Friday, August 01, 2008

Ozzie Guillen wants to leave no doubt that he's a jerk

Not that anybody had any doubts left on that score anyway, but this is exactly the sort of sarcastic b-s that sets the jerks apart from the constructive criticizers. What Ozzie wants to say is, "Our bullpen didn't get the job done today." There is nothing wrong with a manager's holding players accountable for poor performance. But Ozzie is a jerk, and he believes no wound is complete without its full ration of salt. So what Ozzie says is:

"I walked to the field like six times, and all six times I was wrong. Bullpen makes a good manager, and today I was pretty bad. I was making the wrong decision every time I went to the field."

Got that? "Bullpen makes a good manager, and today I was pretty bad." In other words, he wants to make sure you know that he really means, "I have an entire bullpen full of pitchers and none of them can pitch. Every pitcher I gave the ball to sucked today." He just wants to add that extra whip-flick that only sarcasm can provide.

Note to young persons who have heard the term "verbal abuse" but are not clear on what it means: had Guillen said, "Our bullpen was pretty bad today; they're going to have to do better than that or we're going to have to go find somebody else to pitch for us," that would have been unpleasant for the bullpen to hear, but it would not have constituted verbal abuse -- it would have constituted honest, albeit blunt, criticism. Sometimes the truth hurts; but that doesn't mean the truth doesn't need to be said. The question is not, "Did what you say hurt the other person's feelings?" The question is, "Did you go out of your way to phrase or intone what you said in a way that was calculated to cause more pain than the truth on its own would have caused?" Guillen's sarcasm served no purpose other than to ramp up the sting; and that is when you start seeing something that can reasonably be called verbally abusive.

In other words, a lot of times whether you're a jerk or not isn't determined by what you say -- it's determined by how you say it.

And Ozzie Guillen is one of the country's prize jerks.


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