It’s an established fact that most pro athletes see the media as annoyance that should be ignored, misled, and undermined at every turn. Lately, we’ve seen athletes deflect questions about things like steroids by feigning ignorance or outright lying. It’s frustrating as a fan to be treated with such disdain and indifference by athletes whose careers wouldn’t even exist without fans’ willingness to shell out money for tickets and merchandise. It’s also frustrating as a reporter to be constantly stonewalled on every question and every issue.
(Guilty … of being sexy.)
Enter butt-loving pitcher Bobby Jenks of the Chicago White Sox. On Saturday, Jenks fired a wicked fastball behind Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler. When asked about it after the game, did Jenks feign ignorance or give the standard non-answer answer about control issues? If you guessed yes, you don’t know much about Bobby Jenks.
Jenks threw aside baseball’s unwritten rules about dealing with the media (deny, deny, deny) and let loose with a
massive fart passionate defense of the symbolic beanball attempt. From MLB.COM:
“Yeah, I wanted to go in and send a message, and I think that message was sent,” Jenks said after he had finished up his seventh save in as many opportunities. “Basically, I was saying, ‘I’m sick of seeing our guys get hit and hurt and almost get taken out of the game.’ I threw it with intention.”
Jenks’ similarly-named teammate John Danks backed up his teammates, as teammates do:
“If someone’s feelings get hurt, too bad,” Danks had said. “We are trying to send a message that we are not going to just let people hit us the whole time.
“We are going to play as a team,” Danks had added, “and part of that is making sure the other pitcher knows you can’t throw at us. If something needs to happen, we’ll do it.”
Maybe it’s because the White Sox are a less-scrutinized team than, say, the New York Yankees, but it’s refreshing to hear an athlete actually explain his motivation rather than shrug his shoulder and play dumb. On the other hand, if every athlete said what was really on their mind, they’d run out of things to say pretty quickly.