I don’t know Bobby Jenks. Never have met him. Of course, I’d recognize him if I saw him, but anyway… He is very high on my list of new favorite people, after reading his comments about his former manager in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen. Jenks said something to the effect of how nice it would be pitching in Boston, for a manager who knows how to run a bullpen. Ozzie Guillen has been one of my least favorite baseball people (Non-Yankee category) forever. Ever since his days as a malcontent under his manager, Terry Bevington with the White Sox. Guillen is a guy who just doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. Winning the World Series in 2005 has bought him a ton of good will in the Windy City. I lived in Chicago for a couple of years and on the sports totem pole, the White Sox are way down. They love Da Bears, the Cubs, the Bulls and again the Blackhawks, now that they’re good again. There are a few things that we, as New England sports fans, shouldn’t take for granted. #1- Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Obvious reasons. #2- Terry Francona. I don’t know if Tito is the best manager in baseball, but he’s done an exceptional job in Boston. He is the right man for that job. He will never embarass the organization with a stupid comment. He will always stand up for his players. The same can’t be said for Guillen. He has, over the years, been publicly critical of his charges and his club.
Thus, it isn’t surprising that his son, Oney is a loose cannon, too. Oney resigned from his job in the White Sox scouting department (Gee, how’d he get the job?) last Spring after offending the organization with his “tweeting”. Prior to that, he had been critical of Chicago General Manager, Ken Williams. Not the smartest thing you could do. My guess is that Ozzie Guillen commended him, rather than admonish him for biting the hand that feeds his family. It’s a different world today. When I was a kid, if a call came to my house from a teacher that said I was misbehaving (not that it ever really happened), I was punished for my indiscretion. I have a couple of dear friends who are teachers today. If a similar call is made to a house, the parents are ready to “lawyer up”. “My little Johnny would never do such a thing!!” I have news for you. Yes he would.
I will never forget the time I was accosted by an angry parent of a Syracuse University football player I had criticized for a dumb move he made. Shelby Hill was avery talented and likeable wide receiver at S.U. The Orangemen were getting crushed in Miami and in frustration, Hill picked up an incompleted pass and punted the ball into the stands. I criticized him on the postgame call-in show for letitng down the kids who were watching, his teammates and his school. A week later, as I was about to begin the pre-game show at the Carrier Dome, literally, minutes before I was to go on the air, I hear a booming voice behind me. “Who’s the guy that does the call-in show?” I stood up and said “I do. What can I do for you?” “I’m J.D. Hill. How dare you criticize my son?” J.D. Hill was a former NFL player, who should have known better. He was coming after me and I believe, to this day, that he would have hit me if security hadn’t intervened. “The very fact that you defend him, tells me all I need to know about why he did what he did.” Needless to say, I was still fuming when the post-game show started and I vented. Most of the callers supported me, but not all of them. Anyway, Just another example of the apple not falling far from the tree.
I hope Bobby Jenks is a tremendous success with the Red Sox.
I want to take a moment to congratulate my friend and colleague Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal. The Red Sox beat writer, who introduced me to the concept of “paragraphs”, has accepted a position with the “Wall Street Journal”. All the best!