It’s funny to hear Kenny Williams lament publicly how much the Sox’ lame season disappoints him, as though anything that’s gone wrong should be a surprise to even the most optimistic of Sox fans (or, for that matter, Sox personnel). To hear Williams tell it:
Asked if he takes any consolation knowing the Sox likely will be the favorites to win the American League Central in 2010, Williams showed just how unhappy he was.
“That doesn’t take away the sting that I feel right now,” he said. “That doesn’t take away the churning of my stomach.
“When you can beat the New York Yankees three out of four, Anaheim two of three and then Cleveland comes into town and you lose two of three, Baltimore comes in and you lose two of three, you beat the Boston Red Sox three of four, almost sweep, and you go on a road trip and do nothing. Then you come back and the Oakland A’s pound you…no, none of what I see ahead takes away the beatdown I feel right now. [Expletive] no.”
It’s good to hear the man in charge bleeding for the team he loves, and no one doubts Williams’ belief in the teams he assembles, but what’s shocking is Williams’ reaction to the 2009 season; the only way to be disappointed by something is to have unmet expectations, and given the Sox’ problems going into the season you have to wonder why, exactly, anyone would have expected anything from these Sox at all.
Did Williams think a three-man rotation would carry the team down the stretch?
Did he think the seventh center fielder would be the last center fielder?
Did he think trading for a pitcher with an injury already considered season-ending (even before it actually ended his season) would somehow improve the team’s chances?
The conventional wisdom says that the GM knows things we the public don’t, and we should all hope that’s true. At the same time, how can it be possible that the man who put such a flawed team together didn’t see any of this coming? When Joe Fan and Jane Blogger can sit down in April and identify every problem with the team, and the GM can theoretically identify those problems (and others we the public don’t even know about), should any of this come as a shock? Is anyone allowed to feel pain when a team does exactly what it was built to do? Yes, there were some aberrations along the way, i.e. the crushing of the Yankees and Angels, but no one sits back in April, looks at a team and says “This looks like a team that will perform unexpectedly well against superior teams.”
Rather, it’s a game of end results, and the Sox have reaped exactly what Williams hath sown. One could almost take comfort in that, if those results weren’t so darn miserable.