Managerial Decision To Come Soon

The White Sox were expected to meet with Florida Marlins third base coach Ozzie Guillen early this week to put an end to their month-long interview process for a new manager. Now, all that's left is a final decision.

General manager Ken Williams said he would like to have a manager in place by the time the organizational meetings begin during the first week of November. Whether that happens or not is still a mystery.

As a matter of fact, the Sox have done everything in their power over the last four weeks to keep things as quiet as possible. There have been gag orders put on possible candidates as well as one's placed on all Sox personnel involved in the hiring process.

Nothing is airtight, however, and the list of candidates to replace fired manager Jerry Manuel has slowly become public. These are the Sox, however, and they've shown in the past that the only certainty is uncertainty.

The three names that seem to be the favorites are Guillen, Buddy Bell and Cito Gaston. The bottom line with Guillen, though, is Williams likes control.

He had non with former manager Jerry Manuel, but Manuel wasn't confrontational with the GM, either. The same couldn't be said of Guillen, who has never been afraid to get in anyone's face (not as a player or coach). If Williams has 100% say in the decision, Guillen has no chance, as he (Guillen) even admitted.

Gaston is a Williams type of guy. Williams loved playing for him in Toronto and also likes the two World Series rings on Gaston's fingers. For all that Gaston is supposed to bring to the table -- at least in Williams' eyes -- his career winning percentage was just three points higher than Manuel's (.518 to .515).

He has the two championships, but is more relaxed than Manuel, and has been away from the job for six years. His personality won't rock the boat with the clubhouse, but why fire Manuel to hire Gaston?

Some have speculated that if Guillen gets the job, then it was obviously board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's call all along. If Gaston gets it, then Williams had a majority of the say. However, if the job goes to Bell, the two reached a compromise.

The one name that can all but be crossed off the list is Double-A Birmingham manager Wally Backman. Although Backman denied that he called up Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, a former teammate of his with the Mets, and told him to beat the Sox in late September so he could have Manuel's job, several players and staff members have said that Backman is too self-serving to be a good fit.

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