Commentary

Much a-tweet about nothing

The latest chapter in the Guillen-Williams relationship has reached a new level of weird

Updated: March 20, 2010, 12:06 PM ET
By Melissa Isaacson | ESPNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The look on Ozzie Guillen's face didn't say it all because if it did, we would know exactly what transpired here Friday. We would know why the Chicago White Sox manager's 24-year-old son, Oney, reportedly resigned as scouting video technician and why Ozzie, for the first time in anyone's memory, declined to speak to the media.

[+] EnlargeOzzie Guillen and Kenny Williams
AP Photo/M. Spencer GreenKenny Williams has described his relationship with Ozzie Guillen as "brotherly."

But that was the thing. Ozzie did not merely decline. With reporters waiting for his customary postgame news conference, he stayed in his office at the Sox's spring training headquarters in Glendale for approximately 30 minutes after Friday's 8-4 loss to the Cubs. And when he emerged, he walked wordlessly past the group of about 10 of us looking as downcast and disturbed as you're likely to ever see Ozzie Guillen in street clothes.

"No need for comment," was Sox general manager Kenny Williams' official statement on the day.

But oh, there is a need.

There is clearly tension within the organization, specifically between Williams and Guillen. When the last public statement of the general manager of your baseball team was the following text message to Sun-Times beat writer Joe Cowley more than a week ago, it doesn't take a genius to detect all is not rainbows and sunshine between the two:

"Don't ask me another question about Twitter, websites, blog(s), radio shows, non [sic] of that [bleep]," Williams texted in response to an inquiry about Guillen's plan to start a Web site created by Oney. "All I care about is players playing, coaches coaching and managers managing. If they do that and do it well, we got no problems, but if they don't…"

Fittingly, the only comments from Ozzie on Friday were via his Twitter account, in this order:

• Hey kid, we are behind you. No matter what.

• I extremely apologize to the Chicago media from the bottom of my heart but it wasn't the right time for me to talk and hope this doesn't …

• Also, the respect I have for all of you … tomorrow is another day.

• Hope this doesn't affect our relationship.

• [translated from Spanish] They touched me where it hurts me the most and I have to be ready for what comes like I have always done.

Responses poured in -- some curious, almost all supportive.

So how did we get to this point?

Williams and Guillen have described their relationship as brotherly, which we can take to mean that when they don't love and defend each other, they beat each other up. The first sign of tension this offseason was baseball-related -- Guillen's desire to play small ball, focusing on defense and manufacturing runs while Williams still preferred power. They also differed on Guillen's DH-by-committee plans, a typical GM-manager give and take, but Williams ultimately acquiesced.

Then the Twitter thing started. Actually, it began this past fall as Ozzie's middle son began tweeting about the Sox during a road game in Seattle.

[+] EnlargeOney Guillen
AP Photo/M. Spencer GreenOzzie Guillen's son, Oney, resigned as the club's video scouting technician on Friday.

"If we don't win this game. Its [sic] over beyond over, " Oney tweeted.

"Sox nation don't get excited…. Looks like were [sic] sinking faster then [sic] the titanic." Oney was advised to shut that account down, but a new one was launched. On Friday, he tweeted:

"Remember this day march 19 2010. Mark my words.

And:

[Referring to the nixed family Web site] "The Guillen family just got screwed over or [bleeped] … but don't worry, we have our own way of handling this."

Never liked Twitter. Only 140 characters? No good can come out of 140 characters. Plenty of room for misinterpretation, though. But it happens to be the language of many, particularly the text-happy generation of Guillen's three boys. Three boys who, when their father doesn't want to knock their heads together, loves them more than he can articulate.

They touched me where it hurts me the most and I have to be ready for what comes

Where it hurts him the most.

This is not a good time for this stuff. Certainly not worth risking a major distraction just two and a half weeks before Opening Day. Not worth losing your manager over something so inherently silly.

"No need for comment," Williams said?

It is too late for no comment.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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