(670 The Score) Former White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper spent 32 years with the organization, including 18 as the team's pitching coach. For that, he feels forever grateful.
But Cooper also admits there was pain from the end of that long tenure, which came when the White Sox announced in October the sides had mutually parted ways after the team lost in the wild-card round.
"I spent more than half my life there," Cooper said on the Parkins & Spiegel Show on Thursday afternoon in his first public comments since his dismissal. "It's not fun when people you really look up to and admire and care for -- care for, that's the best way to put it -- don't care for you quite as much. It's not fun. That's my whole thing with the White Sox. Half my life with the team. That's my statement.
"I was happy and grateful for my opportunity, but it's sure no fun going through something when you really care for a lot of people that don't seem to care for you as much."
Cooper, 65, explained that the "mutual" parting of ways came after the White Sox expressed they didn't want him to return for a 19th season as pitching coach.
"Here's where you cut through the crap," Cooper said. "'We no longer want you to do what you're doing. Not only that, you're gone, you're out.' That's what it means. OK, I don't want to be somewhere where I'm no longer wanted. I'm not into that. I was proud to serve and lucky and blessed in getting the opportunity I had.
"I don't look back on my time badly at all. I'm a lucky guy, man, to have the run that I had with one club. For 32 years, I didn't make them sick of me.
"I don't wish anything bad on them. That's for sure."
Cooper is hopeful to return to MLB in some form and isn't currently retired, he said. He resides in Nashville and is helping with a local high school baseball team coached by a friend of his.
Cooper's exit came as the White Sox also fired manager Rick Renteria. Chicago went 35-25 in the shortened season and reached the wild-card round before losing the best-of-three-game series in Oakland in heartbreaking fashion in a hard-fought Game 3.
The White Sox hired Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa to replace Renteria and brought in Ethan Katz, 37, as Cooper's replacement to be the team's pitching coach. A first-time MLB pitching coach, Katz had helped tutor current stars like White Sox ace Lucas Giolito.
"The only thing that I know changed is I'm no longer the pitching coach, they wanted to do something else, they have that right and they did that," Cooper said.
"It's unfortunate. The bottom line is it hurt when you're no longer a part of something, it hurts. But I'm over that hurt. Trust me, I moved on and I'm living my life."