"Lou has experience managing in New York, and this job is similar to New York," said Guillen. "I think the way he is, the way he handles people, it won't be any problem.
"Is it going to be easy for him? No. If you don't win, they are going to blame him. If he wins, he's going to be a hero. But I cannot tell Lou what to do, because he's done it all in baseball."
Guillen actually managed against Piniella when Piniella was with Tampa Bay during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, finishing with an 8-4 edge in head-to-head contests. Matching strategy with someone as successful at his job as Piniella not only was fun for a young manager such as Guillen, but he also said it becomes a learning experience going against a manager with that sort of pedigree.
Toby Hall worked even closer with Piniella than the perch across the field held by Guillen. The new back-up catcher for the White Sox was Piniella's starting backstop during his three years in Tampa.
Hall termed playing for Piniella as "an honor" and labeled him as "an awesome manager, one of the greatest ones out there." Hall also saw the toll losing took on Piniella with the Devil Rays, a sinking feeling he could relate to on a yearly basis.
News and features:
Spring Training info:
Guillen on deciding pitching staff: 350K
Sox coach Cooper on staff: 350K
Nick Masset on making White Sox: 350K
White Sox trainer explains a torn labrum: 350K
Guillen on Hall injury: 350K
Erstad on facing Angels: 350K
Even the famous Piniella on-field "snaps," as Hall called them, which happened with the umpires from time to time, dwindled as the losses mounted. After three years, Piniella exited Tampa with a 200-285 record.
"I think they promised him a lot of stuff, and they didn't do it," said Hall. "Obviously, when you lose a lot, it eats away at you. It ate on him and on the players as well.
"But look at the team he's got now. He couldn't be in a better situation. That's what he strived for in Tampa and didn't get. He's in hog heaven right now."
Both Hall and Piniella live in Tampa during the offseason and have talked since he took the job with the Cubs. Hall pointed out that Piniella brings instant credibility because of the way he has run teams in the past, and he takes that winning desire to another extra level.
After pausing for a split second, Hall drew a direct line between his old manager and his current leader.
"Ozzie reminds me of a younger version of Lou," Hall said. "Just his presence when you go in there. ... Ozzie is the same.
"It's a good mix of managers for the city," he added.
With the huge amount of money spent by the Cubs in the offseason coupled with the expectations Piniella brings to a franchise that hasn't won a World Series title in nearly a century, the challenge will not be an easy one. Guillen can relate.
During his first year managing the White Sox, Guillen dealt with season-ending injuries to top offensive forces such as Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas and a fifth starter's spot that saw nine pitchers combine for a 5-16 record of futility. Yet, Guillen managed to bring that team in at 83-79 and fostered a culture of success that led to the ensuing championship and baseball euphoria on the South Side.
Despite the presence of Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye and Mark Buehrle, to name a few White Sox players of superstar stature, Guillen remains the face of the franchise. Piniella seems to have taken on the same role in just his short time with the Cubs.
From one major presence to another, Guillen has a little advice to ensure future success for Piniella in Chicago.
"Just be ready for the people," Guillen said. "If you [don't] win, you will be criticized by someone every day no matter what you do. But I think he has a tough skin, and I don't think too many will get under his skin.
"Have fun and be patient with fans and media. The way fans and media look at Lou, he's a savior. Just do what he's supposed to, because they know what he can do."