Kass: Ozzie's leaving with a hole in his heart

It wasn't like going to the doctor and he tells you some bad news. It wasn't like being called into the boss' office, thinking he's going to drop a promotion in your lap and instead he tosses you a pink slip.

Those are serious things with people's lives in the balance, and baseball is a game, even White Sox baseball. And even so, it hurts.

Ozzie Guillen is gone.

It wasn't as if we weren't prepared for what happened to Ozzie and our White Sox. Even a non-sports scribe like me could feel it, and I wrote last week that Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf would make his decision between Ozzie and General Manager Kenny Williams.

And that if he let Guillen go, he'd stare a hole in forever, wondering why he did it. Start staring, Jer.

So what am I thinking about?

That line about how the victors are the ones who get to write the history. Kenny's ghost writers are going to be busy. And for some of them, maybe Ozzie had outlived his welcome.

A few critics sure are kicking Ozzie's behind over his demands for more money.

They're seizing on Guillen's demands for more cash, and his caustic remarks that he didn't want to "die poor" with the Sox, making as he did some $2 million a year, as opposed to the $4 million he's rumored to make if he takes the Florida Marlins job.

I can see it half in his mind about the money, and half in his mind about something else. It's a big ego, but I don't know how you can play major league baseball or manage a ballclub without believing in yourself.

So they took that line about money and rolled it into a rope and beat him with it. I understand. People are out of work. These are hard times. And he's greedy. And so on. You have to be a moron not to see it play out that way.

But I figured it was something else. That the money talk was a way for him to protect his pride and his broken heart when Reinsdorf sided with Kenny.

You don't have to be a South Sider to understand it, using something vulgar like talk of money to cover a hole in your heart. Sure, you can call me naive and a fool and a fan. Why not? When it comes to sports in Chicago, I have been all three of these things and, I suspect, so have you.

You see, on Oct. 29, 2003, I wrote a column begging Reinsdorf to hire Ozzie Guillen, because of Ozzie's heart, and many of the critics told me I was crazy, that they'd never hire him, that he was absolutely wrong for the Sox.

But he was right enough to guide the Sox to a World Series victory.

And now he's gone.

Good luck, Oz.

For more on Ozzie Guillen's departure, read Kass' column in Wednesday's Tribune.