2011 White Sox: It's mental; It's not mental

MINNESOTA -- Ozzie Guillen downplays the mental side of baseball all while complimenting a move that, at one point, emphasizes the mental approach of playing baseball.

OK, stick with us here.

Asked before Monday’s doubleheader if the 2011 White Sox were the worst at handling the mental side in his 20-plus years in the game, Guillen scoffed at that notion.

“I don’t believe the game is mental,” Guillen said. “When you play and you’re 4-for-4, your mind is in the right [frame] of mind. When you pitch eight shutout innings … The thing about mental in baseball is this game you got to play every day. People say it’s mental. Yeah, mentally to prepare yourself.”

The mental side of the game Guillen doesn’t seem to believe in is getting outside help for issues. The White Sox do have a mental coach, though, that is with the team sporadically.

“If you take 600 at-bats and get only 200 hits, that’s a lot of failure,” Guillen said. “You have to be strong enough to overcome that. And mentally, you got to kick yourself in the butt when you’re not doing well. But I see people hiring doctors and all those people. How about hiring Pete Rose and Roger Clemens and all those guys?”

In other words, Guillen seems to have more respect from the guys who powered through and didn’t dwell on the mental side of things.

OK, so he subscribes to a tough-guy mentality. That’s fine.

But no sooner does Guillen say it, that he talked about seeing the movie “Major League 2” on cable television as he was dozing off recently. Charlie Sheen’s character is told that he pitched much better when he wasn’t thinking about pitching so much.

Guillen said it was a part that everybody in the clubhouse should see, but if he tells them to see it isn’t he doing exactly when he doesn’t believe in?

Sometimes listening to Guillen is like watching the movie “Inception.” It makes sense on some level, you just have to pay attention closely.

So if the mental side of things isn’t what tripped up this team, what was it?

“I think what happened to us is we dug ourselves a very deep hole early in the season and we climbed that way and almost was there and it seemed like we couldn’t climb anymore,” Guillen said. “I blame how we start. We start very bad. We were 14 games under .500, 11 out of first. It was a disaster. Mentally, I don’t believe in that. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong.”

So wait, it’s possible that it could be all mental and that it could be fixed for next year?

OK, now it’s getting too hard to follow.