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07/28/08 9:55 PM ET

Ozzie defends respect for Twins

White Sox manager points to Minnesota's history of success

MINNEAPOLIS -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen loves to heap praise on the Twins.

Guillen's compliments toward his American League Central rival have become so frequent, they literally are expected to be rattled off by the skipper during any series between the two clubs. And now people in Chicago have begun to ask, "Why?"

It was a question that was posed to Guillen during his pregame media session on Monday.

For Guillen, the answer was simple.

"Why? Tell the people in Chicago how many playoffs the White Sox have and how many the Minnesota Twins have since I've been managing and since I've been playing," Guillen said. "I give people compliments when they need to or when they have to. ... They build good players. They play the game good. They've been playing the game like that since I was playing. And that's why I do it.

"People in Chicago don't like it? That's not the first time people don't like what I say. When I say it, I mean it. We come here to kick their butt, but they are here for a reason."

The Twins' success, including being just 2 1/2 games behind the White Sox in the division race heading into the series, has been surprising to most people. But Guillen continues to point to what Minnesota has done well consistently year in and year out, which is why he's not shocked by the Twins chasing his club once again.

"They are supposed to be in last place this year, and look at where they are at right now," Guillen said. "They have one of the best, to me, first basemen in baseball. And nobody says anything about this kid. If this kid [Justin Morneau] was playing in New York, Boston, Chicago, the Cubs, he would be the king. He would own baseball. But he plays in Minnesota. ... [The Twins] know how to play.

"I have to give them a lot of credit. If people don't want to do it, [that's] their problem."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.