A leader emerges in race out of town

If you picked Bobby Jenks as your offseason scapegoat, you might be feeling pretty good about yourself after reading this Scott Merkin article:

Jenks is not a happy man, and it has nothing to do with another offseason beginning with trade rumors. Instead, during a weekend chat with MLB.com, Jenks took umbrage with the White Sox once again calling out his conditioning at the end of the 2009 season.
“I’ve done everything I can do, I’ve done everything that is physically possible, to make myself in better shape this year,” said Jenks. “Where the years previously I didn’t lose weight in-season, I didn’t want my weight issue to be a factor as to why I had an off season.”

Also mentioned is that the Sox didn’t allow Jenks to travel with the team for the final six games of the season, even though they wanted to.
This is an article to store away, as it does a good job of recapping the late-season smoke signals, which prompted Chris Le Duca to say that Jenks had thrown his last pitch for the White Sox.
Though it may seem like another situation in which the Sox trash an outgoing player before he’s officially going out, but a similiar situation is brewing in the Twin Cities’ media. Apparently, Joe Nathan “failed because he couldn’t breathe,” although we’ve talked about how he breathes a little too hard.
It’d be fun to see what would happen if Jenks and Nathan were on the block at the same time.  Both are under control for two years, with Nathan earning $11.25 million in each of the next two seasons, and Jenks set to make $7 million or so in his second year of arbitration.  Jenks’ presence would more adversely affect Nathan’s stock than the other way around, as the Sox could position him as the cheaper closer alternative.  Both would be selling low.
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Arizona Fall League play began on Tuesday. To refresh memories, the Sox are sending the following to the desert:
Hitters: Dayan Viciedo, Jordan Danks, C.J. Retherford.
Pitchers: Justin Cassel, Sergio Santos, Jacob Rasner, Matt Long.
Viciedo and Danks could each use strong performances in fall ball to stave off questions — Viciedo about his polish, and Danks about his wrist. In fact, it’ll be slightly troubling if neither hits for power considering this league is an offensive one. Cole Armstrong turned into a slugger for a few glorious weeks here last season.
Mark Gonzalez talks a little bit about Santos, a former shortstop who began his conversion to relief pitching with the Sox this past season.
Another former shortstop to successfully make the jump to the bullpen midway through his minor-league career: Joe Nathan. Will the ciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiircle be unbrokeeeeeeeen?
In the first game, Viciedo went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a sac fly. Santos threw two scoreless innings.
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Reading material:
*At South Side Sox, U-God picks his top five games of the season.
*Andrew has four short essays on Dewayne Wise.
*J.J. keeps cranking out reviews: D.J. Carrasco, Randy Williams, Tony Pena and Scott Linebrink.
*Malcolm Gladwell wrote a scary piece on NFL players and brain damage, which only makes me more confused as to why MLB gets hammered for steroid usage while NFL transgressions go largely unnoticed. Almost all enhanced strength in baseball is used on the ball, whereas football players use their increased size, speed and strength to launch themselves into each other.

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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cushinglee

You know why the NFL always gets a pass? Because of all the ratings it gets for the various networks. I have a number of friends who are always ragging on me for being a baseball fan because of steroids. Yet they have no problem with Shawn Merriman, Michael Vick, Terrell Owens, etc. The national sports media will never judge the NFL the way it does MLB.

adrockski

Good point. And thanks for the link, Jim. Looks like a good read. Real Sports had a piece on former NFL players who suffer from brain damage. It’s something that deserves much more discussion and inquiry than it’s been given so far, and money probably has as much to do with it as anything.

knoxfire30

This might sound crazy but can someone explain to me why it would be a bad idea to go back to leather helmets. Im serious the way guys lead with their heads I think going to a leather type helmet may actually PREVENT a ton of head injuries. Rugby is a violent game played with limited to no padding and they manage.
Just a crazy thought, no I haven’t been drinking.

knoxfire30

Hadn’t heard Ditka’s take on it I will do some web searching! And yea it would need to be phased in at an early age.

JJ

Beyond the Box Score (http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/10/13/1083998/arizona-fall-league-pitchf-x-day#storyjump) had Santos throwing 96 over those two innings, for what it’s worth.

JJ

There wasn’t anything on Zach’s wikipedia page or Josh’s MUTigers page, but they still could be cousins or something.

blah

The reason why MLB gets a pass is it’s a numbers game. Everything is recorded to set a specific value to a player. That and every important stat in American sports is in baseball; the homerun record, all time wins, all time hits and strikeouts.
The NFL is different because, in a more real sense, numbers can’t really give value to a player. I’m not talking about “intangible” crap like teamwork and being friends with everyone, but I am talking about corners being so good in coverage that a QB avoids throwing to that receiver, a offensive coordinator game planning around a strongside linebacker or a full back making a key block in the running game.
I suppose in short, the NFL is more team oriented, as success or failure to win a game can not be solely thrust on one player because of various intricacies.
In baseball the results and stats are kept to keep individual records and success or failure can usually be attributed to one player because there is the one on one match up of pitcher vs hitter.

blah

Or at least that’s my take. I don’t really know why for sure.

blah

Try telling how baseball has changed to some beat reporters. You’d nearly swear pitch counts and homerun replays are as bad as clubbing seals.
But to kind of beat a dead horse with the whole stats are important to baseball thing, even going beyond Ty Cobb or Cy Young, look at VORP, UZR or the plus and minus system. These are all recently created stats. These are becoming our generations batting average, look at the way Ken Tremendous talks about it.
And Even though I think that using PED’s is cheating/fraud/unethical/whatever in either the NFL or MLB, the ability to document or record the effect using PED’s has is a whole lot easier in baseball.
Anyway, I mean it’s more than just the numbers though. After all baseball is a representation of what it is to be American. Fathers and sons play catch. It’s America’s passtime. Not letting substance abuse happen in baseball is more about protecting the image of America. Kind like Nancy Regan with the “Just Say No” program.

knoxfire30

Two thoughts on things that dont add up.
1. Jenks saying he did everything he could to get into shape. PPAAAA LEASE, get your fat ass on a treadmill for ten times longer then whatever you thought you were doing cause that statement simply is a flat out lie, and anyone in team wardrobe can prove it.
2. Why in the world would the sox not want Jenks around the final 6 games, is he a total goof off and they thought he would be a distration. I cant recall a team that is more unusual with the way they tend to alienate players.

pander

I’m just amazed at how well Larry called out Jenks’ perceived failings in the “Vote for the scapegoat” fanpost on SSS.
“Bobby Jenks. Crime? Fat, lack of commitment to his craft leading to ineffectiveness and injury.”
Well, maybe not injury, but he certainly has no K/9 to speak of, so ineffectiveness yes.
Football will always be given a free pass because of human nature and assumptions. You see big guys in armor charging at one another and ASSUME someone will get hurt. Thus, when it comes out that they suffer brain damage, response is muted.
If the ill fate were unexpected, say repeated swings of maple bats caused brain cancer, the uproar and public response would be immediate. Why did it happen? Did testing occur? Who knew? When? Without expectations, surprise leads to outrage. With expectations, revelations are normalized and then trivialized.
Think about the perception of the public at large. Football players are SUPPOSED to get shot, shoot at others, throw money at strippers. Basketball players were supposed to dress like extras in a Jay-Z video until Stern instituted his arguably-successful image-restoration program (read: Dress code). Baseball players are SUPPOSED to be the upstanding, grindy, diverse group of players from all walks of life who represent the American dream. STEROIDS? IN BASEBALL? FOR SHAAAAAAAME!
It’s like the Joker says in the Dark Knight…blow up a hospital and people go apeshit. But tell them you’re going to blow up a hospital, then actually do it, and nobody is alarmed.

chisoxt

Here is a novel concept for Kenny to consider…please buy low and sell high and not vice versa. Not that I was a big fan of Vasquez and Swisher, but it seemed like we were content just to dump them onto other teams while getting not much in return. Further, trading Jenks right now would be both pointless and stupid. We have neither the money (according to the Sox) to buy anything decent on the free agent market (not that anything worthy is even available) and other than Daniel Hudson do we even have anything remotely competent in our farm system who can step into such a role next year?
Give Jenks his money next year, show him what a stair climber is and hope that he bounces back next year. Then trade him.