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So it was: Oct. 26. "I believed," Guillen says. Chicago won 1-0 that night to become world champion.
After Guillen returned to Venezuela, his mood swung daily between elation and despondency. He visited Urbina four times, but he didn't see Polidor's killer after the first trip. On New Year's Eve, Guillen stood with his family in Caracas and raised a glass. He began a toast, "I hope Ugie ..."--but choked up and couldn't say another word.
On Sunday, Jan. 8, as he prepared to return to the U.S. for the 2006 season, Guillen drove to a cemetery in eastern Caracas. He took flowers and stood at Polidor's grave, feeling awkward because his family was watching. He began to babble. He spoke about the season, about that last night in Houston. "I wish you were there," he said, and to stop himself from crying, he laughed a bit. ("I know he didn't want me to cry," Guillen says now, "because it's not my fault that happened to him.") Then he thanked Gus for everything, for looking out for him all those years, and by the time Guillen was done, he had worked out something important. "I know you were there, Tiricia," he said to the tombstone. "One way or the other."
On the morning of Jan. 20, his 42nd birthday, Ozzie Guillen walked into a makeshift courtroom in the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in downtown Chicago, waving his hands as the applause from hundreds of people--reporters, White Sox staffers, INS officials--got louder. "Looks like the World Series here," he said.
Along with Ibis and Oney, Ozzie had just taken--and passed--the test for U.S. citizenship. (To the first question, "Who is the mayor of Chicago?" Guillen had jokingly and, some would say, accurately answered, " Ozzie Guillen.") The judge charged with swearing him in was a devoted White Sox fan whose son had been the team's batboy in 1986 when Guillen was its shortstop. There was a sheet cake with little black White Sox helmets on it and gooey icing declaring happy birthday ozzie. An administrator presented Guillen with a miniature Statue of Liberty, and the White Sox gave him the U.S. flag that had flown over U.S. Cellular Field during the World Series.
Yet the moment the judge began administering the oath, the jovial mood shifted. The place went silent. The smiles dropped from the Guillens' faces. They listened to the words asking them to "renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty of whom or which you have heretofore been the subject as a citizen," to support the U.S. Constitution and promise to bear arms on behalf of their new country, and to take the obligation freely, "so help you God."
"I do," said Ozzie.
"I do," said his wife and son.
It's a sobering business, changing one's homeland. Guillen will keep his Venezuelan passport and still visit the country in the off-season, but he made his loyalty clear after the ceremony.
Becoming a U.S. citizen was his dream, he said to a group of reporters.