It's better than
winning the World Series, he agreed in response to a question.
He'll take his
citizenship-test flash cards to spring training and make his players answer
them, he said, laughing.
This is the
greatest country in the world, he said again and again.
address is public knowledge. He expected a landslide of messages from Venezuela
condemning him: How could he, a man so recently draped in Venezuela's flag of
blue, red and gold, say such things about the U.S.? Of course, he was ready
with an answer. "Prove me wrong," he said. "I'm rich because of the
United States, not Venezuela. My sons got a great education because of the
United States, not Venezuela. I'm 42 years old, and I've [lived] 26 years in
this country, not Venezuela. That doesn't mean I'm not a Venezuelan. But you
think this is not the greatest country in the world? Prove me wrong. Tell me
why we don't have Americans going to live in Venezuela and why we have
Venezuelans coming to live here. Some people don't like to hear the truth. I'm
more Venezuelan than Ch�vez is, because I represent Venezuela. He's our leader,
but you ask people who they'd rather have [running] the country? They're going
to vote for me.
afraid. If they don't like it, what're they going to do? When I get home, they
boo me? Big deal. Why do I have to worry about what people think? The thing is,
what they think, they don't say. I say it."
Guillen stood up, signed some autographs and took an elevator to the first
floor. Security ringed him as he and Ibis and Oney burst through the doors and
onto the sidewalk of Jackson Street. A black limousine idled at the curb. The
security men stopped the lunchtime walkers in their tracks, clearing a path for
the Guillens, and what had been a triumphant yet wrenching off-season for Ozzie
took yet another turn. A young man held up his cellphone to snap a picture of
him. A woman pointed: There goes Ozzie Guillen. There goes the mayor of
Chicago, the king of Caracas and now a new American, not to mention the first
citizen of a country of his own making, a land of Oz, where no thought goes
unspoken and the talk never ends.
and ducked his head and slipped into the limo's blackness. How did he get here?
Ask him. Or don't. He'll tell you: The truth made him free.