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Ongoing Guillen-Williams feud huge distraction to White Sox
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/4/201 8:09 PM | Updated: 10/4/2010 8:10 PM

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If Paul Konerko did indeed play his last game with the White Sox on Sunday, give the longtime captain credit for offering some smart parting advice.

The Sox had a good season, finishing with an 88-74 record. Unfortunately, the Twins (94-68) were better. Again.

"I do think that things need to get better," Konerko said. "The Twins are a good team, a great team, and more than that they go about it the right way."

Konerko would never come out and pin the White Sox' second-place finish on manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Kenny Williams, but let's just say the Sox' top dogs did not have a good year.

From the start of spring training through the final month of the season, the manager and GM always seemed to be sniping at each other.

Much of the ill will was overblown by the media, but the Ozzie-Kenny show ran way too long and became a distraction in the clubhouse when the one and only focus should have been catching Minnesota.

While he said he has "no regrets" about anything that happened off the field this year, Guillen did acknowledge the on-going feud he had with Williams.

"I think Kenny and myself have been talking the last four, five, six days the same way," Guillen said. "I don't have any doubt we can put this thing back in place. We're grown men. I think our friendship got better the last couple of weeks. I think that helped. For the players, it's not easy to play in that situation.

"I think I appreciate and thank the players for not putting this thing in the middle. They put that thing away from the game. And the fans, I don't think you want to hear that every other day about what happened here. You want to hear how we're going to win and how we're winning."

That should be the obvious plan going into 2011 put the focus back on the field and keep it there.

"We had a strong bond before March of 2010 here," Williams said of his relationship with Guillen. "I don't expect anything other than a great working relationship on the field and off the field. A great friendship. I guess I disagree with the going through it part. That wasn't much fun. But to be where we are now on the other side of some things and to have a greater understanding of some things is - I guess if you can take away a positive, that's one of them."

As for the actual 2010 season, it was also a rollercoaster ride.

Stumbling out of the gate, the White Sox were 24-33 on June 8 when a disgusted Williams said it was time to make some wholesale roster changes.

As if on cue, the Sox immediately picked up their play and ran off 25 wins in 30 games to take over first place in the American League Central.

The White Sox were 63-41 since June 9, the best record in the AL, but it wasn't good enough to hold off the Twins, who went 48-26 after the all-star break and won the division by 6 games.

"We went through a lot together," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who could depart via free agency this winter. "Ups and down, off to a bad start, then the hot streak in the middle. We ended up having a pretty darned good year. You look at it and you can say it's disappointing we didn't get to go to the postseason, but at the same time, from where we started if you would have told us we'd be where we're at, everyone would say you're crazy.

"Not as good as it could have been, but considering the circumstances, pretty good. You can't hang your head about the way things ended up."

While the bullpen started breaking down after the break, the starting rotation wore down in September and rotating designated hitters Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones and Manny Ramirez were collective flops all season long, it was the slow start that really hurt the White Sox this season.

"We have to go home because we weren't consistent all year," Williams said. "Early in the year, we were pitching and not hitting very well for the first couple of months. It took some guys a long time to get going. You all wonder why I have such an intense demeanor in April and May and people always say: 'What's he worried about?' Well, that's the reason why because every one of them counts.

"When you (bleep) away as many games as we did early in the season and you rally in the fashion we did, we had it in the palm of our hands. And you get to the point where you have an awful August and beginning to September. It makes you that much more cognizant early in the season what you need to do to be a survivor."