-- Ozzie Guillen sounds almost as excited for Saturday's pregame festivities as he does for the World Series.
Luis Aparicio, the star shortstop of the White Sox' last World Series team in 1959, will throw out the first pitch for Game 1 against the Houston Astros. Aparicio, like Guillen, hails from Venezuela.
"Wow. Luis means a lot to this organization, a Hall of Famer and the best shortstop to ever play in Chicago," said Guillen, who played shortstop for 13 years for the White Sox.
"It's going to be touching," he added. "Back in our country, Luis is Luis and Ozzie is Ozzie. You see two different people. I know how the people in my country feel and how important this thing is for Venezuela."
Aparicio, 71, still leads Venezuelan players in games played (2,599), hits (2,677), runs scored (1,335) and stolen bases (506), and is tied with Omar Vizquel with nine Gold Gloves. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.
Aparicio replaced another Venezuelan, Chico Carrasquel, as the White Sox' everyday shortstop in 1956. Three years later, he was the leadoff hitter on the "Go-Go Sox" squad that went to the World Series. Aparicio had 56 of the team's league-best 113 stolen bases that year, and combined with steady second baseman Nellie Fox for stellar up-the-middle defense.
While Guillen and Aparicio will always be linked because they played the same position for the same team, they couldn't be more different. Guillen has never met a conversation he didn't like. Aparicio will never be described as outgoing.
"Luis is not the type of person to say 'Hi' to everyone," Guillen said. "To me it's an honor just for Luis to say, 'Yes,' and come here and be with us."
So much so that Guillen might even get behind the plate when Aparicio throws out the first pitch. "I think I'll be the first manager to catch a first pitch in the World Series," Guillen said.
Roy Oswalt has already found the perfect place for his MVP trophy from the NL Championship Series. Wherever his father wants to put it.
The right-hander was picked as the MVP after pitching the Astros to their first World Series, and he immediately turned the trophy over to his father, Billy.
"To give it to him, that meant more to me than winning it. He didn't want to take it, but that's the way he is," the younger Oswalt said. "It was more special for me to see his face once I gave it to him, and just the way he believed in me.
"Growing up, people used to come by and ask why he spent [so] much time with me out in the yard throwing the ball. Hopefully those guys see that on TV today."
Oswalt didn't leave the NLCS completely empty-handed, though. Astros owner Drayton McLane had promised to buy Oswalt a bulldozer if he won Game 6. Oswalt did, allowing one run in Game 6. Oswalt also gave up one run in Game 2 against St. Louis. . . .
Mark Buehrle was torn about which NL team he wanted to face, and it had nothing to do with lineups.
Buehrle was a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan growing up in St. Charles, Mo., where he still lives in the offseason.
"To be able to play in Busch, go there for the last few games at Busch" would have been special, the White Sox left-hander said. "But family and tickets, just trying to deal with all of that stuff in your home town, I think that would have been a burden."
As it is, Buehrle's phone is already getting a workout. High school coaches, college coaches -- anyone who's got his number has called to congratulate him since the White Sox earned their first trip to the World Series in 46 years.
Buehrle, who is 2-0 in the playoffs so far, will start Game 2 against the Astros on Sunday in Chicago.
But the callers better not hit him up for tickets.
"I've got 10 tickets," he said. "If anyone else wants some, come up here and good luck trying to find 'em."