"From Day 1, Robin and I have talked about what our mission was, what kind of team, what kind of effort, what kind of fundamental baseball club we wanted," Williams said. "That message was communicated by Robin and his coaching staff through Spring Training.
"I can't say enough about these guys for their effort and commitment to it because it's one thing to talk about it, 'Let's do this, let's do that, pay greater attention to fundamentals of the game, infield practice and extra hitting and all these things.' But once you leave Spring Training, a lot of times, some of those things fall to the wayside.
"Not with this group," Williams said. "So I can sit here and only be so disappointed in us for not closing this thing out because if there is such a thing as losing the right way, this group did."
Losing the right way was not part of the White Sox two-pronged focus of contending while developing young talent, which they did achieve in 2012. So why did they come up short, despite holding a three-game lead over the Tigers as late as Sept. 18?
Williams would like to point to the team's reliance on youth or the season-ending injury to John Danks and the other maladies sidelining important cogs for extended periods as excuses. But the fact of the matter is the White Sox slipped on their road trip to Kansas City and Anaheim and never could right themselves.
"All we had to do was take care of business and we wouldn't be sitting here in this position," Williams said. "We would be getting prepared for the playoffs and prepared for what I think would have been a successful playoff. It's ironic that I think we match up against the playoff teams that are out there a little bit better than we have the past few teams we've played.
"It is what it is and you got to play your whole schedule. No excuses. And none needed because they literally gave everything they could. We got a lot of growth in our young players. They stepped up admirably -- better than that -- because no one gave them much credit coming out of Spring Training or faith except us internally.
"Often times, that's not enough to propel a young player to success and they took the bull by the horns and really competed," Williams said. "Not just competed but competed as a competitor all year and they can only grow from that. Some of our veterans stepped up and did what they've done most of their careers."