Kenny Williams, General Manager of the Chicago White Sox, is nothing if not intense. In a four-part interview with Ed Sherman of Crain's Chicago Business, that intensity is on display -- as is a keen sense of humor and an acute awareness of what's at stake on the South Side this season.
The storyline running under the 2011 White Sox is fairly simple: They're "all in." (The team is even using this phrase in its ad campaign.) The Sox have invested heavily in free agents such as Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Jesse Crain to give the team a viable shot at winning the AL Central. And Williams is honest in his recognition that the South Siders need a quick start to their season to both put (and keep) fans in the seats and allay the worries of owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who opened up his wallet in an unprecedented fashion.
The Sox GM is also forthright, if still a bit testy, about his relationship with manager Ozzie Guillen. Williams confirms that he and Ozzie are "in a better place." But he then adds:
As long as everything is relegated to the job at hand and the goal at hand, I'll be OK with everyone. When it's not, then I'm not OK.
A warning shot across the bow of S.S. Guillen to keep rogue son Oney off of Twitter? (That's what crosses my mind, but the statement could mean nothing more than it appears.)
Williams also feels he's ramped down his personal intensity since becoming more familiar with his staff and job duties. And he notes that, when making roster decisions, he's thinking of players' families right along with the career path of the athlete in question. Here's Part I for your enjoyment:
For parts two through four, click here.