Ozzie Guillen on Twins: 'This is no friendly rivalry. I hate them.'
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins have taken eight out of 12 from the White Sox heading into this week's three-game series, and a wild four-game series at Target Field in mid-July vaulted the Twins into their hottest stretch of the season, while at the same time leaving the White Sox toiling.
Just don't tell Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen that the Twins are in his players' heads.
"What's the (expletive) big deal? They're good ball players," Guillen said. "They're a good team. Great manager. I'm the only one who gives those guys a lot of credit.
"I give them a lot of credit, I respect them as a team, I love the way they play the game, but in my mind, no. Every time we play against them, Gardy got to go to the (expletive) hospital. Prove me wrong. Every time. How many times they play the White Sox and I look in the dugout and Gardy -- 'Where's Gardy? He's up there with a heart attack.'"
Guillen's comments came with a hint of jest, and he also has great respect for manager Ron Gardenhire and company -- "I guarantee you nobody in this game, anybody, gives those guys more love and credit than me," he added -- but his tone spoke volumes about the rivalry between the White Sox and Twins.
"This is no friendly rivalry," Guillen said. "I hate them. As soon as the game starts, we hate each other. I talk to them before the game, I'm going to talk to them after the game, I always have a smile with Gardy and the coaching staff, but as soon as the game starts we're not friends anymore. We have a job to do."
On Tuesday morning, White Sox bullpen coach Juan Nieves turned some heads when he hinted to a Chicago radio show that he wouldn't mind seeing some dust fly this week. As if the rivalry needed anymore seasoning, Nieves went Emeril Lagasse on it.
"I've even thought of telling guys, 'hey [Matt] Thornton, smoke [Joe] Mauer, see if you can start a fight,'" Nieves said. "We're not afraid of anybody."
The Twins seem to have brushed off and downplayed Nieves' comments.
J.J. Hardy said, "He's probably the only one feeling that way. I feel like there's too much respect between the two teams that they would do that just to start a brawl."
Gardenhire added, "It's not like we're throwing at them and they're throwing at us, and (we) totally hate each other. We like to beat them and they like to beat us, maybe a little more than other teams. It's because we've battled so much over the last however many years."
During the Ozzie era, which began in 2004, the White Sox have won the American League Central twice -- in 2005 and 2008 (and also a World Championship in '05) -- with the Twins winning it three times -- 2004, 2006 and 2009.