CARACAS, Venezuela -- All over the bars and restaurants, baseball fans are abuzz about Oswaldo.
While he's called Ozzie Guillen in the United States, Venezuelans know the White Sox manager by his full name. And with Chicago on the verge of winning the World Series, pride is swelling for the national hero.
''We love Ozzie," Simon Lopez said in one packed nightspot. ''He plays a different baseball: Caribbean style."
Fans in the South American country on the Caribbean coast tend to root for the major league teams with the best Venezuelan representation.
Daniel Barrios, a 27-year-old civil engineer, said he would be rooting for the Houston Astros if not for Guillen's presence with the White Sox.
''Interest has grown a lot," Lopez said. ''This series has gotten a lot of Venezuelans involved."
Chicago's roster for the Series includes 10 players and staff from Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic, including pitchers Jose Contreras and Orlando ''El Duque" Hernandez and Freddy Garcia.
Baseball is Venezuela's most popular sport, and President Hugo Chavez congratulated Guillen on a ''tremendous game" during his live TV show ''Hello President" on Sunday.
Chavez, who once aspired to be a major league player himself, also joked that he had once gotten a hit off of Contreras.
Venezuelans follow ''las grandes ligas" -- the big leagues -- with the same fervor of any Yankees or Red Sox fan. Caracas's daily papers have placed Guillen and the White Sox on their front pages throughout the postseason.
When the White Sox won the AL pennant, the daily national paper El Meridiano, which is devoted entirely to sports and boasts one of the largest circulations in the country, proclaimed Guillen ''The Exorcist" for ending the team's postseason woes.
Guillen even pens his own regular column in the newspaper El Universal.
''These guys deserve to wear a world championship ring," Guillen wrote in one recent column. ''The team deserves it, the city deserves it, and so does everyone in Venezuela who expressed their unconditional support."
Guillen, who is in his second year at the White Sox' helm, is known for being brash and outspoken.
''He has a particular style for his personality, someone very strong who involves himself with his players," said Luis Zoccatelli, a 27-year-old White Sox fan. ''He's not a Joe Torre, for example, who sits in the dugout with a serious face. It's a fundamental reason why we're in the World Series, watching the game."
Guillen's 15-year career as a major league shortstop ended in 2000. He then became the third base coach for three years with the Florida Marlins, including that club's 2003 championship team, before becoming the White Sox manager.
''Here the people follow him because he's very humble, but also larger than life," said Ariel Perez, a manager at the Taz sports bar in Caracas.