Monday, April 25, 2011
Posted: 6:32 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
NEW YORK He had to endure a flight delay and a corresponding grilling from angry Chicago White Sox fans while waiting in the terminal, but GM Ken Williams made it to Yankee Stadium in time for the first pitchand to chat a bit with hastily-assembled media.
My flight was delayed 2 hours, so had pleasure of sitting in terminal with angry White Sox fans, Williams laughed. So I almost didnt make it. (By interviews end, Williams laughed again: Their fans questions were a lot tougher than yours. These are softballs.
It was a kind and gentle Williams who smiled through a 10-minute grilling, noting that the season is still young and that the best thing he could do for the team would be walk through the clubhouse and offer some fatherly love.
If I knew how to fix the team, it would be fixed by now, he said. All I can do is go to clubhouse and offer some hugs, support them that way. The good thing is we have talent. Weve been down the road in the past where were not playing well, and I look in the mirror and say I dont have the talent. This is a different scenario, with guys whove prove themselves in the major leagues and on championship clubs. Weve got to weather this storm and come out of it sooner rather than later.
Williams mirrored his managers earlier comments about being somewhat limited to contributing to wins.
The coaching staff is not throwing the baseball or hitting the baseball, theyre doing what theyve always done, he said. The first 10 games of the season people talked about how well our offense was performingwe were hitting off the charts. When its turned around, we have to stand up and take the heat. Hitting coach Greg Walker is used to taking the heat and hes been consistent over the years the way teams have rebounded offensively. Pitching coach Don Cooper has taken his share In professional sports, fingers will be pointed your way. None of them have gotten any dumber the last couple weeks. Theyre same guys and I have a lot of confidence all of them.
Pressure mounts with every loss because of the All-In concept thats driving the team toward a championship. Because thats also come with the highest payroll in White Sox history, strong attendance is paramount. Williams is not throwing any fans under the bus for their perceived disinterest in a last-place team.
Chicago White Sox fans, you have to earn their patronage, and we havent earned it, he said. So I dont expect people to show up in droves until we earn it. This is the third week in April with a lot of games left, and we will earn their respect and their patronage. Until then, I wouldnt expect it.
Ozzie shoulders the blame
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen played coy before Mondays series opener at Yankee Stadium, unaware that GM Ken Williams was flying into town to immediately address the status of his ballclub.
I think hes coming in town today, he said.
As to whether Williams should be concerned with the White Sox to a degree of firing a coach, Guillen had a bold answer.
If somebody has to get fired here, it has to be Ozzie Guillen, he said. It doesnt have to be Greg Walker. It doesnt have to be Don Cooper. It has to be Ozzie Guillen because Im the one who makes the lineups, Im the one who tries to get the best from my players and I dont know how to do that right now.
As for whether or not someone from his staff should be dismissed, Guillen elucidated.
Kenny is my boss, and hes our boss. If he doesnt think our coaches do their jobs, well talk, Guillen said. One thing about it, like I always say, you can teach, you can help, but you dont hit for them. Its not fair when somebodys job is on the line because the players dont produce. Thats not fair. Some guys are making 12, 15 millionGreg Walker only makes 100,000. Why should it be Greg Walkers fault? He works, hes here early. He helps, flips, early hitting, batting practiceall the information is there, videos.
My players, you can talk to anyone here, I guarantee you they will blame themselves, because if I see those guys blaming my hitting coach, theyre not going to be here too long. Be a man, face it. Were struggling because were not hitting. Were not struggling because of Greg Walker. Greg Walker was the same coach in K.C. and Cleveland when the offense was hot. Same guy. All of a sudden were not hitting because its Greg Walkers fault?
"Well talk. Theres nothing wrong with that. And we have to listen to Williams, and he has to listen to us, too. I dont think we have to blame anyone here.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.