Getting more with something to prove
I was present back on February 26 in the media workroom of Tucson Electric Park when White Sox general manager Ken Williams delivered his ?It?s not easy to deal with an idiot? diatribe aimed directly at Frank Thomas, following Thomas? pointed comments regarding the way his departure was handled by the organization after 16 years in Chicago in another newspaper article.
In fact, it was Williams, the four beat writers covering the White Sox at the time and a camera crew from WGN-TV.
Williams began the interview at perturbed, quickly moved on to angry and, by the time the session was complete seven minutes later, the astute general manager and World Series champion architect was downright irate. Some people have e-mailed me over the course of the season, asking if I thought Williams was too harsh on Thomas at the time.
I’ve always pointed out how Williams is very passionate and intense where the White Sox are concerned, and he felt as if Thomas? comments made it time for him to travel a route other than the high road. Williams did what he thought was appropriate and necessary, and you can?t fault an individual for defending his company.
Since then, neither side has talked about the other — probably a good thing. I give Williams credit for addressing and complimenting Thomas as a player after Thomas almost single-handedly knocked the White Sox out of postseason contention during a Sept. 16 series sweep of the White Sox in Oakland. And to Thomas? credit, he refuses to gloat when asked about playing in October and the White Sox being home watching the postseason on TV. He usually doesn?t talk about the White Sox, aside from addressing how good it feels to be contributing in the postseason in more than spirit.
For three years and part of a fourth, I covered Thomas on a regular basis. I never had one problem with him and thought he was a good guy to talk to about the game. He also knew his fair share about boxing and college football.
It?s good to see Thomas fight through adversity to return to top form, as he showed off once again Tuesday, just as it was good to see Jim Thome do the same in Chicago, after basically replacing Thomas in the lineup.
But if Thomas leads the A?s to a World Series title, the White Sox will have no regrets. As Ozzie Guillen pointed out, Thomas would not have produced the same numbers in Chicago. That feeling of something to prove might not have been present.
— Scott Merkin