Sox win home opener; Guillen ejected

April 7, 2008 5:36:39 PM PDT
Thw White Sox won their home opener, but not before their manager was tossed from the game.The Chicago White Sox played their home opener Monday, taking on the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected from the game.

It happened after plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called a second strike against Paul Konerko during the third inning on Monday.

Guillen quickly got tossed by Cuzzi after he popped out of the dugout to argue.

He went nose-to-nose with the umpire for several minutes as the crowd chanted "Ozzie! Ozzie!"

The ejection was Guillen's 13th since becoming Chicago's manager in 2004.

The team won 7-4 after third baseman Joe Crede hit a grand slam. The team is now in first place in their division.

Chicago was coming off a 13-2 win in Detroit, while the Twins suffered a 3-1 home field loss to Kansas City Sunday.

The White Sox sent Javier Vazquez to the mound, while Minnesota went with rookie Nick Blackburn.

The grounds crew rolled back the tarp over the diamond at U.S. Cellular Field while Roger Bossard -- better known as "The Sod Father" -- made some last-minute preps to his beloved field Monday.

A sellout crowd was expected for the home opener, which started at 3 p.m. John G. Peters, president of Northern Illinois University, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Some Sox fans in line for tickets early Monday morning were optimistic about the season.

"Things are looking good. I have been watching them in spring training. We hopefully will start out pretty good," said Ray Herrera, White Sox fan.

"I think things are looking good. Hopefully we will win today and see what happens," said Joe Porter, White Sox Fan.

On Monday, the White Sox family unveiled the new Champions Plaza, which celebrates the 2005 World Series championship. The centerpiece will be unveiled Friday. It's built on hundreds of bricks purchased and inscribed by die hard fans. The proceeds are going to White Sox charities.

"Everything from, 'We were married at the ball park.' So many messages from those who wanted to celebrate the 2005 season, from fans who were with us and memorialize family members and friends who were not here," said Christine O'Reilly, Chicago White Sox.

David and Dillon Laurino were checking out their engraved brick they bought outside the park this year and say it will be the start of a new tradition for them.

"They got the home plate from the old Comiskey from across the street, and we check that out. Why not have our own brick?" said David Laurino.

Former White Sox player Ron Kittle was cheering on the team Monday and reminiscing about his days playing ball.

"I wish I was playing today. When I come to the ball park, I like playing in nice weather. I'll play in a blizzard, put on the uniform and compete, there is no greater feeling. I'm supporting the team," said Kittle, 1983 White Sox All-Star.

Opening day at The Cell even attracted some North Siders.

"To be truthful, I'm more of a Cubs fan, but I'm a baseball fan," said Mark Mundaca, Cubs fan.

For more information visit chicago.whitesox.mlb.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.


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