After watching his team bang out a total of 4 runs over the last three games-and none after the 5th inning in any of them-manager Ozzie Guillen couldn't play nice anymore.
Here are his thoughts:
"Just be ready because I expect movement
Tuesday. I expect Kenny Williams to do something Tuesday, and if we
don't do anything Tuesday, there are going to be a lot of lineup
changes. That's all I'm going to say about the offense.
"It can be me. It can be Greg Walker. It can be the players. It could be anybody. I'm sick and tired to watch this thing for a year and a half. I'm not protecting anybody anymore. [Bleep] it. If they can't get it done, Kenny should find someone to get it done.
''Another bad game. If we think we are going to win with the offense we have, we are full of [crap]. I'm just being honest. I expect better from them if they are in the lineup.''
To which my reaction is: atta-boy, Ozzie!
Apparently Ozzie has reached the rarified air of Manny Ramirez and Charles Barkley, who can pretty much say or do anything outlandish and, for the most part, get away with it.
And, I might add, it was humorous to see Ozzie and the Sox get time on Baseball Tonight and Sportscenter; controversy is the only way they get air time! How crazy is it to watch Chris Singleton, Buck Showalter and Julio Franco, all of whom have interesting connections to Guillen and the Sox, discuss the "Ozzie Controversy"?
But anyway, back to the story. After months, no, actually years of settling for the same tired clichÃ©s to excuse lackluster hitting, Ozzie is putting the onus on hitters to friggin' hit. Finally, some accountability!
Unfortunately, Ken Williams didn't see things the same way. Miffed at his skipper's comments, the GM issued the following response:
"It's just not a good idea to throw your boss under the bus, especially when that boss has had your back as much as I have had hisâ€¦
"'We have the horses. Everyone has to stay positive and keep grinding. If you're looking for a quick fix personnel-wise, with the climate right now, you're not going to get it. I expect more of everyone in that uniform and certainly the guy leading the team on the field.''
Ozzie didn't throw you under the bus, Kenny. He's just yearning for more out of his underachieving team. For all his intelligence and baseball acumen, Williams can at times be as thin-skinned as a teenage girl.
(If some of this sounds familiar, it's because it is. It was only four weeks ago that the Sox last felt a domed stadium with a bad taste in their mouth. That time it was a 6-game losing streak in Toronto and Minnesota, and Ozzie vowed to get his team back on track. They did, winning 12 of their next 16 including an 8-game winning streak that vaunted them back into first place in the Central. Then the bats went back to sleep.)
But the issue goes back further than last month's dome swoon, or even the disastrous 2007 campaign.
This problem goes all the way back to July 2006, when Ken Williams refused to make any changes to a team that was losing its edge in the competitive AL Central. The result was the Sox offense, which began the season like the '27 Yankees, went into hibernation as the bullpen imploded and the team missed the playoffs.
Then 2007 happened.
Ozzie is 100% right, and it is so refreshing to finally hear him say it.
Will anything come of it? Probably not.
I know everyone wants impetuous change, but don't count on any big acquisitions.
Garrett Adkins, Matt Holliday, Brian Roberts, Chone Figgins? All great players, but there are tons of reasons why none of them will be playing for the White Sox anytime soon.
Williams may be stubborn and thin-skinned, but he's right when he says there aren't any trades to be made to improve this slumping line up. And while Josh Fields is injured and Jerry Owens ineffective at Triple-A Charlotte, there aren't any call ups that will do much good right now either.
So what you see is what you get.
As for the Guillen/Williams relationship, I predict they'll be laughing with each other by next week. Ozzie feuds with people all the time, but doesn't hold grudges. And Williams knows how integral Ozzie is to the team's success. They are, after all, in first place.
It would, however, be nice to see someone held accountable for their performance. With the possible exception of some relief pitchers like Mike Macdougal, the team is allowed to perform at any level without repercussions.
You know where I'm going with thisâ€¦
Greg Walker has to be the sacrificial lamb. It is silly to make the hitting coach a scapegoat, but for the first time Ozzie brought up the idea in his rant and even Walk's mom would have to admit a change could only be good right now. Maybe they could just make him assistant to the traveling secretary so he could still come on road trips and have a few beers with is pals.
The whole hitting philosophy is flawed. When you see so many consecutive pop ups with a runner on third and less than two outs, you have to wonder what is going through the batters' heads, and why has nothing been done to change the hitters' approach in this situation. It seems all they want to do is swing from their heels and change their swing plane from level to "pitching wedge."
Firing Walker will at least throw ravenous Sox fans a bone, show that there is some accountability for the teams' failures and prove people's jobs are based on something measurable (e.g. not grindy-ness, reputation or personality).
If the Sox continue to lose, this will be a big media story. But all in all, things aren't that bad. Record-wise, the Sox aren't that much better than most pegged them for at this point. I figured they'd be a game or two over .500. They're currently 4 over. Things are improvable which is good: they're not playing over their heads.
But with the AL Central looking so tantalizingly winnable, it's time to throw out the old clichÃ©s and start working on the hitting.
I don't care if its 30 degrees outside and the Cell turns into the Polo Grounds, the Sox need to look to themselves to start hitting, not to magic outside factors.
Hey, we have a first place club coming home to play 17 games at the Cell in June. That's the real story here.