Blyleven defends White Sox doll hijinx
Twins broadcaster derides lack of clubhouse privacy
CHICAGO -- Bert Blyleven remembers a time when any sort of off-color incident taking place in the clubhouse never would have been talked about outside of the baseball safe-haven, let alone become a national controversy on the scale of what has happened with the White Sox over the past four days.
With that thought process in mind, the Twins television analyst and legendary hurler spoke up on behalf of the White Sox during an interview Wednesday on ESPN 1000's Waddle and Silvy radio show in Chicago, with hosts Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman.
"There used to be a saying in each clubhouse. It says, 'What you say here, what you hear here, when you leave here, that it stays here,'" Blyleven said. "It's a shame that doesn't happen anymore.
"I came up in 1970. You know, we used to know pretty much all the beat writers. They were kind of part of the family. And now with so many writers in there, so many writers wanting to get their name in the papers somehow, it's a shame that that came out.
"All it was is something in fun, you know? Just try to loosen up the guys a little bit," Blyleven added. "You're with these guys for nine months out of the year. You're with these guys, you know ... you want to play practical jokes on each other but you can't do that anymore because it's going to be in the paper, and especially if you are on a six-game losing streak or a five-game losing streak at the time."
Blyleven, of course, is referring to the controversy stemming from the White Sox positioning two blow-up dolls in the Rogers Centre visitors' clubhouse on Sunday, moving their bats around the dolls, in an attempt to break out of an offensive slump covering their entire six-game road trip. The situation didn't receive much media attention on Wednesday, following Tuesday's whirlwind of coverage, aside from an Associated Press story stating that Major League baseball considered this a team issue and not a league issue.
The article also included a reference to an e-mail from the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media sent to the Chicago Sun-Times, voicing its concerns about the White Sox conduct. A White Sox spokesperson said general manager Ken Williams' comments on the matter Tuesday spoke for the organization.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn't talk much about the controversy on Wednesday, other than to reiterate that he had no regrets over the handling of what was supposed to be an in-house joke or prank.
"I don't feel guilty about anything," Guillen said. "The only regret I have [in my career] was A-Rod, making that kid suffer. I was telling the truth, but I didn't have the right to put that kid on the spot.
"That was a [garbage] thing on my part; that was low-class. That's why I apologized. I never start anything. I started it with Alex, and that's why I regret it. Everything else, ... no, because I know I was right."
During Wednesday's radio interview, Blyleven added how he likes Guillen, likes the manager's explosiveness and likes how he takes the media's attention away from his players. Guillen takes on extra media onus when the White Sox are struggling.
Basically, this 22-year-veteran and owner of 287 victories doesn't believe Guillen or the White Sox should be assailed for their clubhouse fun.
"It's a shame that something like that is out there," Blyleven said. "That these people come in that don't have [any] idea. They've never worn a jock in their life, and they don't know what it takes.
"Nobody meant anything by it. It was just try to ... 'Let's take the jinx off the bats, let's go guys, and have some fun.'"
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.