Walker walks, Ozzie talks, Hawk stays

Pictured: The 2011 White Sox's steely resolve. OK, it's probably aluminum.

Ladies and gentlemen, your first post of the offseason...

Greg Walker served his last game as a hitting coach, and it's sadly funny that his era ended with his offense scoring only two runs off a starter with a 4.78 ERA in a one-run loss.

Of course, Walker got to leave on his own terms, as he informed Jerry Reinsdorf a month ago that he wasn't going to return, so it's yet another soft exit taking place well after it could have made an impact. I know this sounds like I wanted Walker's head on a pike, because in isolation, this event might not matter much. But when you add up all these events:

  • Alejandro De Aza getting promoted only after a salary dump freed up a spot...
  • Dayan Viciedo needing a season-ending injury to Carlos Quentin make it to the majors...
  • Adam Dunn and Alex Rios racking up a helluva negative value tab...
  • Jake Peavy managing himself...
  • Waiting until the final week to let Ozzie Guillen set up his next job...
  • Letting Walker time his own pink slip...

This team might've been the first "contender" to go an entire season without making a decision that could've hurt the feelings of an established player or coach. The front office ran the White Sox more like a hospice than a ballclub -- we just want to make sure you're as comfortable as possible -- and the uninspired play on the field reflected a total absence of motivation.

Walker's quiet departure will hopefully bring a close to this method of management. If it doesn't, then it'll be time to stump for more firings. Which is ironic, I think.

Ozzie Guillen arrived in Florida and wasted no time distancing himself from the mess he helped create:

"I'm pumped up. I think my blood came back, my baseball blood will go around my body once again. I don't see the passion for the game, (in Chicago). I don't see the love for the game. Something was missing and that's the thing that was very hard for me to deal with."

If only he were in a position to do something about it...

"If things go through my mind every day, if ever you want me here, how much I want to be here, or how hard it is for me to be asked questions about Chicago every day. We never get to the point. The last couple of days they don't even ask me 'How do you think this guy pitched?' or 'How do you think this guy performed?' Everyone wants to ask me something else."

Yeah, Guillen didn't want to talk about his contract at all. He was all about the x's and o's...

"People in Chicago thought I was promoting myself to be here or I always played Adam Dunn because I was mad and I want to show people. I always played Adam Dunn because he was supposed to be in the lineup."

Screw it. I am so glad he's gone.

Star-divide

Hawk Harrelson isn't going anywhere -- at least not until 2015. He signed a four-year extension, which will keep him in the booth through his age 74 season.

There's not a whole lot to say about it, because whether you love him or hate him, he's not going anywhere. But I do wonder if a change in management would benefit Harrelson as well. The Sox spent the entire season in a funk -- I know I had to try my damndest to not make every post sound the same; Hawk responded by getting triter and triter, probably because he takes the losses much harder than I do.

Give the guy an eight-game winning streak, a few more comebacks and a bench-clearing brawl, and maybe that will shake him out of his regularly scheduled programming.

Star-divide

Since we're officially in the offseason, I know a lot of people start turning their attention to other things -- like football, or hockey, or jobs, or families -- so I'll take this time to get mushy before a chunk of the readership hops off board.

Thanks to everybody for making my first season on South Side Sox as enjoyable as the Sox allowed, and for playing nice(r) with the new standards. Hopefully any and all tradeoffs were worth it.

Thanks to Larry (yes, I know), Colin, U-God, Ken and TP for helping feed the beast throughout the season. Thanks to WU, HSA, Gus and TDogg for helping keep an eye on threads while my day job interferes. And thanks to my day job for allowing flexibility when big news breaks.

And for people who do this for their day jobs, thanks to Brett Ballantini from CSNChicago.com and Matt Spiegel from The Score, who are the only two media members to consistently credit South Side Sox when we have items worth citing for news and/or discussion. I'd like to point out that they haven't lost their jobs by doing so.

Also, thanks to my blog brethren and sistren, J.J., James and Cheryl, for doing what they do. Tom will be joining the ranks, which is good, because there's strength in numbers.

There's no reason to go anywhere, mind you. We'll be picking apart this carcass for weeks, and we'll be branching out into historical and fantastical directions to fill the void. Plus, there's the whole manager search to follow, so hopefully this will continue to be part of your daily routine. If the White Sox have left you exhausted beyond all repair? We'll see you next spring.

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