Don’t let the above picture fool you. Ozzie Guillen is not sad to see Jay Mariotti gone from the Chicago Sun-Times. In fact, according to Ozzie, it’s a great day for Ozzie. While Ozzie never had the best relationship with Jay Mariotti, it still provided moments like this for the rest of Chicago, moments Ozzie obviously regrets. Sort of. In that Ozzie way.

Here’s Ozzie’s reaction to Mariotti leaving:

”When people wish the worst on people, you have to be careful because the baseball gods are going to get you,” Guillen said. ”He was not asking just for my job, he was asking for thousands and thousands of people’s jobs over the years. I’m not going to say I will get the last laugh because I will get fired from this job. But the day I get fired is the day I lose interest in this game.

”Am I enjoying this? Yes, because he tried to make my life miserable. He did everything in his power to make my life go the wrong way, but he didn’t make me miserable because I don’t believe him. Maybe if somebody else wrote that stuff about me, then I would put attention on it. And that’s what he wanted. He wanted attention. He has to thank me because I gave him a lot of [stuff] to work with. I know I helped him the last four years to make his money, and, obviously, he did not help me at all to make my money.”

I think deep down, Ozzie will miss Jay Mariotti. Deep down. Deep, deep down.

Ok, maybe not.

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While receiving an honorary from the University of North Dakota, Phil Jackson talked about the greatest athlete he ever coached: Dennis Rodman.

“Madonna saw what was in there and wanted him . . . to do what she does: be outrageous, and kind of talked him into opening up his character,” Jackson said. “And Dennis didn’t know how many ways he could open up his character.”

Those comments produced laughter at a well-attended event that included Jackson fans and friends and UND students, players and coaches.

So far, the same can’t be said for Alex Rodriguez. The man gets abused no matter what he does for the Yankees. So maybe Dennis Rodman set the blueprint. Now A-Rod needs to dye his hair a different way for every game, get a couple hundred tattoos, take off his jersey and throw it into the crowd after every game, and start banging Carmen Electra. Get to work A-Rod, or you may not survive New York if the Yankees don’t make the playoffs in ’08.

Uh-oh. The Milwaukee Brewers learned a valuable lesson last night: do NOT piss off Albert Pujols.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Carlos Villanueva learned this the hard way. After retiring the Cardinals’ Joe Mather with the bases loaded to end the inning, Villanueva celebrated on the mound. Apparently he celebrated too much by pointing at the Cardinals dugout and yelling things at Albert Pujols, who was on deck. Pujols then snapped.

Q: What did Pujols say to Villanueva?

Pujols: “I told him to shut up and go to the dugout, he doesn’t have to do that. That’s when he said something in Spanish that I don’t want to say to you guys. But that’s when I got fired up. I told him to stop and come and say that to my face, but he was running away. That’s allright. I’m going to see him later.”

Q: Did Villanueva curse Pujols?
Pujols: “Yeah, very much. But I didn’t care about the things he said to me. It was more that he disrespected my team by pointing into the dugout. He can curse me out and say whatever he wants. I don’t care. But when he disrespects my teammates I need to stand up for my teammates. I don’t appreciate that.”

This may have no effect on the Brewers in the long-run this season. There are still 4.5 weeks left in the regular season. They have a 3.5 game advantage on the St. Louis Cardinals. However, if the Brewers choke a playoff spot like they did last year to the Chicago Cubs, this will be the turning point game. This will be where it changed. The Brewers had a commanding lead & Villanueva went out of his way to piss of the game’s best hitters and the Cardinals’ team leader.

It’s just a shame that these teams are done playing each other this season. Things could get ugly next season. Looks like another Central division rivalry is born.

Update: Well, the video is gone. Soriano dropped an easy flyball. Cubs still won the game.

Jay Mariotti has decided to leave the Chicago Sun-Times, a paper he joined in 1991. Known for his feuds with players, team managment, Sun-Times co-workers, etc., Mariotti doesn’t seem to be a guy that people will miss. I don’t think that’s entirely true, however. As much as people hate the guy ( and some people absolutely hate the guy), he was still widely read in the city. Mariotti’s appearances on the ESPN show “Around The Horn” made him a national figure. Sure, it was a national figure that many people hated, but he became a national figure nonetheless.

Mariotti is rumored to be doing something involving the internet in the future. I imagine he could become a writer on ESPN’s website, where he’ll enjoy a larger audience to rile up. Or maybe he’ll try radio again, just not in Chicago. Who knows at this point.

Honestly, it’ll be weird not being able to read him in the Chicago Sun-Times anymore. As idiotic as some of his premises were in many, many articles, I still read him regardless. Here are some reader comments, however, of people who will not miss him:

brady08 wrote:
It is a great day in Chicago Sports Journalism. How this scum bag lasted as long as he did is beyond me. I can’t wait to see the other opportunites he plans to explore. Maybe he got an offer to cover table tennis, and girls gymnastics in China, if only that was far enough away.

Or

yanzebra wrote:
HAPPY DAY! Thank you for leaving Eddie Munster. What a douche, all he does is complain about greedy athletes then breaks his own 3 year contract he just signed for a better deal from a website. Wish Mike North was on the air when this wonderful news came through.

Or

captainballz wrote:
Didn’t they just extend this fat chode’s contract?

Or

anth043007 wrote:
who cares jay mariotti was a piece of s$%t anyways!! he sucks at life…if he hasnt left yet tell him to stop getting his eyebrows down, he looks like a freakin fruit cake

You get the picture. There are hundreds & hundreds more just like it. The thing is, despite all the non-stop bile the comments are spewing right now on Mariotti, they all read him.

Who replaces Jay Mariotti as the columnist in Chicago everybody loves to hate? Rick Telander? Carol Slezak? Mike Downey? Phil Rogers? If he didn’t write for the little Daily Herald, I would also throw Mike Imrem there, who is known in some circles as Jay Mariotti Jr.

This is, indeed, a weird day in Chicago media history.

A video from Spring training, Chuck Garfein was given the choice of a choke slam or a chair bashing from A.J. Pierzynski.

After watching this video, I probably would have let A.J. Pierzynski just hit me with the chair.

And Jim Thome is supposed to be the nicest guy in MLB, but here he takes a pass on helping out Chuck. What gives, Jim?



Here are some articles from around the papers that are worth a read…

– Jason Marquis, this season’s player that Cubs fans love to hate (2007: Jacque Jones), will remain in the rotation and will not be skipped in his next 2 starts. Marquis has been skipped a couple times so far this season.

– The Cubs, with yesterday’s 12-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, are now 32-31 on the road. They are over .500 since early May.

– Alfonso Soriano almost has the same amount of walks as last season, and in 54 less games. The free swinging slugger is exhibiting more patience at the plate this season, a welcome sight to all Cubs fans.

– Former White Sox closer and single season saves record holder Bobby Thigpen reflects on his record and what it’ll mean if Francisco Rodriguez breaks it this season.

– While most Bears fan have some strange hate for Rex Grossman, David Haugh warns that you do not want to see the Bears let him go, as they’ll eventually need him this season.

– The Blackhawks signed 19 year old Akim Aliu to a 3-year deal.