9:56 AM CDT, August 31, 2011
The Ozzie Guillen-Kenny Williams relationship is irretrievably broken.
This is a recording.
This is another recording.
But there's a problem with this regularly scheduled noise that is local baseball's version of elementary school concerts that make your ears hurt:
Guillen shoots holes in it. Or waffles on it. Or does something to flat contradict these screaming stories. Like Tuesday.
A published report reiterated the A-Sox-calypse Now bleats about Guillen and general manager Williams not wanting to have sleepovers or play Madden together or some such thing.
And then Guillen blew it right up. Blew it right up in a couple ways, in fact. First, he told reporters he probably gets along with his general manager better than any manager in the majors, and second, he said he would take a contract extension for two years beyond his remaining season in 2012. How bad can it be, really?
Maybe Guillen has his price. Hey, we all do. We all know what we are; only the price is negotiable. But if he's willing to stick around for three more years in this allegedly onerous and impossible environment, then really, wise up, people, the supposed shrieking death knell of this relationship sounds like a lot of hooey.
And you know what else? It doesn't matter, and here's why:
The Guillen-Williams relationship cannot be worse than Adam Dunn's season.
Or Gordon Beckham's continued and utter failure to launch.
Or Guillen's decision to play Juan Pierre -- and play him and play him and play the worst player in the majors -- to kill his team the first two months.
Or Williams' decision to bring in Alex Rios, which feels like a DUI arrest that never leaves your record.
Or Guillen's decision to let Matt Thornton blow enough saves in April that otherwise would have the Sox within a weekend of first place.
Or Williams' decision to take on gimpy Jake Peavy and his asphyxiating salary.
Or Guillen's decision to pitch Peavy in that relief outing in June and the manager's subsequent refusal to acknowledge that Peavy was falling apart around 75 pitches.
Or Williams' refusal to improve his roster from the minors, choosing to abdicate responsibility by doing the passive-aggressive dance in the Dayan Viciedo hostage situation when almost nobody was hitting except the guy in the minors.
Or Guillen's public refusal to consider changing his clubhouse, turning the strength of loyalty into a postseason-killing weakness.
That synthesizes it right there. It has nothing to do with whether they're BFFs. It has everything to do with whether they can carry out their jobs. It has everything to do with being smart. It has everything to do with their decision-making, and that has been bad, and their players' response has been worse.
Guillen and Williams have made big mistakes, killer mistakes. They haven't put their team and their players in the best position to succeed, and if they did, they had the wrong players half the time, and the rest of the time, the players were mind-numbingly inept and amateurish.
Remarkably, unbelievably, stunningly, the Sox aren't six feet under. Or six games under anymore. Or even six games out. They have a chance, at least mathematically. They wouldn't seem to deserve it, but exasperation is not a metric that matters. They are lucky the Tigers are a two-player team. They're chasing Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and 23 guys named Moe.
So, it's doable, but the Sox still might not be good enough, and if they finally die next month, the cause will be self-inflicted wounds. It will have nothing to do with hurt feelings between the GM and the manager. It will have nothing to do with their lack of slumber parties. It will have everything to do with their judgment and their job descriptions.
To recap, the general manager supplies a roster and the manager deals with it. Got it? Am I going too fast for you?
OK, next, if the team stinks, and this one did, then the general manager changes the clubhouse, and the manager deals with it. Got that part? Yes. Well. Good. It's really not that complex, is it Poindexter?
That's what it ought to come down to. That has to be Chairman Reinsdorf's bottom line: Williams and Guillen don't have to be buddy-buddy, but they can't continue to look like dumb and dumber.
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