We're on record about the whole racist t-shirt thing. It wasn't funny in 2008 when it involved Kosuke Fukudome and a slant-eyed Harry Caray Cub cariacature. It wasn't funny when St. Louis fans wore "Zambrano mows my lawn." It especially wasn't funny when vendors outside Wrigley Field, having seen the miniature furor over the Zambrano t-shirts, adopted the design for themselves, turning the shirt into a blue ditty reading "Pujols mows my lawn." None of this was funny.
And it wasn't funny when vendors decided to appropriate it for the crosstown series this week. An "Ozzie mows Wrigley Field" shirt may be in the competitive spirit of the rivalry, but it's also incredibly insensitive and wrong in about ten different ways.
Fortunately, Ozzie Guillen is awesome, and he turned the whole thing on its head. This is how you handle idiots:
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was amused Wednesday by a T-shirt that sported a cartoon drawing of him cutting the Wrigley Field lawn.
"Ozzie mows Wrigley Field" was inscribed on the front, with the Wrigley scoreboard in the background.
Guillen bought a T-shirt and wore it in the clubhouse. "I might cut lawns but I don't stand in the rain selling T-shirts," Guillen said, laughing.
That, my friends, is a victory. A victory for wit, for intelligence, and for Ozzie Guillen, who has become so good at deflecting criticism he can simultaneously take the sting out of a racially insensitive shirt AND insult the people who created the shirt in the first place. Impressive on more counts than one.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.