There's an old saying that you should choose your enemies carefully, because that's who you will eventually resemble. We are a strange race, in that as we move through life we tend to switch roles with people we once despised. The abused child grows up to abuse his own children. The rowdy student grows up to be a strict teacher. Ken Harrelson ran the White Sox exactly the way that Charles O. Finley ran the Kansas City A's in the sixties, when Harrelson played for KC. To a fan of those teams, each Hawk blunder seemed familiar. Finley loved to move the fences in and out. Every couple of years he would have some new idea about the kind of team that he was going to put together to win big with, and the first thing he would always do was move the fences to accommodate his notion. Then he would worry about the talent. Making trades on the seat of his pants without the advice and counsel of his organization, making personnel decisions on intuition and then forcing everyone beneath him to accept them, firing managers and general managers and assistant general managers to cover his own mistakes, getting down on players who were slumping or couldn't do what he asked them to do and trading them for half what they would have brought a year earlier, falling in love with unproven players and then giving up on them when they turned out to be ordinary - these are all very typical Charlie Finley moves. They didn't work twenty years ago, and they won't work twenty years from now.
-- Bill James, The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1987
The above is a terrific excerpt from Bill James' evaluation of the 1986 White Sox (which starts with "Let's start our account of the Ken Harrelson command where he started it, by moving the fences back at Comiskey Park..."). Hawk Harrelson's one-year stint as GM is endlessly fascinating. 67WMAQ did a great job documenting the rise and fall of Hawk's crazy scheme, and James' 1986 and 1987 abstracts similarly serve as tidy bookends. Much like in the beginning of that fanpost, James gives Harrelson some benefit of the doubt in the face of extremely odd logic.
However, this post has nothing to do with Hawk. Instead, that above passage made me wonder if the same thing is happening to Ozzie Guillen.
Over the past five years, Guillen has:
*Proved to be of extreme value to the brand with his performance.
*Become the face of his franchise with his love-him-or-hate-him style.
*Attempted to capitalize on his popularity by starting his own ventures independent of his employer from his current seat.
*Talked vaguely about writing a book.
*Entertained the idea of quitting his job for various reasons, both publicly and privately.
*Griped about a lack of support from his superiors.
*Squabbled over money before his contract is up.
*Watched his bosses consider the idea of calling his bluff and letting him go.
And now you can add:
*Lobbed verbal grenades at members of the White Sox from a distance (if you believe Joe Cowley saying Oney is an extension of Ozzie -- and to nobody's surprise, Cowley calls the Guillen act "perfectly right for the Sox").
Add it all up, and I'm left with the question:
Is Ozzie Guillen becoming Jay Mariotti?
I certainly hope not. Especially for his wife's sake.
Christian Marrero Reading and A/V Room:
In case you can't listen, one point I hadn't raised anywhere else: Three players have rejected trades to the White Sox over the past two seasons -- that's counting Roy Oswalt rejecting the Sox at the rumor stage -- and I have an idea that this stuff doesn't help.
*White Sox Observer also breaks down Mark Buehrle's season.
*Fun fact: Buehrle uses the same voice to talk about pulling an arrow out of a dog's stomach as he does talking about his perfect game.
And thus concludes my last post of 2010. Don't drink and drive.