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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Being Proactive

by Hal Vickery

WARNING:  This article could be out of date by the time you read it.   (But I doubt it.) 

As the Sox contingent headed to baseball’s winter meetings, fans were in shock over Kenny Williams’ (or was it The Chairman’s) miserable performance in re-signing free agents.  Williams’ primary target, Bartolo Colon immediately rejected the White Sox’ offer for arbitration and signed with the Anaheim Angels. 

Also gone were relief pitcher Tom Gordon, and the two players that Williams practically gutted his farm system  to obtain, Roberto Alomar and Carl Everett.  Another late-season acquisition, reliever Scott Sullivan went the free agency route.  However, the one departure aside from Colon that hurt the most was that of Tony Graffanino. 

Kenny Williams likes to say that he wants a team of grinders.  If anyone fits that description, you could name Colon, Everett, and Graffanino.  So far the only replacement for any of them is Juan Uribe, a shortstop acquired from the Rockies for Aaron Miles. 

Miles could very well be considered a grinder if persistence is the key.  Anyone who has spent ten years in the minor leagues without giving up and finding a “real” job has to be persistent if nothing else. 

On the other hand, the skinny on Uribe from Colorado is that he is the anti-grinder.  But that’s a story for another column. 

This column is about the rebuilding of the Sox after the departure of all of those players.  Let’s just say that so far the demolition stage has been far more successful, and it could remain that way. 

When Williams arrived in New Orleans, he was asked by reporters if the budget constraints imposed on him by The Chairman could mean that he leaves the meetings without making any kind of major deal.  His response wasn’t encouraging at all.

"Absolutely," was his response.  "As I sit here today, the most likely scenario is that we are standing pat.

"We would rather stand pat than do something that doesn't make sense and [doesn't] make us a better club. If something presents itself, we will act on it.  But understand that a lot of our groundwork is done way before these meetings start.  If there were something out there that made sense, it already would have been done.

"We are in a holding pattern, waiting to see what other clubs are deciding and presenting to us," he added. "To date, there's not anything out there that makes us better."

In other words, The Chairman isn’t tying one hand behind Williams’ back.  He’s tying both of them with his stupid and self-destructive salary constraints.   

Right now, the only hope Sox fans have is that they continue their annual tradition of a big trade or signing just before SoxFest in late January and another trade in late February or early March to hype spring training. 

However, as the Sox stand right now, the club is a disaster, and we have Jerry Reinsdorf and his utterly ridiculous $58-million budget to thank for it.  If he continues to stand by this figure, the Sox are going to lose what little following they have left in Chicago. 

I have a suggestion for all Sox fans who want to see this club win anything in their lifetime.  Rather than writing nasty emails to the chairman or griping on fan message boards, Sox fans need to do something pro-active that will express our point of view without being boorish about it, as emailers tend to get.

Here’s a suggestion.  We all know what the 2004 Sox will be like under The Chairman’s budget.  Let’s tell The Chairman that we know that in a way he might understand.  Here’s what you need to do. 

Go immediately to the grocery store and buy a box of straws.  Remove them from the box and place them into an envelope and address them to: 

Jerry Reinsdorf
Chicago White Sox
333 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60616 

Perhaps The Chairman will get the message that with his ludicrous budget, the Sox will need all of those straws in 2004 because they’re going to really…well, you get the message.  Let’s hope he does.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at

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