CHICAGO | This “DJ” is no lowbrow shock jock. Better yet, he’s under no management strictures about what he can say on the air.
And he knows how to shepherd a broadcast through all the off-key rhythms of the White Sox.
If Alejandro De Aza shows shaky outfield fundamentals, he’ll call it as he sees it. Now, about that crazy, lurching baserunning ...
“It’s not that I’ve changed,” said Darrin Jackson, in his 14th season and now the radio color analyst partner to Ed Farmer on Sox broadcasts on WSCR-AM (670).
“The team is different, therefore it needs different reporting,” he added. “This is the first time the team, to me, has played so anemically. It’s been bad baseball."
DJ wasn't finished.
“Even though there’s been a few White Sox teams that have not played well record-wise, they didn’t make so many mistakes defensively," he said. "So many base-running mistakes. So many obvious mental mistakes that don’t show up as errors that need to be reported.”
Frustrated Sox fans are getting even more of Jackson, a former Sox and Cubs outfielder, this season.
After he finishes a game broadcast, he’ll re-join post-game host Chris Rongey for a second round of Sox talk on his drive home to the western suburbs.
One “DJ” point that stuck out: Maybe the 2012 Sox weren’t as good as they played. And maybe this year’s team isn’t as bad as the horrible record so far. Maybe the true level of talent was somewhere in the middle.
That means, well, mediocre.
Native South Sider Farmer, who's always had his critics, and Jackson are good two-strike performers.
Overcoming strike one: they’re former players, but don’t rose-color present-day athletes’ foibles as a result.
Overcoming strike two is throwing aside a long-ago stereotype Sox broadcasts are under the thumb of the top guy. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has the reputation of seeing all, listening to all and reading all.
Harry Caray was advised to tone it down by Tribune Co. bigwig Jim Dowdle and Cubs boss Dallas Green when he switched over from the Sox and his guerilla-theater-of-the-air style in 1982.
But no one ever has censored Jackson, who by choice focuses on the play and not the personal side of an errant player.
“The thing that I have enough common sense to understand is I work for the White Sox,” Jackson said. “I’ve never, ever, envisioned myself working someplace and knocking my bosses. That doesn’t make much sense.
"You have to find a fine line where what’s you’re saying is acceptable and what’s not acceptable. But I’ve not had anybody come up to me and say, hey, you’re not allowed to do this and you’re not allowed to do that.”
You’ll never have to worry about “DJ” possessing humility. A bout with testicular cancer early in his Cubs career in the 1980s took care of that. Experiences like that make you see things clearly — and honestly.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at DGemsNet@aol.com.