First, let's allow that it has always made for a fantastic headline any time "Chicago Cubs" crosses Ozzie Guillen's lips. It's also the frequency of which he's placed his crosstown rivals in his crosshairs that warrants a war-time font when he surprisingly allows that he'd be willing to manage the North Siders.
Let's also concede that this Chicago White Sox soap opera between Guillen, general manager Kenny Williams and owner Jerry Reinsdorf is starting to become a bit more real and focused as the season enters its final games
Guillen has always talked about fleeing the South Side — even during the 2005 title season — but this time seems different. The year 2010 has been all about Ozzie vs. Kenny and when the former drops the atom bomb C-word as a viable escape route? Well, Guillen's yammering seems a bit more thought-out and considered than the times his team was losing and he was bored and running his mouth on a random August day in Cleveland.
Here's what Guillen said on Saturday when asked if he'd really defect to the Cubs if Reinsdorf decides he'd rather keep Williams around (via the Chicago Tribune):
"If (Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf) doesn't want me, yes. "My position was I would never sign another place and leave the White Sox for the Cubs because of the respect for Jerry. But if Jerry is leaving me? I'm not leaving them, they are leaving me. Then, I have a choice to make. Everything is out there.
"As soon as you get divorced, you are free to do whatever you want."
Guillen would indeed be free to go wherever he wants, but it's hard to see these comments as anything other than simple posturing to get the contract extension he wants. The White Sox have defined Guillen ever since he entered the country as a young Venezuelan player and he's entered that rare territory as the manager who attains a college football coach-type aura as the face of the franchise.
Would it be fun to see him trying to win over the Wrigley Field faithful or wrangling a youthful Florida Marlins team or even taking aim at the New York Yankees' sacred cow as the new manager of the New York Mets? You bet. Guillen's a born entertainer and you get the sense he was born to be a ringleader, no matter the venue.
But Ozzie Guillen is the Chicago White Sox, just as the White Sox are Ozzie Guillen. I think Reinsdorf realizes this and will have another "Father Knows Best" meeting with Williams and Guillen this offseason. (Williams is already backtracking from comments about releasing Guillen from his contract that he made early last week. On Saturday, the GM said he'd like to have Guillen back in 2011.)
The other roadblock with Guillen headed to Wrigley Field on a full-time status, of course, is that the Cubs would have to be willing to hire him. And with the appearances-come-first approach of the new Ricketts ownership, it's unlikely they'd be hiring the guy who's made a second career of complaining about the park's cramped clubhouses, rat problems and parking difficulties. Guillen isn't the company man that Ryne Sandberg could be and I think you'd see the Cubs talking to Hawk Harrelson about an opening before they ever agree to put Guillen in front of a microphone 200-plus days a year.