Ozzie Guillen, Kenny Williams, Scott Merkin--they're all right; fans and bloggers wanted Dayan Viciedo to save the season.
In the sense that they wanted him to burst in the room, and subdue the men who were killing it before it was too late.
Now, in late August, a confused Viciedo is being led into a dank room with a fresh body on the ground, and being playfully chided for his inability to rectify the situation.
Maybe that metaphor is getting carried away, but there's Ozzie, mocking the significance of Viciedo's call-up, and there's Merkin, chuckling out how the fans have scrambled for solutions when one of the most expensive teams in franchise history ran aground.
Guillen--and evidently Kenny Williams as well--didn't want to pull the rug out from under the under-performing veteran squad they built to much acclaim in the off-season to try to bottle lightning with a streaking prospect. Surely, that was their right, and not the most surprising tact given the parties involved.
More the question is where do they get the nerve? This question is meant to be less confrontational than it sounds, and more asking how such dismissiveness is produced when all other options have been shown to be insufficient.
For all the grief he got, Ozzie Guillen won all of his roster battles with the peanut gallery this season. He continues to start Juan Pierre every day at the No. 1 slot unmolested, he never was asked to make room in the lineup for Viciedo in the middle of a division race, and none of his veterans (Vizquel included here) got 'disrespected' despite contributing abject terribleness to the 2011 season.
And it landed him with a .500 team, in third place, 7 games out with a month to go. Or more simply, it landed him out of it, if you want to rule out a miracle run from a team that's longest winning streak on the year is 5.
He got to play things his way and lost.
The continued resistance to this idea of giving some run to the minor league talent, becomes simply puzzling, unless its merely unfathomably petty. The White Sox brass has spent 2011 watching God-awful seasons from Adam Dunn and Alex Rios dive-bomb their playoff hopes, and not only passed on any opportunity to seriously reduce their playing time, but turned on Dayan Viciedo to support their actions.
The same guy who was rushed into the big leagues on the back of power-surge last season while he was far more raw, and entering a playoff race far more heated.
As Jim Margalus wonderfully pointed out on Saturday, it calls into question whether the White Sox realize how far away Alex Rios and Adam Dunn are from acceptability, or whether they simply resent having their moves dictated to them by the press and fans, or if Ozzie is somehow sticking it to Kenny for acquisitions he felt were foolish at the time, or if it's just that Dayan made an unsavory comment about Ozzie's new loafers at a organizational picnic...etc.
When a team goes to such great lengths to shun and attack the credibility of cheap offensive help while dying slowly of a run drought, pretty much any wacky theory is as reasonable as the explanation. Nothing would satisfy anyway.
Whatever the explanation for holding back Viciedo, it's still going strong. The White Sox chose to run with 24 guys for a whole week just to make sure that disabling a quite-injured Carlos Quentin couldn't be avoided. That can't be blamed on being obligated to stick with Rios and Dunn for their contracts, or there not being a spot.
Now, Dayan is a Major League ballplayer again, seemingly against the wishes of his employers.
As Jim, and J.J. too, have pointed out, this sets up the weird scenario where Viciedo's failure would do something to justify his relegation to Triple-A, the consistent attempts to temper expectations through the team's website, and Guillen mocking his chances against legit pitching.
While many of writers I respect a great deal say this puts a lot of pressure on Viciedo entering in, I think it's unlikely. The White Sox are out of the race. High-leverage plate appearances will be at a minimum, and the discontent between team and fans will hardly play out negatively for a confident 22 year-old who's been chomping at the bit for Major League competition for months.
His success will be cheered voraciously, his struggles will be forgiven, because at least management got forced into providing change.
Now everyone can be unhappy. Because this is certainly no victory for the fans, they lost out a long time ago--when the team fell out of it, or they banked (literally) on White Sox management being capable of producing a winner.
Some time way back.