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White Sox Preview: No Playoffs = Ozzie Guillen Must Go

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Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

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As winter turns to spring and the weather begins to warm, we inch closer and closer to the boys of summer returning to the ball field we all grew up playing on.  The beginning of our true national past time is upon us once again here in Chicago as both teams from the north and south prepare for a six month battle to see who indeed will reign supreme.   
 
Chicago baseball fans are not fans of failure and do not accept mediocrity when it comes to their baseball teams.  This is a baseball town and for too long on both sides of town we find ourselves looking for the fall guy.  We always look for someone to blame because in the last 92 years this town has only produced one world championship with two teams in competition.  Expectations are always as high as any other town, but yet we always expect failure.
 
Simply put, if the White Sox do indeed fail this year by not making the postseason....Ozzie Guillen must go. 

2005 was indeed a great triumph for the Chicago White Sox as well as the city of Chicago entirely.  When a team wins in this town everyone benefits on some level.  Television, radio, sporting goods, taverns, hotels, airlines, public transportation, and even your local 7-11 benefit greatly when there is a team in town who wins.  The Chicago White Sox following a championship have only seen baseball's postseason once.  That is not acceptable.
 
Ozzie Guillen may indeed be the face of the White Sox, but this is a must win year for him for many reasons.  One since finally he has a baseball team that fits the national league style of managing.....in his seventh season as White Sox manager.  It has been debated all off season long  whether a team with balance can win in the American League when the league is based off bigger more powerful lineups.  Can a team who has averaged 214.5 home runs per season during Ozzie Guillen's tenure play "hit and run", "steal a base", "move the runner over" type of baseball?  
 
My biggest question about the White Sox makeup is why did it take seven years to get Ozzie the team he likes?  Does that mean the previous years teams that General Manager Kenny Williams put together were not to Ozzie's liking?  By Williams working with Guillen on building a team that fits the style Ozzie likes tells me that the organization is not happy with the performance of the team since 2005. 

For example in radio, when you have a highly successful show and then the ratings take a dip management will normally influence a few aspects of your radio program.  Normally it will be switching up the sound of the show with new music or bumpers.  Sometimes the programmer may switch it up with more promotion or bigger name guests.  If the programmer's influence are not successful and the ratings simply continue to drop, management then puts the onus on the host to do things his way and see if they work.  If the hosts ideas do not work, it makes it easier for the programmer then to fire the host based on continued poor performance.
 
So in turn Ozzie Guillen is the host, and Kenny Williams is the programmer.
 
Secondly as much fun as 2005 was for all White Sox fans, the last four seasons have brought only one more ride into October.  Keep in mind also the way the White Sox had to get to the postseason in 2008.  The White Sox were up two and a half games with two weeks left in the season with their hated rival the Minnesota Twins hot on their heels.  By the end of a ten game road trip to New York, Kansas City, and Minnesota, that lead turned into a deficit forcing the White Sox into must win situations at home vs. Cleveland (won one of three) and a makeup game vs. Detroit forcing a one game playoff against the Twins.  Hence....the blackout game.
 
It took 163 games to get the 2008 Chicago White Sox into the postseason where the eventually lost 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays.  As much of a roller coaster as that 2008 season was for Chicago White Sox fans, without it...would Ozzie Guillen still be the manager of the south side hitmen?  Managers are paid to win ball games and make the playoffs and if Ozzie Guillen did not make October in 2008, no manager goes four straight years without a postseason appearance and keep their job.   

There are only three managers in MLB that have taken their teams to the postseason once since 2005.   

Since 2005:
 
1. Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays) 308-340 .475 winning %  (1 World Series Appearance 2008)
2. Jim Leyland (Detroit Tigers) 343-306 .529 winning % (1 World Series Appearance 2006)
3. Ozzie Guillen (Chicago White Sox) 330-319 .508 winning % (1 ALDS Appearance 2008)
 
There is only one manager in MLB that has one playoff appearance in the last 2004....but he has 14 division titles, five National League Pennants, and one World Series title before that.  Bobby Cox will be retiring after this upcoming 2010 campaign.
 
Ozzie Guillen simply has not done enough in his time as White Sox manager to keep him around with one playoff appearance in five seasons.   
 
Then there is the brewing poison that has infected the working relationship of Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen.  After Ozzie Guillen ripped into Kenny Williams after a tough loss to Tampa in June of 2008, there seems to be a little oil in the river that flows through the White Sox organization.  When a manager calls out a GM by saying:
 
"There's only one message I'm going to send --  just be ready because I expect movement Tuesday. I expect Kenny to do something Tuesday, and if we don't do anything Tuesday, there are going to be a lot of lineup changes. That's all I'm going to say about the offense."
 
"I'm not protecting anybody anymore. [Bleep] it! If they can't get it done, Kenny should find someone to get it done."
 
That is not a good sign for White Sox fans who think that everything is happy-go-lucky on the south side of town.  Then the influence of a reality show (produced and directed by MLB Productions) and Ozzie Guillen feeling out ways to further promote himself through the internet and social networking.  This has the makings of a MLB soap opera rather than a spring training at Camelback Ranch.  From the sources I've talked to, there is something brewing between the former teammates and frankly I think if the postseason is not met with the team assembled to Ozzie's liking....Jerry Reinsdorf has to let Guillen go no matter how loyal he may be to him.   
 
If Jerry Reinsdorf doesn't use his iron fist after this season (again, if they do not make the postseason), then when?  How many more years of "satisfactory" will White Sox fans take till it gets to be too much?  Ozzie Guillen is great to the media and keeps baseball fun for some, but winning is all that matters to White Sox fans.  The act gets old real quick when banners aren't hanging from the lights at US Cellular Field.   
 
The time is now for Ozzie Guillen and the 2010 Chicago White Sox.  Without postseason play this season, Jerry Reinsdorf needs to make the best decision for this organization going forward rather than being loyal.  Loyalty only gets you so far in a business like sports and this is the last straw because starting next Monday....it's Win or Die Trying.
 
-RoCk
 
Rock Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score.
 
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at twitter.com/mullyhanley
 
You can follow The Joe O And Rock Show at twitter.com/joeoandrockshow

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11 Comments

patrick said:

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i tend to agree with you. it seems like kenny was able to laugh off ozzie's indiscretions in the past but given the money they are spending this year if this team does not make the post season, i agree that ozzie is out. i think ozzie is losing fan support as well, i still like him but all this drama, soap opera non-baseball stuff is getting on my nerves

Rock Mamola said:

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Thanx for checking out the blog as always my friend...

patrick said:

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of course, dude. it is always an entertaining read.

part-time pariah said:

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man they give anyone a blog these days. 'super' analysis there...

who is rock mamola?

Rock Mamola said:

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I am.

Thanks for reading!

stoshu said:

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Brilliant analysis (not).

It's not like there's a surplus of competent managers out there.

Let's try a short quiz: which of these is not like the others - Gene Lamont, Terry Bevington, Jerry Manuel, Ozzie Guillen?

Rock Mamola said:

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If the Sox don't make the playoffs this season....1 playoff appearance in 5 seasons following a world series.

not good enough no matter what the name is.

-RoCk

Butthead said:

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You write, "Chicago baseball fans are not fans of failure and do not accept mediocrity when it comes to their baseball teams." Are you high? If you mean "Chicago White Sox baseball fans are not fans of failure" I agree. But to contend that the cub fans do not tolerate failure is contradicted by the constant sell outs of wrigley field even when the team sucks.

Rock Mamola said:

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you know as well as I do if the team on the N Side is not fairing well, those are tourists filling the stands in Aug/Sept.

Stop the bias by comparing your team to their team. It's not comparible.
-RoCk

Eric said:

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You said "There is only one manager in MLB that has one playoff appearance in the last 2004..." What? In the last 2004 seasons? Since 2004? Not even sure what you're trying to say here.

Also, the headline says "White Sox Preview," which is why I even clicked on the Chicago Tribune link to your blog. I don't think that this was a "preview." I don't think you even mentioned one player's name or their stats from last year, nor do you mention key players added/lost/etc. Yeah Genius, great "preview."

Now I know why I don't listen to the Score. Along the lines of the previous commenter, anyone can have a blog these days. As nicely as I can say this, this is a terrible read full of journalistic and style errors (for example, the name of the store is "7-Eleven") and three minutes of my life I can never get back.

My first and probably last visit to your blog, Rock. By the way, why do you find the need to underline so many things? It was tough just making it through the blog with all the underlining. That's what a fifth-grader does in his English papers. Wow. Just wow.

Rock Mamola said:

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Eric,

First off I didn't know you needed to be an english major to have a blog. If that's the case, I'm sure ChicagoNow wouldn't have nearly as many "bloggers" as they do right now.

The preview is they must make the playoffs....not I think Gordon Beckham is gonna have a great year. The preview is stating what cannot happen as opposed what I think will happen. What expert let along blogger knows exactly what will happen?

Thanks for reading

-RoCk

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