White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye, as you have probably heard, was handed a two-game suspension and undisclosed fine in the wake of Wednesday’s post-ejection fit of rage. Couple this with the scolding handed to Bobby Jenks’ for the heinous crime of fighting back and suddenly it all becomes clear: these White Sox might not be awesome, but they are at least hardcore enough to make it interesting.
One can only assume Dye’s suspension will be reduced, and Jenks probably isn’t weeping over the three fewer Filets of Unicorn he can afford now, so all things considered it’s hard to venture a guess as to what exactly all this discipline is supposed to accomplish. Jermaine, you know, he could probably use a day off one of these weeks anyway and Jenks, well, he’s probably going to become a very rich man one of these months; for all intents and purposes, the Sox haven’t been punished at all.
And yet they have something even more valuable on their side – stigma! Imagine how the news will echo down the Interhole as Dye’s dropped helmet becomes an umpire’s emergency surgery, or Bobby Jenks’s shot at Ian Kinsler becomes the second baseman’s trip to the burn ward. Given time and the known foibles of the Telephone Game, the Chicago White Sox could become a team of feared players, even though there is almost nothing fearsome about them.
What did Jenks really do wrong? About as much as Dye, actually, which is to say a whole lot of nothing. But in insanely melodramatic, knee-jerk psychotic fanboy terms, Bobby Jenks could have killed that guy if he wanted to. Except he didn’t, and if there is justice in the world no one will say “Jenks threw behind Ian Kinsler” but rather “Bobby Jenks let Ian Kinsler live.” Not that baseball – or any mere sport – is worth killing for, and not that anyone needs turn baseball spectatorship into calls for some stranger’s head, but if the Sox can somehow harness this all for good and turn a short streak of modest troublemaking into a leaguewide installation of fear in the hearts of even the most hardended and grizzled competitors and supporters, they will be in a very good position indeed … or at least one better than the abysmal team offensive campaign has put them in.