Williams proud of White Sox dedication
General manager believes team will put forth big league effort
CHICAGO -- Some time around the end of April or the beginning of May, general manager Kenny Williams' restaurant near Oprah Winfrey's studios on Randolph St. officially will open.
Actually, Williams made clear on Tuesday that he just has a small part of what's going on at the place to be known as Market, adding with a smile that some would say the same was true with the White Sox.
"Mostly for me, it was going into a situation or a venture that I could go someplace in the city and if somebody wanted to yell at me about the White Sox, I could kick them out," said a smiling Williams, drawing laughs from the media assembled in the White Sox dugout on Tuesday.
When pressed on the state of the White Sox heading into 2009, beginning Tuesday afternoon against the Royals, Williams expressed enough confidence that there won't be a great deal of reasons for fans to grumble. Williams not only likes the assembled talent level, a slightly quicker group that will allow manager Ozzie Guillen to be more aggressive, but once again, he is impressed by the manner in which his players go about their collective business.
"This is one of the hardest-working groups that you will ever come across," Williams said. "If we don't at the end of the season have another celebration, it won't be because they haven't put the work in and they haven't done it in a professional manner or the way a championship type team does it.
"You know, I think people have more question marks than I do, and that's generally the case," Williams said.
Those past question marks, dating back to Joe Crede and Jon Garland, more recently have included John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez. These four left little doubt as to their ability during a run to the 2008 American League Central title.
In 2009, those question marks have been moved to the end of sentences involving players such as Chris Getz or even Josh Fields. Dewayne Wise, who struck out in his first two plate appearances Tuesday, also gets lumped in this group in a leadoff spot that always seems to draw attention with the White Sox. But Williams likes the "Chicago toughness" shown by Wise, the same sort of fight from the rest of his squad that might just let Williams eat in peace at his new business venture.
"The easiest thing in the world is to say you have to go out and get a leadoff hitter, get the prototypical guy who can hit you .300 and get on base at .370, steal 50 bases," Williams said. "But when people are pressed to say where are you going to get that guy, it's don't worry about it. You just go get him.
"I have to go back in the lab and create that guy. Rest assured, we have been looking for and aggressively whatever those type guys are, we've asked about them and tried to get them in tow and that's no slight on Dewayne. You can't create something that's not there, so you make do.
"It's not even a price," said Williams on finding a leadoff man. "There is no price. People don't even want to talk about it."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.