By Dan Bernstein–
Any time someone announces an intention to take the high road, it’s a good bet that exactly the opposite is about to happen.
Such is the case in this pointless, needlessly-ongoing mudslinging duel between Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Jenks, which simply should have ended – as in actually, truly ended – weeks ago.
Ozzie: Let. It. Go.
Jenks is now with the Red Sox, preparing for the season. No major-league manager should be bothering now (or ever, really) to air the dirty laundry of another team’s player, even if he left town acrimoniously, or without the grace and gratitude expected by the former team.
It seems he just can’t help himself, though. His skin thin as ever, Guillen feels the need to let the feud percolate right into the opening day of the spring game schedule. What should be disregarded in the manner befitting a leader of men is, instead, perpetuated like a hallway squabble between eighth-graders.
What Ozzie does not realize is that merely saying “He knows I can easily, easily kill this kid in the paper” is the equivalent of doing so. The clear threat implied by the mention of son Oney’s poison Twitter account proves that the whole lesson from that stupidity is still unlearned.
In fact, his statement that “If Oney said everything he knows about Bobby Jenks, it wouldn’t be a pretty thing” gives credence to the popular argument that Ozzie is Oney and Oney is Ozzie.
“Just stay away and don’t name Oney for this,” Guillen warned, “because it will be pretty ugly.”
Sounds like somebody who can get a message out if he wants to.
There is no need for this, and no good can come from it.
Back to the forefront come legitimate worries for current White Sox. Messy, embarrassing personal details long understood to be protected by clubhouse walls appear to be currency for Guillen – information he can use as he wishes, to defend from what he sees are attacks on his good name.
He says he “could” kill Jenks in the paper, and then proceeds to kill Jenks in the paper: dishing details about his lack of close friends in the clubhouse, saying “He showed up once a week to pitch,” and describing the extended time off he was given “to babysit his kids” when his father-in-law was sick.
Thankfully, there is an adult involved. Red Sox manager Terry Francona finally stepped in to shut everybody up, speaking to Jenks directly and communicating with Guillen via text and through bench coach Joey Cora.
Think about that – an AL manager feels strongly enough to tell a counterpart to grow up, essentially, and there’s little controversy because everyone agrees with him.
Guillen must realize at some point that he is more responsible than the players, and more significant in the organizational hierarchy. The out-of-town sour grapes from a former pitcher needn’t be given more weight than deserved, even if it’s true that the team covered for him when he was having personal problems.
You know what? Teams do that all the time. Then they get on with their business.
Ironically, Guillen included in his comments his concern for the image of the organization. “Thank god he wasn’t talking about the club,” he said. “If Bobby was talking about the club, I would have been everywhere…because I will rip his guts.”
“Just worry about Boston,” Guillen said. “Don’t worry about the White Sox.”
Good advice. Someone should take it.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here.
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