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GM Ken Williams keeps White Sox intact for run at Central

Matt Thornt| Getty Images file

Matt Thornton | Getty Images file

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Updated: November 2, 2011 4:09PM



Matt Thornton knows he was being shopped around before the trade deadline Sunday.

The left-handed reliever also knows why White Sox general manager Ken Williams couldn’t find a taker.

Forget asking price, salary and a slow April. That’s for SABR nerds to blog about from their parents’ basement. The real reason he still was wearing black and white on Sunday evening?

“I think my [clubhouse league] fantasy football performances,” Thornton said as straight-faced as he could. “The players on this team would have been glad to get rid of me. The other teams would have been dreading the idea of me coming in there. I think that’s what it came down to. Other teams heard about my fantasy football prowess, and they just couldn’t have me in their clubhouse. That’s what blocked everything, absolutely.”

Sure. Why not?

Considering everything the Jekyll-and-Hyde South Siders have been through in a season of unadulterated underachieving, let them have delusions of grandeur on their “fantasy football prowess.”

But when the smoke cleared and the final phone calls were made before 3 p.m., the Sox were the same team they were before losing to the Boston Red Sox 5-3: Good on paper, mediocre on the field.

The sad thing is it was the right decision by Williams.

Little confidence on South Side

The GM was active in working the phones, with Thornton, Carlos Quentin, John Danks and Gavin Floyd all discussed. But “Hollywood” Williams wasn’t just going to give players away. It would have been a public-relations nightmare to give up the ship in such an awful division.

So he asked for the world in return, looking for a desperate counterpart while gathering the intel for an offseason salary
clean-up.

Williams never would admit it publicly, but privately he doesn’t have a lot of confidence in his team. It came down to him basically being held hostage by his own bad decisions the last two years — $127 million worth of them.

“I think we’ve continued to say that we have faith in this team, but it comes down to the fact that we have been underperforming all season long,” Thornton said. “We have two months to go, and they have put the faith in our team that what we got we can win with.”

That’s White Sox baseball 2011: The hope that some magical switch can be found and flipped.

At least the South Side has hope. It’s slim, but it’s more than Cubs fans have.

Hope got up and left a bad bleacher seat on the North Side in late April.

If there’s a team in town that had its fans screaming for the C-4 before the deadline, it was the Cubs. Easier said than done. The players whom fans wanted dealt weren’t wanted. The players who were wanted, well, GM Jim Hendry actually needs some collection of warm bodies on the roster next year.

Cubs have family issues

Look, blaming Hendry is the easiest way out of this, but the Cubs’ problems start at the top with the Rickettses, who seem way over their heads in the business of baseball, and it trickles down from there. Team president Crane Kenney would be better served wearing big shoes, a red nose and messing up animal balloons at a children’s birthday party than to be anywhere near a baseball office, and he needs to be replaced by a person who understands the blueprint of fixing a franchise.

What’s the plan with this organization? Please let someone know because Cubs fans are completely confused. More so than usual.

The Sox are by no means a good team, but there is no question about what chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is thinking.

Not so on the North Side.

A little honesty from the Ricketts family would go a long way. Instead, there is only silence, speculation and a whole lot of warranted frustration. The Cubs are a franchise badly in need of an enema, and no one seems to know who will do the dirty work.

The good news for the Cubs is that it’s almost over.

Come September, the fortunes of Chicago baseball will fall solely on the Sox.

Thank goodness for fantasy football.



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