Passionate Sox Fans Air Their Questions to Management
Gregor, Scot, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Scot Gregor Daily Herald Sports Writer
One look around the packed ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Saturday said it all. This was the place to be for SoxFest.
Instead of talking White Sox baseball over the fence, or at the neighborhood watering hole, fans had the opportunity to step up to the microphone and ask direct questions to general manager Kenny Williams, manager Ozzie Guillen and TV broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson.
At the same event at last year's SoxFest, more than a few fans used the opportunity to do some venting. And Williams, who has never shied away from confrontation, threw some of the flak right back.
Another tense crowd was expected again Saturday, considering the Sox cut ties with free-agent right fielder Magglio Ordonez and traded productive left fielder Carlos Lee to the Milwaukee Brewers during the same week late last month.
And who could really blame fans for being agitated? After all, they're burdened with supporting a club that hasn't won a World Series since 1919 and hasn't even appeared in the Fall Classic since 1959.
Going two painful steps further, the Sox haven't won a playoff game since 1993 and have been living in the shadow of the rival cross-town Cubs ever since.
As Williams, who was battling the flu bug, Guillen and Harrelson took the stage for the Q&A session, a long line of fans waited for their turn to voice their opinions.
Williams was expecting the worst.
"I didn't necessarily take it too personally last year," he said. "People may have thought that I took it personally because I fired back, but so what? It's White Sox baseball and it's White Sox passion, and the way I view it is, I am just like them.
"The same people that have that passion to want to lash out at me or fire at me, I have the right to return it if I feel that more explanation is needed or more emphasis is needed."
Somewhat surprisingly, civility reigned Saturday. As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority seemed genuinely pleased with Williams' massive overhaul this winter.
While Ordonez and Lee were capable power hitters, the White Sox were unable to stop the scrappy Minnesota Twins from winning their third straight AL Central title. …