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On Tuesday MLB.com reporter Scott Merkin wrote about the anger that Bobby Jenks, former White Sox closer and new Red Sox set-up man, feels over being jettisoned by the ChiSox this season. Much of Jenks' venom was directed at Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen.
"How many times did he question my ability," Jenks told Merkin, "and then [say] how he would love to have me back, but I would have to come to Spring Training and fight for the closer's role like anyone else? Why would I come back to that negativity? I'm looking forward to playing for a manager who knows how to run a bullpen."
Jenks' parting shots rubbed Ozzie's son, Oney, the wrong way. Formerly a scout for the White Sox, Ozzie's middle son was forced to resign in March after the team took umbrage to his Twittered criticisms of GM Kenny Williams. Another social media snafu got Oney back in the news in August, when he called out Williams for going to a comedy club when the Sox were in the midst of an important doubleheader with the Royals. So what did Oney do when he heard of Jenks' complaints? What else? He took to Twitter again.
He started with this little nugget: "hahah memo to bobby jenks get a clue u drink to much and u have had marital problems hugeee ones and the sox stood behind u." He then continued with such gems as: "u cried in the managers office bc u have problems now u go and talk bad about the sox after they protected u for 7 years ungrateful."
All in all, Oney blasted Jenks in 22 tweets, calling the pitcher out for his lack of loyalty and taking several personal digs. Where Jenks was measured and thoughtful, despite his anger, in his comments to MLB.com, Oney was immature and crass in his twirade. While I understand Oney Guillen's loyalty -- defending one's loved ones is a natural instinct -- a public stunt like this embarrasses both Ozzie and the White Sox organization.
It's obvious that Ozzie is the source of Oney's inside information, so Oney's breach of trust and willingness to reveal clubhouse secrets is troublesome on a number of levels. First, Sox players will no longer be willing to share problems, concerns or personal issues with their manager, for fear of those statements later going viral via Oney's tweets. Second, a billion-dollar organization is essentially at the mercy of a 24-year-old kid who could, at any moment, decide to air its dirty laundry. Finally, whether it's fair or not, many people will interpret the statements Oney makes as the opinions and thoughts of Ozzie. On the rare occasions that the Sox outspoken manager stays mum on an issue (as he did last season whenever asked about the rumored rift between him and Williams), it's difficult not to see Oney's take on the issue as a reflection of his father's true feelings. It's not too tough to imagine Ozzie's dinnertime rants turning into Oney's afternoon tweets.
In March and again in August, Ozzie said he was disappointed about Oney's jabs at Williams, but he essentially threw up his hands and said he didn't have control over his son's actions. The Sox manager hasn't commented on Oney's latest outburst, but if and when he does, I imagine the excuse would be the same. If Ozzie doesn't put a stop to his son's Twitter purging, the rift between his family and the organization -- and between the manager and the GM -- will continue to grow until Ozzie is no longer able to do his job effectively. My advice is for Ozzie to get Oney a nice big diary (might I suggest this White Sox composition book?) and tell him to pour his heart out on the pages. One day he may have a best-selling book on his hands, and that's worth a lot more than a couple hundred visits to his Twitter page.