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Is this team not big enough for the Ozzie and Kenny?
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen during happier times.

 

Daily Herald file photo

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Published: 8/26/2010 12:13 AM

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Let's cut right through all of the tweets and testosterone and twisted facts.

There has been a lot of outside garbage piling up around the White Sox since spring training, and not even an intervention from chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has halted the flow.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been on one side of the heap, general manager Kenny Williams on the other and Oney Guillen - Ozzie's middle son - has been right in the middle with his trusty tweets.

Oney stirred it up again the last few days, taking shots at Williams on Twitter for being at a comedy club in Schaumburg on Saturday night while Ozzie and the White Sox were playing a doubleheader at Kansas City into the wee hours of the night with a short-handed bullpen.

That created another firestorm in the newspapers and on talk radio, but there is really only one pertinent question: Are Guillen and/or Williams going to be with the Sox in 2011?

In separate, exclusive interviews with the Daily Herald on Wednesday, Guillen and Williams addressed the perception that they no longer can work together following a season of endless off-field turmoil.

Guillen always seems to talk about walking away from baseball and riding his boat out into the Atlantic Ocean, but this time he seems serious.

"Leaving the White Sox, it's something I've been thinking about," said Guillen, who looked wearier than he has ever been since taking over as manager in 2004. "It's something I've thought about in the past, and I've talked about it with you guys. But I'm thinking about it a lot more, especially this year.

"I'm thinking, 'Is this thing going to work out or not?' "

It has reached the point where Guillen has discussed his future - and his actions - with Reinsdorf several times this season.

"I've talked with Jerry and you know what he told me? 'Just grow up,' " Guillen said with strained smile. " 'Don't do something without thinking about it.' But I do think about it."

Guillen is signed through next season, with a club option for 2012. Believe it or not, Williams hopes his manager sticks around another two years and maybe even longer.

"We all have an expiration date on these jobs," Williams said. "Everybody would have to be on the same page, but it would be my preference to try to win another one with the same crew that we have. That would be my preference.

"But in listening to (Guillen's) tone, I think he's got to make that decision. These jobs we have, listen, we're very fortunate. Believe me when I say that. I recognize how fortunate I am to be sitting in this chair.

"But the flip side of that is they are very draining jobs. I'll start paying attention to the severity of his comments, especially if the tone gets worse.

"But the greater part of me just sees it more as the frustrations of the day. And after the season, we'll get to contracts and plans and all that stuff when we get to it."

In other words, Williams and Guillen are going to need some serious recharging at season's end, be it in early October or early November.

As for Williams, the ongoing soap opera has been a major nuisance. But he still wants to serve as White Sox GM indefinitely, and an occasional argument with Ozzie or tweet from Oney is not going to change that.

"There are only two things that are going to run me out of here," Williams said. "The first is Jerry Reinsdorf ultimately feeling that I'm not getting the job done. The other is me ultimately feeling I'm not getting the job done. I will probably walk away from the job before (Reinsdorf) has to tell me to walk away.

"And I'll only walk away - I'm a competitive guy - when I can't for whatever reason get the job done. That's not on my radar. (Heck) no. I'm in it to win it."

As for Oney, Ozzie said he can tweet all he wants. Ozzie said he didn't even read the latest batch that took shots at Williams.

"Listen, Oney is an American citizen," Ozzie said. "Oney is 20 - I don't know how old he is - 20 whatever. Oney's not part of this organization.

"Oney is a grown man. Whatever Oney feels about this ballclub is as a fan, and people look at him in a different way because he's my kid.

"People might think he talks to me about it. Well, I have enough guts to say yes or no. I just talked to him a couple minutes ago. I understand his point. He's a fan; I respect that.

"As my kid, sometimes you wish he doesn't say that. But how many times do I say something people wish I don't say?"

And what does Williams think about the Oney tweets?

"I think it's disrespectful, but I'm a public figure and you can't have it both ways," Williams said. "I could care less, unless it's a reflection of what his father thinks.

"That's where I differentiate, that's where we have to have a conversation, that's where I go to him and say: 'Wait a minute, are we not on the page that I thought we are? OK, we are? How can we be better?'

"Because you want to make sure you're opening up the dialogue well enough to where you get those answers, and we've done that a lot this year. I'm tired of 1-on-1s with Ozzie. At the same time, invariably we come out and it's a little bit better."