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Chisox: passion over experience in Guillen

Ozzie Guillen was certain he was the right person to be manager of the White Sox, regardless of what his resume did or didn't say.

Two hours into his first interview, general manager Kenny Williams agreed.

"The passion, the commitment, the energy, the game knowledge, the aggressive attitude," Williams said Monday in introducing Guillen as manager of the team with which he spent 13 years of his 16-year career.

"He bleeds White Sox baseball. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to provide something here we desperately need. A jolt, if you will."

When Williams fired Jerry Manuel on Sept. 29 in the wake of the White Sox's meltdown, he was certain he wanted a manager with experience.

Former Toronto manager Cito Gaston was believed to be an early favorite, and Williams said he talked to Tom Kelly and Jim Leyland to see if either had interest in getting back into baseball.

But then came Guillen. He retired in 2000 after one season with the Devil Rays, and his only experience was as a coach, the past two years as third-base coach for the World Series champion Marlins.

Williams set aside four hours for their interview, never thinking he would need more.

"By the time that second hour hit," Williams said, "I was convinced he was the guy."

Though Williams' mind was made up, he brought the 39-year-old Guillen back for a second interview. He offered him the job Sunday night, and Guillen signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year Monday.

"It's an honor for me," Guillen said. "It took me a little while to get back and wear this uniform. Hopefully it'll be the last uniform I ever wear."

Guillen's passion for the White Sox is undeniable. The former All-Star shortstop never stopped smiling Monday. And when he walked out the door to catch a plane back to Florida, he still was wearing his new White Sox cap.

But his honesty impressed Williams, too. Thirty seconds after he walked in the door, Guillen told Williams he wasn't going to try to impress him or tell Williams what he thought the GM wanted to hear.

DON KING STADIUM?: Boxing promoter Don King wants the Marlins to build a ballpark on 54 acres of property he owns in Palm Beach County.

King owns a jai-alai fronton in Mangonia Park that he said would be an ideal site for the proposed park, spokesman Robert Weneck said. If the ballpark has a roof, King would stage boxing matches in the arena during the offseason.

That would help the Marlins pay the estimated cost of $325-million for the stadium, King said.

Marlins spokesman Steve Copses did not have an immediate comment.

MATTINGLY BACK: Don Mattingly is returning to the Yankees.

A six-time All-Star who was team captain from 1991 until his retirement in 1995, Mattingly was persuaded by owner George Steinbrenner to become the team's hitting coach. A news conference is expected today.

BRAVES: All-Star pitcher Russ Ortiz, the NL wins leader with 21, will be back with Atlanta for another season after the team exercised an option for a second year.

ORIOLES: Yankees first-base coach Lee Mazzilli has emerged as the leading candidate to land the managerial job, the Baltimore Sun reported. The team's six-man search committee has reached a consensus favoring Mazzilli, but the process has yet to enter the critical final phase, which will involve owner Peter Angelos.

PADRES: Former general manager Randy Smith was rehired as director of professional and international scouting, his third stint with the club.

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