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Rival Roundup, Vol. 26: And Now My Watch Is Ended

Ozzie is Oxenfree.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s amazing what happens when you go outside — raking the leaves on a Thursday afternoon, I found there were enough fallen branch-soldiers to keep me occupied for long enough that I felt I should be compensated for the work I was doing on my own house. (This is, to my understanding, the main reason people choose to procreate — so that can start employing in-house lawn minions.)

Lawn is, to be fair, a generous assessment of the small patch of 99% clover that occupies one and only one side of my abode’s exterior.

Anyway, I wound up meeting more of my neighbors during this period than I had at any point since moving into this place this year. It’s amazing what happens when you make your presence known.

It was while out in this great, wide wilderness of a residential street that I got the news.

Ozzie Guillen had, in fact, NOT been hired by the Chicago White Sox.


  • It’s Royal bench coach Pedro Grifol — the former sixth-round Minnesota Twins draft pick (in 1991!) — who will be taking over for Tony La Russa on the South Side.
  • If you don’t know too much about Grifol, despite his presence in the dugout of a division rival, I don’t blame you; it’s hard to keep track of rival coaches beyond manager and pitching coach. By the end of Grifol’s tenure in Missouri, his duties with the Royals had expanded to include catching and quality-control, in what looks in retrospect like one of the most analytically-forward positions in the entire Kansas City organization.
  • The Spanish-speaking Grifol will be the 42nd manager in franchise history; while the Twins didn’t move north until 1961, it’s fascinating to me that we’ve only had 14 managers since then. I guess running into that Kelly/Gardy streak sort of helps you out. Chicago has not been as lucky.
  • Baseball Almanac says that the Twins are one of the few franchises who have never had a Hall of Fame player take over the role, which makes me wonder when their “Fast Facts” section was updated (despite having data as current as Baldelli’s 2022 season!)
  • The real heartbreaker, of course, is that Ozzie Guillen will not be back in the dugout, unless the baseball gods have a glorious sense of humor (they’ve been known to!) and he gets installed as a base coach. You tell me you wouldn’t wanna see Ozzie Guillen windmilling next season. Say it to my face, and enunciate.
  • Speaking of Kansas City, the Royals also made their selection this week, tabbing Tampa Bay bench coach Matt Quatraro to lead the way going forward.
  • Roster construction and the general unpredictability of the future notwithstanding, I would have to be a bit more excited about the Quatraro hiring if I were a Royal fan than the Grifol hiring if I were (*shudder*) a Chicago supporter. Anyone who has spent as much time in the sabermetric situation room that is the Ray dugout — especially someone with the interpersonal reputation Quatraro appears to carry — seems about as well-suited for the job as you could hope for.
  • This means Rocco Baldelli will be up against a future Hall of Famer in Terry Francona, a champion* in A.J. Hinch, and two up-and-coming rookie managers in 2023. A good skipper does not a good ballclub make, especially in an era where the role has transformed into Executor of Larger Organizational Philosophies and Regional Personality Manager (which isn’t a bad thing.)
  • Still, the turnover makes for an interesting managerial makeup within the Central, and should make the intra-division meetings — fewer this year than ever! — a bit more interesting.
  • In other, non-boss-related news, the Cleveland Guardians earned a record four Gold Gloves this season; Shane Bieber, Steven Kwan, Andres Gimenez, and Myles Straw each took home the honors in a class that featured a fortnight’s worth of first-time winners. While the Gold Gloves are one of sports’ most nebulous distinctions, solid defense does wonders for your performance when your team’s identity is “we are all very young and have never played professional baseball.”
  • And, finally, the Tigers are “going to make a lot of moves.” Don’t believe me? Just click the link, because that is what the man said. So, uh, you have that to look forward to.

Two nights ago the Houston Astros no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies in their own house in the middle of the World Series; today is the final day off of the baseball season, unless the roof breaks at Minute Maid Park at the same time that torrential storms hit the greater Houston metropolitan area.

For my money, we should be playing baseball this late every year. I’ve already updated my desktop wallpaper to a winter-themed Nintendo background instead of just a Halloween-themed Nintendo background.

And there’s still baseball!

This is glorious. See you next week.