Some men don’t know how to apply eye-liner properly, much as others are hesistant to pull the trigger for oft-injured center fielders making $10 million a year. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Jay Mariotti (above) isn’t either of those men.

This is where Kenny Williams, always willing to push the envelope, must stuff it with 88 years worth of perks. He has been sniffing around Griffey for weeks, but when a baseball club hasn’t won the World Series since 1917 and is looking at a rare opportunity to end the drought, sniffing around means nothing if you ultimately don’t land the final piece. I realize he works for Jerry Reinsdorf, who protects his precious budget like his cigar humidor, but price should be no object when seeking the left-handed power hitter who would answer pressing questions about a sleepy offense as October approaches.

If the Cincinnati Reds want the Sox to assume a fat chunk of roughly $40 million owed Ken Griffey Jr. through 2008, then pick up the bill. If the Reds are demanding the inclusion of hotshot outfielder Brian Anderson in the trade, along with two minor-league position players, then include him. Do not worry, Ken, about being snookered on Anderson, who sparked a seventh-inning rally Tuesday night with his first major-league hit and might become a star. Nor should Reinsdorf, who has made a fortune in sports and claims to ”dream” about winning the Series, be in any sort of cost-conscious mode with so much at stake.

The ground rules are different for Chicago baseball, a futile state where both teams are nearing an entire century without a world-championship parade. A club can’t be concerned about next year or the year after when it has a chance to win now. What I’ve always liked about Williams is his willingness to stare 1917 in the eyeballs, cuss in its face and vow to bring it down forever. ”We are tired of talking about 1917,” he says. Well, stop quibbling about whatever you’re quibbling about and make the Reds an offer that not even their owner, Carl Lindner, can refuse. Knowing Lindner and the way he has operated his small-market franchise, all he wants to do is dump Griffey’s contract. If he doesn’t find a taker in Reinsdorf, he will somewhere.

Better the Sox than the Yankees.