¿Cómo fue compartir con Michael Jordan en un club house?

Oswaldo Guillén llegó al campamento de entrenamientos de los Medias Blancas de Chicago en 1994 como lo había hecho en más de diez oportunidades en el pasado. Pero ésta era especial. Ahí, en Sarasota, Florida, estaría Michael Jordan, quien se retiró de la NBA y decidió probar suerte con el beisbol.

“Nosotros ya sabíamos que él iba a estar allí. La gerencia no los había comunicado y nadie de nuestro equipo, que éramos un grupo bastante tranquilo, tuvo alguna objeción al respecto”, le recordó Guillén al periodista de Sports Venezuela, Rayner Rico.

Para esa campaña, el venezolano era uno de los líderes del equipo. Además, con 30 años de edad, ya era un veterano de las Grandes Ligas, por lo que tenía la responsabilidad de llevar la voz cantante sobre el trato que llevaría Jordan con los patiblancos.

Por eso, Oswaldo Guillén decidió darle la experiencia completa de un campamento de entrenamiento. Si era un novato, debía hacer lo que todo pelotero de primer año tenía en su cronograma. No importa sus tres anillos de campeón en la NBA, títulos de anotación y ser el mejor deportista del mundo, ahora estaba en otro territorio, uno en el que otras personas eran los machos alfas.

Lo molestaron, colocaron apodos, obligaron a hacer mandados. También debía recoger todas las pelotas, quedarse de últimos en los jardines para tomar elevados y, como es característico entre peloteros, más de una jugarreta pesada. Los novatos no tienen derecho a protestar, pero ¿Michael Jordan?

“Mostró profesionalismo”, continuó Guillén. “Nunca se quejó porque lo tratábamos como un rookie (novato) más y lo mejor fue que siempre supo lidiar con la gran movilización de la prensa, sin que eso nos afectara o interrumpiera de alguna manera nuestra intimidad como equipo”.

Oswaldo Guillén: “Michael Jordan era un trabajador incansable”

Viendo su conducta en un campo de beisbol, Oswaldo Guillén entendió cómo se convirtió en una leyenda de la NBA. No importa que en ese momento llevara un bate y años atrás era un balón naranja, esa ética de trabajo solo la tienen los atletas especiales.

En el Spring Training a Jordan lo ponían en la práctica de bateo con todos los caballos (mejores jugadores). No con los otros grupos. Y él nunca se quejó. Era demasiado buena gente, respetuoso, un trabajador incansable. Casi siempre era el primero que llegaba al cage (caja de bateo) y el último que se iba. Fui testigo de las ampollas que tuvo en las manos y las varias oportunidades en la que les sangraron. Me impresionó y eso es digno de reconocer”, aseguró el también campeón de la Serie Mundial como mánager.

Poco importaron las estadísticas que dejó en su experiencia en las ligas menores. Jugó en la sucursal Doble-A de los Medias Blancas, circuito en la que están los mejores prospectos del beisbol y ahí remolcó 51 carreras en 127 juegos. Sí, bateó .202 y se ponchó 114 veces, pero es algo que Oswaldo Guillén no lo consideró una vergüenza.

“Lo que hizo Jordan fue muy difícil. Si se ponen a ver, remolcó más de cincuenta carreras sin nunca haber jugados béisbol profesional antes. Yo puedo asegurar que existen jugadores que están desde la preparatoria, el high school, que han pasado por todas las Clase A y aun así son incapaces de empujar cincuenta carreras en una temporada. No solo la gente debió darle mayor reconocimientos, soy de los que piensan que incluso los Medias Blancas pudieron ofrecerle otra oportunidad para seguir jugando”, finalizó Guillén.

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