Monday, July 19, 2010

All about Kenny

"The Club" finally premiered on the MLB network last night. The documentary supposedly showing an insider's view of the White Sox front office was announced last spring, right around the time that manager Ozzie Guillen conveniently got himself in some well-publicized hot water with his presence on Twitter.

The show promotes itself as a look at the tense, curmudgeonly but ultimately mutually-appreciative relationship between Guillen, GM Kenny Williams and owner Jerry Reinsdorf. By the looks of the first episode, which relived a bit of the Twitter saga, while also exploring topics that ranged from sprint training decisions to Williams' son Kyle experiences on NFL draft day, the show will be more about the GM than anyone else, and he'll be happy with the admiring tone.

"The Club" confirms the impression most fans probably have of Williams as an aggressive, powerful and somewhat humorless character--and one who likes his cigars as much as he likes to offer advice (One scene featuring Williams giving advice to his son is styled like something out of "The Godfather" with the GM dramatically sucking a stogie between bits of wisdom.) Though if it is all about Williams, who cares? He has earned the attention with a World Series to his credit, and some gutsy trades. If you're a Kenny fan, you'll like "The Club."

If you're an Ozzie fan, you still may like it. It predictably delivers some wacky Ozzie moments, and strives in the first episode to set up the battle of egos and emotions we already have heard too much about this year. Still, Guillen's got panache, and he's fun to watch even if some of what he says is stuff we've heard before.

Reinsdorf only lurks in the background of the first episode, mumbling through a few scenes, including a lunch with Bud Selig that seems staged only to emphasize that Reinsdorf is tasked with controlling Ozzie while Selig lurks not far away, ready to punish him for some potential offense.

There are worse ways to spend a Sunday night, and I will give "The Club" kudos for effectively telling the spring training stories of how Sergio Santos and Randy Williams made the team, and how closely Daniel Hudson missed making it. There was some good insider stuff from always-entertaining pitching coach Don Cooper, too. I can do without the Kenny-at-home scenes, but we'll let the GM have his showbiz moment.


pauljreis said...

Dan, I agree with your comments. We just watched this last night and although it's not too newsy for those of us who follow the Sox, I think the show is well produced, gives people a look at the team they don't normally get, and feels just about exactly like Hard Knocks does on HBO. I'll be watching future episodes, too.

Dan said...

Hard Knocks is a good comparison... Also, I forgot to mention it's nice to see Michael Clarke Duncan getting some work as narrator, though I found myself wondering what it might have been like with Bernie Mac.

Paul Reis said...

Or, another famed actor who at least claims to like both teams, John Cusack, might have been an interesting choice. My guess: Mr. Duncan was more available.