Who is to blame for the Chicago White Sox missing the playoffs for the third straight year? You could point fingers, but you're going to need more than two hands.
When Ozzie Guillen said before this past Wednesday's game against Detroit that a lot of his players have quit on him, he was just partially right. The team didn't just quit recently; it's been quitting for months.
The White Sox had multiple opportunities to put themselves in the driver's seat in the AL Central and drive away with the division. Instead, they lollygagged around the country on a pitiful tour full of strikeouts with runners in scoring position and less than two out.
It was like they were on the road with Nickelback. Both shows feature displays of little effort, with the two performers just looking to get paid.
It's hard to find a time this season when the White Sox collectively looked like they were really trying. More often than not, Jake Peavy was throwing "get me over" kind of stuff rather than the arsenal that made him a Cy Young Award winner in 2007.
Remember Alex Rios' resurgence last season? Neither do I.
Then there's the season-long comedy-drama known as the Adam Dunn program. I can't say anything about this guy that hasn't been said. Unless it was a good thing of course, but why would I do that? That would be like commending Muammar Gaddafi on his diplomatic prowess.
What the White Sox have done this year is different from what they've done in the past. In recent years when Chicago perennially finished behind Minnesota, it seemed like there was still hope for next year.
Kenny Williams, should he retain his title as general manager, could go out and sign Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols this offseason, but you still shouldn't believe in this team.
Entering the season with the fifth-highest payroll in the league, to say the White Sox have played well below expectations would be the biggest understatement in recent recorded history. Chicago was just plain atrocious in every aspect of the game.
I almost feel bad for Paul Konerko for signing that contract before the season started. He's the captain of a ship that's been sinking since it left the dock.
What changes need to be made? Try to find an oracle, because no able-minded human could tell you were to begin.
Ozzie Guillen, Kenny Williams, Greg Walker, Don Cooper and even Jerry Reinsdorf could all be gone next year but it probably wouldn't change the culture of the club. This team is destined for mediocrity, no matter what pieces you try to put into the puzzle.
If Alex Rios and Adam Dunn play out their contracts until 2014, it could be a long few years for the White Sox. The odds of both one-time stars staying with Chicago that long are slim to none.
Just like the odds, the team has to win the division when both are on the field. The White Sox will either find someone idiotic enough to take a chance on either or they'll end up paying for players who probably won't be on the field; put your money on the latter.
Even after all the disappointment we've seen over this past season, we'll all be oblivious come February. When we see Paul Konerko taking batting practice in the shadows of cacti, we'll be excited.
I hope I'm fortunate enough to be diagnosed with short-term memory loss this offseason because this season has left me with no hope for the White Sox in the immediate future. Man, how do you Cubs fans do it?