Following up: Kenny Williams enters the White Sox clubhouse chat

Ozzie Guillen was the last truly successful White Sox manager, but he was also the first of their managerial disasters this century. Somebody as openly unhappy as Guillen should’ve been dealt with in one way or another before the 2011 White Sox became collateral damage in the cold war between him and Kenny Williams. Instead, the relationship rotted in the public, the success of the team took a back seat, and Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t do anything about it until the final series of the season.

The White Sox have won two whole postseason games since the attempted coup 11 years ago, but because this is the White Sox we’re talking about, Williams and Guillen are still active in the team’s orbit.

Williams surfaced publicly on Monday when Bob Nightengale followed his report of rifts, cliques and a lack of leadership at the player level with this note.

When local beat writers inquired about it, Williams told them it was a “private discussion,” which, sure. Next, he’ll try to make an anonymous donation to name a building after himself.

Guillen made his own noise after the game, calling out the White Sox for general lethargy.

This is valid and valuable criticism, especially considering Jerry Reinsdorf owns a 50 percent stake of the network. The problem is that the White Sox’s agoraphobic tendencies manifest themselves by narrowing the scope of possible solutions, so this leads to calls that Guillen should manage the Sox, even though the last time he had a team that was underperforming expectations thanks to costly flops, he responded by giving 1,777 plate appearances to the team’s three worst regulars, then fleeing to Florida.

Of the White Sox managers and general managers since the World Series 17 years ago, Rick Renteria is the only one with anything resembling a healthy entrance and exit. Sure, the White Sox hired him to replace Robin Ventura without an interview, but he came to the organization via an actual process of evaluating external candidates for the bench coach job in Ventura’s last year. After four seasons, the White Sox fired him before it was absolutely necessary because they thought they could achieve more from that position.

I don’t think the White Sox would be better off under Renteria, because while his 236-309 record as Sox manager isn’t his fault, it takes a special manager to overcome the baggage of losing that much, and the lack of composure his team showed over the final two weeks didn’t foreshadow resilience. Yet it’s easy to feel sympathy for Renteria because he’s been pretty much the only person in the White Sox’s management ranks held to any kind of standard. (Dallas Keuchel probably has a newfound respect for him in this regard.)

As for the White Sox clubhouse, Vinnie Duber at CHGO says that from what he’s seen and heard, the only difference between 2021 and 2022 is the record, which can flip a lot of characteristics into their negative images. “Groups” become “cliques.” “Fun-loving” becomes “not serious enough.”

The record determines everybody’s enjoyment, but the White Sox’s rich history of complacency makes me automatically wary of waving away concerns with “if they were winning…” because when it comes to the White Sox, winning is historically the hypothetical outcome. Similarly, it’s hard to discount the results over the process when the process results in La Russa, Williams and Guillen all being the principal newsmakers for the White Sox decades after their last significant South Side successes.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3790
45 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
BenwithVen

What a shitshow of an org

Shingos Cheeseburgers

If there’s one thing that’s a sure fire way to motivate a group of employees it’s bringing in a Senior Executive who no one is sure exactly what they do at the company.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

One of best comments ever on this site, thank you for the laugh

Greg Nix

Ah, the “Creative Executive of Business Affairs” thinks we need a “hustle mentality.” I see.

asinwreck

Why are any of these men still here?

OldMMJ87

I get why Ozzie is in his role and I think he’s actually pretty good at it (and he’s in a position where he can do no real damage). As for Kenny, Hahn and Tony, that stems from the dysfunction of having Jerry Reinsdorf as an owner

asinwreck

I include Jerry Reinsdorf among “these men” (as well as coaches and scouts who have remained employed for years with no evidence of actual proficiency for their jobs).

patrick

This is my immediate reaction when the inevitable “hire Ozzie” conversation happens anytime they underperform. Are the fans of this organization so bereft of creativity that we need to further promote the nepotism this team struggles with to their own detriment?

metasox

Hendriks ways in on clubhouse

The White Sox’ clubhouse has leadership and other issues? ‘‘Couldn’t be further from the truth,’’ the Sox’ closer said.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/white-sox/2022/7/11/23204643/too-much-talent-pride-and-passion-for-white-sox-not-to-win-liam-hendriks-says

Last edited 4 months ago by metasox
LamarHoyt_oncrack

I think he’s full of shit. The only way the players could be clueless about how bad La Russa is would be if all of them were total idiots with no self respect. You know at least a few of them have lost their respect for the Russa, and have scratched their heads at some things he’s done.

ParisSox

‘too much talent, pride and passion’ for White Sox not to win,
So start winning.

Last edited 4 months ago by ParisSox
NorthSideHitman

“My comment would be if you haven’t been in this clubhouse, don’t talk about this clubhouse,” Hendriks said. ‘Nuff said.

T Cods

He certainly never talks about stuff he doesn’t know much about.

NorthSideHitman

Right. And you apparently know more than him about the clubhouse.

NorthSideHitman

Huh. Isn’t it ironic that your posting the definition of non-sequitur is actually a non-sequitur?

Augusto Barojas

Last year this team played .500 after late July til the end of the season, and did a face plant against an obviously superior Astros team in October. They did nothing to improve this winter, several other teams got appreciably better, and their record is suffering because there are almost no teams they can easily beat up on now. So in that sense, yeah, there is nothing different about this team year over year except their record. Who cares anyway if they repeated their end of season result, just because “they made the playoffs”. This is a 5th place team if they were in the AL East, without even a playoff aspiration. They are boring as hell to watch.

TLR is even worse this year, undoubtedly. That’s one difference from last year.

calcetinesblancos

This is pretty funny. Clearly the first thing that needs to happen is The Russa gets shown the door so they can bring in someone with energy, a clue how to manage, and an objective view of Leury Garcia. But since that isn’t an option, we get all this childish gossip instead.

Root Cause

I actually worked in a similar situation. The few who cared were fighting alone. The most common response was, “If the owner doesn’t care, why should I”? You will see the good ones leave, Katz will be one of the first to abandon ship.

soxygen

Hawk for manager! It’s just crazy enough that it might work, and if not it will at least provide Jim with good material.

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
joewho112

I honestly forgot that Hawk was still alive until this comment

calcetinesblancos

At least we’d get to see the manager scream at umpires.

dwjm3

The incredible thing about how Jerry Reinsdorf does business is if you were intentionally trying to sabotage an organization you would probably do most of the things Jerry does

Hiring an incompetent drunk of a manager…check
Keeping an incompetent front office in place in perpetuity…check
Refuse to sign top tier talent….check
Be smug toward your fanbase…check

lifelongjd

Jim, this is a rare occurrence where I disagree with you. I truly believe the Sox would be doing better with Renteria, if only because the players always played hard and seemed to like/respect him.

Kenny Williams wore out his welcome at least 10 years ago. He’s got some balls talking to the team after being partly responsible for the main reason for their disappointing performance. I said yesterday that the players aren’t stupid, they know TLR is a major contributor to their record and yet he keeps making the same mistakes with lineups and pitching decisions. If he’s not being held accountable for his performance (which by all indications he’s not), why should they be called out by Kenny in person and via his mouthpiece Nightengale.

F*** this organization

calcetinesblancos

I actually agree. I also think if given another chance, Renteria would have learned from the mistakes he made during his last year here because he seemed to have a degree of humility, unlike you know who.

jhomeslice

They would be doing better with Renteria simply because any functioning adult would be better then Tony La Clown. Renteria wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least he wasn’t pure, stupid evil.

patrick

I agree. I think the admin has lost all respectability. A quick look at this team for next year, they’re in need of a C, 2B, RF, arguably LF, a SP, and a pair of relievers. And these can’t be 1 WAR players given the rest of the division is obviously appreciably better. These need to be high impact offensive players. Given they spent a whole bunch of money to suck this year, I doubt there’s any green light to bulk up on premium free agents. Which also means their window is likely closed.

The window might be closed after two playoff appearances that ended in pitiful performances by teams that were clearly outgunned in almost every way.

I have yet to see them put together a respectable lineup since I started following this team seriously almost 20 years ago. Skimping on 1 dimensional players that flame out, old veterans at 50% of their previous talent at best, and trading exciting young talent for has-beens. The community on this site has had multiple conversations and offseason projects advocating for trading for or signing top tier premium talent that this organization gave away for old bums that contributed nothing. Semien was on this damn team! Tatis was in the organization! Bassitt, Montas, etc. It’s honestly like they’re trying to troll the fans at this point. I can’t wait for them to trade Colas for Adam Wainwright.

Couple this with the fact that it often seems like they haven’t yet heard of advanced scouting or giving their players even the slightest inkling to what the opposing pitcher might do. Watching them is like watching me play MLB the show. I’m going after every damn pitch regardless of what it looks like. No strategy, no plan, no sense of making the pitcher work. It seems like every team has caught on to the fact that just whacking away at anything remotely near the strike zone may not be the best long term strategy, yet here we are. They have the highest O-swing % in baseball. They can’t hit home runs, have bottom 5 hard contact %, and bottom 5 launch angle. Their plan is bad, their approach is bad, and the execution is bad. But hey at least they lead the league in infield hits…

tl;dr – boo this season and boo everyone in leadership for this team

Last edited 4 months ago by patrick
ndsoxfan

Everyone is frustrated but this is a bit much. Saying the rest of the division is obviously appreciably better and that the window has closed is extreme.

NancyFaustsOrgan

I agree with about 98% of this. The Sox front office is like a dude who likes to text their ex every couple years.

jhomeslice

This team needs a coup d’etat. Overthrow the owner, manager, and GM. Have a tribunal for all 3. Power back to the people!

As Cirensica

I can’t understand this man….This 3D chess lingo is too much

https://twitter.com/CST_soxvan/status/1546881795815350275?s=20&t=S7UjWO2HsJ0VJ_n95St6AQ

dwjm3

LaRussa has all the clichés covered

patrick

Is he saying that being bad somehow makes you a better playoff team?

I get the whole “overcome adversity” thing, but they aren’t overcoming anything. They’re just losing. Playoff teams need to win to make the playoffs. Should someone lob a follow up on that topic?

Augusto Barojas

“putting the stuff in the bank for toughness later”. LMAO, the most ridiculous thing this or any assclown has probably ever said.

lifelongjd

They keep talking about October like it’s a foregone conclusion

soxygen

Yep

HouseOfTheRisingSox

“…..winning is historically the hypothetical outcome”. Wonderful phrasing as usual.

Amar

No offence Jim (I also say this jokingly) but the hashtags make the article redundant.

But that is the fine point, it sucks that in 2021 articles on clubhouse drama still consist of Kenny, Ozzie, and (sure why the hell not) TLR

Last edited 4 months ago by Amar
calcetinesblancos

He looks 15.

T Cods

Yeah, he’s 20 apparently. I’m going to make a guess that certain things don’t happen before marriage for some folks and that can accelerate the timeline significantly.

dongutteridge

We all know that this will not be a competent baseball franchise until there is a new owner, at the earliest.

Reinsdorf has completely refused to build any solid foundation for a baseball franchise.

Scouting, player development, international signings and coaching exist only as necessities in Jerry’s organization instead of the lifeblood of the franchise as they do in all of the best teams.

Let’s cut as many corners as we can and hope we luck into second place.

Where’s the waves of talent? They have nothing. The reason that the injuries hurt this team so much is that they have no decent replacements and then they rush everyone back before theyreready because of that.

It’s a pitiful franchise. I don’t believe they could get to the 2023 World Series with anything less than a $500 mil. Payroll. They would have to sign the top 15 free agents. And, then hire a manager that owns a computer.

Last edited 4 months ago by dongutteridge
chipporter

Ozzie said something prophetic when he said, they are all freelancing out there.

My first inclination that The Russa couldn’t do the job, was last year when the team was consistently not ready to play each game day. Simple things…PFP, cutoff men, base backup rotations, base coverages, advancing runners, calling for flies, etc.

They are just freelancing.

GoJimmer

Hire Pierzynski!

jhomeslice

AJ, Ozzie, Ribbie, Roobarb, or Ronald MacDonald… just any functioning being that walks on two legs, even someone in a mascot suit or clown makeup would be a welcome improvement.