By Adam Hoge-
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (CBS) Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen aren’t exactly best friends, but it remains obvious that the White Sox general manager still has respect for his former manager.
Guillen is currently going to through his first firestorm in Miami — and probably the biggest one of his career — after saying he “loved” Fidel Castro and Williams admitted he has some sympathy for what the Marlins manager is going through.
“I cannot help but have a little (compassion) for somebody that has meant so much to the organization and has meant so much to me personally over the years,’ Williams said before the White Sox’s home opener Friday. “So I guess the answer to that question is yeah, I do have some compassion as to what’s going on, but our focus is right here and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment beyond that.”
For the most part, the Ozzie Guillen topic has been off limits for Williams so the fact that he addressed the issue Friday is somewhat significant.
A Strange Offseason
The winter was undoubtedly the quietest offseason in Williams’ tenure with the White Sox. He completed only minor trades, sending away guys like Sergio Santos, Carlos Quentin and Jason Frasor for prospects that are unlikely to reach the major league roster this year.
“Boring,” Williams said when asked to describe the offseason. ” It was boring, but it was good exercise in patience. A much needed exercise in patience. Discipline too.”
It’s no secret Williams’ quick trigger has cost the White Sox in recent years and the general manager made it clear last September that fans would still different philosophy implemented this season. He delivered on the promise during the offseason.
“Not to be in the free agent market or really in the trade market to the degree that we generally are — it was just a strange offseason because (while) we’re confident in our young players, we were still kind of feeling out for that veteran deal — something that could bring it all together,” Williams said. “It was just different. Not as active. My phone bill was lower.”
It didn’t take long to realize that new manager Robin Ventura was pretty much the exact opposite of Ozzie Guillen, but it was really obvious Friday when Ventura met with the media.
Guillen was known for his long conversations with the media after he officially spoke on the record, but Ventura made it clear that reporters shouldn’t expect that from him.
When playfully asked if he was planning 20 minute sessions with the media, Ventura said: “No. It’s actually already over. You don’t know that though.”
That comment showcased Ventura’s sneaky sense of humor, one of many qualities that has earned him a ton of respect in the clubhouse already.
“He’s got a strong presence, but a humbleness about him, blended in with a confidence that you just don’t find very often,” Williams said about his new manager. “People gravitate towards him. When you are like that and you are not pushing people away with their opinions, you are going to get the breath of their knowledge. And that’s what he gets.”
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