tournament. It’s the second major this season in which they have been paired up.

Woods continues to be the ultimate champion, coming back in grand fashion after just missing the cut in the rain of the British Open. It’s hard to think of a better performer on the golf course over the past decade-plus than Woods. He’s third all-time on both the European Tour (37 titles) and the PGA. He’s won the Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005) and PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007) four times and the U.S. Open (2000, 2002, 2008) and Open Championship (2000, 2005, 2006) three. He won his first Masters when he was 21 years old.

He’s been on the tour a Baker’s dozen years and has weather numerous ups and downs. That makes the highly competitive Woods simply an admirable sports personality. He’s dealt with slumps, ill health and an ever-intrusive media. But the thing about Woods that you’ve really got to admire is his work-a-day work ethic. He’s interested in being as consistent as he can be, in constantly improving his game and in being the pro’s pro. I’m hoping he takes this year’s PGA Championship for the fifth time in his career.

NHL

A major retirement announcement in the NHL as the San Jose Sharks’ Jeremy Roenick said he’s calling it quits after playing 20 NHL seasons. Roenick, who I believe is a future Hall of Fame center, announced his retirement on Thursday in an emotional and thoughtful speech.

He played his first eight seasons with Chicago (1988- 1995) and five with Phoenix (1996-2001). He was then with Philadelphia (2001- 2003) three seasons, with Los Angeles (2005)one and then one more with Phoenix (2006). He ended his career with the Sharks (2007 and 2008). In 1,363 regular season games, he accumulated 513 goals and 703 assists. The 39-year-old Roenick, who was born in Boston, MA, is only the fourth American hockey player to score 500-plus goals. Only 24 players in NHL history have garnered at least 500 goals and 700 assists.

Roenick, a class guy, said, “My body can’t do it anymore even though my head and my passion are still in the game. I know, truly in my heart, it’s time to leave the game.” He also noted, as he fought tears, “In Phoenix, I wasn’t able to say goodbye to the game. “Doug Wilson and the San Jose Sharks gave me my life back. I can sit here and make my own decision to hang them up and move on.”

He finishes 36th in goals and 46th all-time in assists. In the playoffs, he scored a total of 53 goals and notched 69 assists in 154 playoff games. He was an All-Star nine times and an Olympian twice.

Sharks’ GM Wilson said, “He is one of the greatest hockey players to play this game,” Wilson said. “He played hard. He was fearless. He’d go through the wall. I’ve had guys come up to me and say he was the greatest teammate they ever had.”

He will be missed.

Those are my picks for the sports celebs who are passionate about what they do and who set high standards for performance.

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Posted by on Aug 9 2009. Filed under Baseball, Golf, Hockey. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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