Before he came to the White Sox, Bobby Jenks had a reputation. The flamethrowing closer was known for his talent but also for his shenanigans -- showing up to games hung over, bringing beer on the Double-A bus, faking the occasional injury to avoid training.
Then, Jenks was picked up by the White Sox for a paltry $20,000, and the rest is history. He closed a World Series, resurrected his career, and has been by all accounts a good citizen. Bobby Jenks of 2009 is not the minor league version, not by a long shot.
It appears Jenks hasn't fully escaped that past, though. Matt McCarthy, a former Angels minor-leaguer who went on to Harvard Medical School, has written a book about his time in baseball, and it's not too kind to Big Bad Bobby. To wit:
An excerpt from the book published in Sports Illustrated portrays Jenks as a wild, cocky reliever. The author quotes Jenks as telling him to fake a back injury to avoid lifting weights and running. McCarthy also says Jenks suggested his $175,000 signing bonus was a bargain because he threw 100 m.p.h., and he says Jenks showed up at the park hung over several times. [...]
"He's just trying to jump on the bandwagon of the whole book era right now, and it's a sad attempt," Jenks said. "I couldn't point him out in a room. I didn't know who he was then. I don't know who he is now."
Though we're not sure what Jenks means by "the whole book era" -- we thought books were dying! our journalism teachers lied to us! -- we do understand his frustration. Here he is, trying to let the past be the past, and he's got some hotshot Harvard doctor writing tell-all books about his time in minor league baseball. Oh well. If those allegations are the juciest the book has on Jenks, he has nothing to worry about. We know about this stuff already, Bobby. We love you anyway. No sweat, big fella.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.