The White Sox don't like to rebuild. At least, they don't like to create the impression that they're rebuilding. With good reason: After tasting World Series success and a sudden boost of fan enthusiasm in 2005, fans want a successful Sox team. They don't want to slowly and methodically rebuild while the Cubs dip into their deep reserves for free agent talent every year. The diehards would grow disgusted; the casual fans would walk away. And thousands of just-learning kids would gravitate, as many already naturally do, to the most popular team in the city.
This is not a good business strategy.
So it makes sense that the White Sox want to contend every year. The only problem is that urge prevents Kenny Williams and company from affecting real change on the team.
Instead of fully committing to a youth movement, the Sox are still playing aging, declining veterans who have trade value. And as long as that AL Central remains a possibility -- as long as the playoffs are in sight -- the Sox won't shuffle the deck too much.
Soon, they might not have a choice. The Sox have lost eight out of their first 11 games in June, and Kenny Williams is talking about doing "unpopular" things.
''Hard decisions always have to be made, but very clearly, we are in a transitional phase and if this team doesn't pick it up at some point, I'm going to have to do some things that maybe aren't the most popular, but in the best interest of the club,'' Williams told the Sun-Times.
Sure, it sucks when your team's not very good, but Sox fans should have some perspective: Many of the remaining 2005 World Series-year players on the Sox's 2009 ballclub probably should have been dealt long ago. The Red Sox have more money to spend, sure, but they've also been remarkably businesslike about their fan favorites and World Series winners, and that's what's kept them in real contention -- not just contention for their division, but for the World Series -- every year since. The Sox need to do something similar.
So as much as it hurts to deal with a mediocre, frustrating team (bad baseball is at least comical; mediocre baseball is soul-crushing in its tedium), Sox fans need to be patient. Williams put together a World Series team once before. If he's not hamstrung by impatience, it could happen again.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.