Tue Sep 27 10:26am EDT
Heck, you might as well tell me that Lake Michigan has dried up into a pond, that we've lost the recipe for Italian beef, that a Richard Daley no longer rules the mayor's office, that the city's budget is balanced and winter will be skipped.
Indeed, Windy City is a lot less windy today with Guillen heading south to manage the Florida Marlins. And it's weird to think Guillen and the city are no longer joined at the hip. This metropolis may have existed for 170 years before he was hired in 2003 — and it may exist for another 170 more — but it speaks to Guillen's personality that he and the team became indistinguishable from one another over the last eight seasons. Even Cubs fans will miss him as the ultimate foil.
Has a major league manager ever been such a perfect mirror of his constituency? Though the South Side neighborhoods and points elsewhere might be loathe to admit it after three sub-.500 season in the last five, the man they toasted after the 2005 World Series was a lot like them: Fierce and proud, hard-working and honest. Real.
Was it time for Guillen to part ways with the team that has defined so much of his life in baseball? The situation certainly said so. Guillen wanted more money to serve as the scapegoat for so many of the ill-advised and expensive plans hatched by his friend-turned-adversary GM Kenny Williams. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf was unwilling to meet those demands and — like he did with Michael Jordan in the '90s — sided with the unpopular front office man.
Reinsdorf must have his reasons for declaring Williams the winner of this war. They're just hard to understand, especially after he's set piles of Reinsdorf's money and the organization's cheap talent aflame by going after busts like Jake Peavy(notes), Alex Rios(notes), Mark Teahan, Adam Dunn(notes) and one very expensive month of Manny Ramirez(notes). The easiest explanation is that Williams, like Jerry Krause once was with the Bulls, is the company man that Guillen's (or Jordan's) ego could never allow himself to be. That has probably saved his job, even though the "All-In" debacle requires an organizational restart if you're really looking to hold people accountable.
But make no mistake: Guillen was the face of the Chicago White Sox, the one man that kept them relevant on the national scene no matter what that season's record was. In a time when fans want to see that their coaches and players care as much as they do, his passion served as a wild barometer for the fan base. The stonefaced and often-arrogant Williams will never hold that influence or gain that ability — a fact that many have speculated was the source of the rift between he and his now former skipper.
Will the split with Guillen prove to be the franchise's biggest mistake since forgoing the Camden-like Armour Park plans and pointing the new Comiskey Park toward the Dan Ryan Expressway instead of the city's skyline? Time will tell.
One thing, however, is for certain: If the only elixir is another title, it's going to take a lot longer for Reinsdorf and the White Sox to run out of Guillen's shadow while saddled with Williams' high-profile mistakes, the true source of this unnecessary divorce.
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