He spent 2 1/2 hours waiting out a delay at O'Hare, but eventually Kenny Williams was able to meet with White Sox reporters for his first public assessment of the team he constructed.
Aside from saying the team couldn't be playing worse than it had been, he didn't offer anything juicy. The coaches are currently safe, and all he has are hugs. It basically echoes what he said at the same point during last year's slow start, except without a reference to family-friendly '80s sitcoms.
This is the only noteworthy part:
Williams' problem is that he has a dissatisfied fan base, as his airport delay showed. The White Sox need to average about 33,000 fans per game to pay for their $125 million-plus payroll and the road trip isn't going to convince anybody to come to the ballpark when the team returns home Friday.
"Chicago White Sox fans, you have to earn their patronage, and we haven't earned it, so I don't expect people to show up in droves until we earn it," Williams said. "This is the third week in April, a lot of games left and we will earn their respect and their patronage. Until then I wouldn't expect it."
For one, I wish quotes about team finances would be qualified with "according to Jerry Reinsdorf." There's no way to know for sure, and the track record says that MLB teams are more than happy to understate their profitability. Bud Selig does it, too.
And, of course, there's the mandatory reference to White Sox fans being a hard sell. That's pretty much true, but I don't quite understand why the organization keeps reinforcing that behavior, since it's not at all beneficial.
More reading material below the jump!*Speaking of attendance, Jeff Passan has a handy-dandy chart that says the Sox could be doing much worse. Other teams are struggling to fill seats, and 10 teams have seen a drop of 10 percent or more so far. The Sox are only drawing 1.5 percent below their 2010 average so far, so they have some margin for error.
*For the 10th consecutive year, Ozzie Guillen says he should be the one who's fired. Which is weird, since he's only been managing for seven.
*Alex Rios' nagging toe has been in the news as his struggles continue. Scott Merkin mentioned it last Tuesday -- turf toe or arthritis for the last four or five years -- and today, Merkin reports that Rios said "nothing the White Sox have tried to alleviate the pain has worked -- including the injection of a gel into the toe."
Watching Rios hit in Tampa, his stance might look more awkward from the side view. Not only is he playing a piano without a bench, but his feet are pigeon-toed, and the weight is on the insides of his feet. I'm not sure if that's the cause or result of his toe pain, but it doesn't look comfortable either way.
*Sergio Santos passed his first test as closer, as Guillen said Santos handled it better than he did. I liked that he used Santos for four outs, myself.
*Over in San Diego, the Atlanta Braves gave reason to hope that Santos isn't dubbed as a traditional closer. The Braves lost in 13 innings, and Fredi Gonzalez didn't use his best reliever. You know who was used? Scott Linebrink, and he gave up the game-tying double. It's a lot more fun to watch his recoil when he's wearing another uniform.
Linebrink appears to be the same guy he was in Chicago -- good velocity, good strikeout rate, zero results otherwise. That's comforting.