Well that was quick.
Just a day after the verbal dust-up that emerged, and threatened to re-emerge even bigger between Bobby Jenks and Ozzie Guillen, Terry Francona informed the press that he spoke to Jenks and contacted Guillen, and conveyed the same message to each: ‘Knock if off, eh?’
“That’s over,” Francona told the Boston Globe.
“Spoke to Bobby. Went back and forth with Ozzie, not speaking, but just
messages. I’m confident that will be over. I don’t care if they like
each other. But Bobby’s a Red Sox and you need to move on. I think he
Francona relayed his message to
Guillen through bench coach Joey Cora while telling Jenks to end his
exchange of words with Guillen.
“Just making sure it goes away. It doesn’t need to happen,” Francona
said. “He played for the White Sox, now he plays for the Red Sox.”
Perhaps it’s not that surprising that Francona acted so quickly. First, as Guillen made it clear, gut-ripping was at stake. Second, with no real stake in this dispute, the feud existed to Francona as nothing more than a useless distraction, so he axed it.
Francona will–and is already starting to–receive a lot of praise for being mature and professional in his approach. It’s earned; the quickness and simplicity of his actions makes one wonder how conflicts like this drag out so often in the first place. However, it’s crucial to point out that it’s a lot easier to be rational and level-headed when it’s not your name being dragged through the mud. This conflict was begging for an impartial third-party to come along and point out its pointlessness, and Francona stepped into that void.
It’s good that he did, and did so while Spring Training still stands a good chance at not being defined by its distractions. However, the ease at which this was done may say more about the foolishness and inanity of the dispute than Francona’s brilliance.
J.J. says there could be use for thoroughly mediocre Philip Humber after all. He also notes that as of Monday, White Sox baseball will be started once more.