It should be automatic that Manuel is gone

The Sox have echoed this story before. We've heard the same excuses before. We've heard every reason why not to panic about this team's lackluster start, inept situational and overall hitting, and why Jerry Manuel is not the one to blame. Well, if he isn't, then who is? Who is responsible for making sure this team is ready to play every day? Who is responsible for lighting a fire under a sagging team? A team playing to an empty ballpark in a Dusty-crazy city? The Manuel era needs to be over.

Change, not patience, is the only thing that will prod the team past this most recent downfall.

It's unfair to blame Manuel completely - the players have done little of their own to get this team off on the right foot. Paul Konerko needs to be held accountable as much as anyone; he has probably hit into more double plays then hits this year. Every big situation ends up in a ground ball and a thrown helmet. Hawk Harrelson continually says one day he'll be amazing - the Sox are still waiting for that day. Other then the month of June last year, what has he done? Ponder that while switching gears to Carlos Lee, who still looks clueless at the plate and even bigger around the waist. I thought this guy was a hitting machine?

Frank has been disappointing, but at least he has an on base percentage over .420. Maybe Ordonez and Konerko could walk once in a while instead of popping up and hitting into double plays. Aaron Rowand is finally gone, but is Willie Harris much better? He's faster, at least … but you can't steal first base.

The pitchers have done their jobs with the exception of the "closer" Billy Koch, who has been atrocious all season. Who does he think he is, screaming at Manuel for taking him out? Didn't he see the two ropes hit off him that inning that were hard outs? Didn't he know Eric Chavez was licking his chops to explode on one of his 90 mile an hour fastballs? If this guy's that ignorant, there's no wonder why Oakland didn't want him; they certainly don't miss him now.

So many problems, only a few solutions. Manuel needs to go, whether or not this debacle is completely his fault. You simply can't fire 25 players. This team shows no fire, no desire; they don't "come ready to play." That's a reflection of the manager. You only have to look a few miles north to see what a change at the top does for a team. Bobby Valentine would do. Maybe Wally Backman. How about Carlton Fisk? Think he would take lip from Koch?

It's surprising that a team that has bailed quickly on good managers before has become so patient with Manuel. Jim Fregosi had little room for error. Gene LaMont had two bad months with an awful team in '95 before he was given his walking papers. Manuel has been here since '98, and his record is slightly over .500 thanks to an impressive first half of 2000. This coup could be similar to Tony Dungy or Doug Collins getting ousted. They took young teams and built them up, but couldn't go from point B to point C.

If the Sox insist it's not Manuel, then is it Williams, the one who essentially built this team? I don't know… I doubt a GM is going to take that blame. Ken Williams needs to make a decision and soon before 2003 ends up resembling the last two seasons. To quote a phrase direct from White Sox lingo – "It's Time."

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