The White Sox are going to have to do something about their Oney Guillen problem.
Last week, as detailed by the Deep Dish's David Miller, the son of the White Sox manager got into trouble for tweeting his night away over some comments former Sox closer Bobby Jenks made. Oney was unapologetic, but Sox GM Kenny Williams was none too happy:
"It is an issue I trust Ozzie to manage as there are obvious peripheral issues that are in direct conflict to what we believe and could directly compromise the integrity of clubhouse privacy, privacy that is vital to a team's unity and success," general manager Ken Williams told the Tribune in an e-mail.
Now, Sox closer-in-waiting Matt Thornton has said out loud what most Sox players must be thinking:
"I'm not a big fan of the social media, personally," Thornton said on ESPN 1000's "Talking Baseball." "I don't tweet. I don't Facebook. I don't like it in sports at all. I don't think it's necessary at all. ... What happened here with Oney tweeting what he did, that's crossing a pretty big line in my personal opinion. That's something that's gotta be addressed quickly and taken care of and snuffed out real fast. Anytime you bring clubhouse stuff out in the open, I don't care what it is, it's that person's personal business and also the clubhouse's personal business. That's the first time all this stuff has really irritated me. It doesn't matter what's true and what's not true, I don't care about that. The fact that anything was said at all is ridiculous. It's definitely gotta be addressed and taken care of real quick around here."
Thornton wasn't done, either.
"I can't live in other players' shoes," Thornton said. "I don't have any personal interaction with that kind of stuff with Ozzie. My talks with Ozzie are strictly baseball and that's it. I take care of my personal business and I work hard and keep my nose clean and just go about my business in a professional matter. That kind of stuff doesn't affect me that much. I don't know how it's going to affect guys who have that kind of relationship with Ozzie where they have to disclose personal information with him and talk about personal things. It might. You never know. .. You can't have those kind of worries."
The job of a major league manager isn't just filling out lineups and making pitching changes. He is in charge of a group of 25 men who are in close, daily contact with each other for eight months a year -- for most, they see their teammates far more than they do their families during the season. A manager has to manage personalities; in the words of Casey Stengel:
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."
That's a little simplistic, but there is an art to keeping all those baseball players reasonably happy and not fighting with each other or their coaches, manager and GM for a long spring, summer and fall. One of the ways to do that, as Thornton states, is to make sure that what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. Ozzie Guillen has, in his seven years as Sox manager, done a pretty good job of this -- especially defending his players -- and he gets extra rope because of the 2005 ring he's wearing.
But this latest incident can end in only two ways: either Oney Guillen has to shut up permanently, or Ozzie and his entire family are going to have to go. There's no way any White Sox player can have any respect for the Guillens otherwise.
Harsh? Perhaps. But Thornton is right: the Sox have to address this swiftly, and now, not later.