The White Sox left ten runners on base yesterday in their 10 inning, 4-3 loss at Tampa, another contest largely typified by the offensive struggles of Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher and Jim Thome, a trio who are entering their 3rd month of sucking up a storm. Despite still holding first place in the AL Central, Ozzie Guillen went ka-boom postgame, threatening “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,” an outburst that has the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jay Mariotti predictably licking his chips. “The Blizzard is one slip of the tongue away or one insubordinate moment from a pink slip” gloats Mariotti, who might want to xerox Monday’s column for quick reference the next dozen or so times Guillen loses his temper.
Unfortunately for Ozzie, Williams is his boss, as the general manager pointed out with displeasure Sunday after Guillen’s latest tantrum. The Blizzard can rip Magglio Ordonez, Alex Rodriguez and opposing managers because they’re the enemies. He can rip me because I’m in the media. He can rip the Cubs and Wrigley Field because White Sox fans love it. He even can rip Orlando Cabrera because he’s a disgruntled employee. But Williams is the man who hired him and conceivably could fire him someday, a man who believes he has assembled a club that can win the American League Central. Now that Guillen has made it clear he doesn’t agree, demanding Sunday that Williams make dramatic changes to a sluggish offense by Tuesday, this sets up a showdown that Ozzie cannot win.
Even amid prosperity, the clown can’t control himself. Maybe Oz’s tirades were warranted in some way — and, again, I’m not saying he’s wrong about the offense — but his mistake is dragging his frustrations into the public eye. This time, his mistake was invoking Williams.
Guillen thinks he’s being fiery in these situation. The civilized world thinks he’s an immature knucklehead. Was this the straw that broke The Blizzard’s tongue? At some point, Guillen’s temper no longer will be tolerated by Sox management. Even chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who adores Oz like a son (or “a Hispanic Jackie Mason”), won’t side with the manager in any internal warfare. Remember the Bulls in the ’90s? Though Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson were right and Jerry Krause was wrong, Reinsdorf sided with Krause and allowed a dynasty to disband prematurely. Mark my words: If push comes to hove, Williams will win every time.
That Mariotti actually believes he can goad the White Sox G.M. into firing the manager of a first place team is considerably more delusional than any hope of Ozzie’s that Thome & Konerko’s contracts can be made to disappear.