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On the Wilder Fiasco

A Quick Recap

Last Friday, taking a page out of the maybe they'll ignore it if we release this on Friday Bush Administration's book, the White Sox announced the firing of player personnel director Dave Wilder and two Dominican area scouts. While details were non-existent, I speculated that the firing had to do with money (the skimming/theft of), drugs (pefromance enhancing) or documents (the falsifying of).

At least initially, the Sox well-timed release seems to have worked. There have been no details leaked to the press from within the Sox aside from the acknowledgment that Wilder was fired for "violations of club policy and standards," which could mean anything. Mark Gonzales has turned up two sources -- the ubiquitous "scout" and "an MLB investigator" -- that point to money (the skimming of) being at the heart of the issue, but offers no specifics.

Late Tuesday night, a poster at Soxtalk -- no ordinary member, mind you. This member claims to be a fairly recent addition to the Sox scouting staff, a former MLB Bureau scout, which has been confirmed in some manner by the Soxtalk admin -- listed some shocking details on the Wilder firing, which I linked in a FanShot on the front page. He then continued to answer questions and post more details over the next 16 hours. The former bureau scout's posts were not without bias -- he has a particular disdain for Baseball America, and perhaps Phil Rogers, by proxy -- but they generally pass the smell test of plausibility.

His credibility is probably best summed up by noting the contrast between what he posted about Alan Regier and Buddy Bell compared to the official word from the White Sox, which came about 6 hours later. He clearly knew Regier was out as director of player development, and knew Bell would be taking over the job title. But Regier appears to have been reassigned, given more input on the upcoming draft, not fired. Close, but not 100% accurate.

The offending posts have since been removed from Soxtalk, though most of the juicy details remain in the aforementioned FanShot and comment section. I'm not exactly sure why the posts were removed, but it's not difficult to guess. He seemed quite gleeful at the possibility of a Regier-free front office, for instance. Even though the poster in question has posted "I can not get fired for this," or some other such phrase, often in bold lettering, multiple times, it seems like he's had some message board remorse. I've been asked by an admin at Soxtalk, and at least one random Instant Messenger, to remove the offending FanShot, which I will not be doing.

I could be jeopardizing my cushy relationship the the Soxtalk staff, but I feel strongly that the poster in question knew exactly what he was getting himself into, and chose to throw caution to the wind. I feel no obligation to remove the quoted text that he posted on a message board with no expectation of privacy. He can't unring the bell simply by getting the offending posts removed.

It's out there. We've seen it. And we'll continue to discuss it.

While I can feel a tad bit sorry for his dumb decision, and that it might ultimately cost him his employment. I think we can all agree that the last thing the Sox organization needs is another dumbass in the scouting department, as that is the reason for this post in the first place.

It should also be noted that those behind Soxtalk also run FutureSox, a website devoted to the Sox minor league system. They have incentive to keep the offending scout employed and maintain an amicable relationship, because it will likely yield future scouting info and possible scoops.

I have no such obligation. I write this site for me (and sometimes you). If there is a White Sox related story that I don't feel like writing about (blow up dolls, the latest Ozzie verbal explosion, anything written by a certain Sun-Times columnist) I don't write about it, but if there's an under-reported story out there (the alleged Uribe shooting, the draft, etc.) I'm probably going to be consumed by the lack of information. And this story really hits home.

One of my biggest complaints as the Sox farm sank to become perhaps the shallowest in all of baseball, was their seeming lack of involvement in the international free agent market. It's incredibly frustrating that, if the rumors are to be believed, the Sox lack of production from outside the country stem not from a lack of effort, but from a concerted effort to line the pockets of a high-level front office member, thanks to a laissez-faire approach by GM Kenny Williams, and may have extended to the draft as well.

I've held off posting this until the last possible moment before I go to bed to make sure there was no new information reported in any of the local dailies. I expect that we'll see something eventually, but until then we'll be left to read between the proverbial lines, deleted though they may be.