Got myself into a very uncomfortable situation before the Dust Devils' last home game Saturday against Boise.
I walked into the locker room before the game and was confronted by a very unhappy Bo Bowman, the Dust Devils first baseman, whom I had interviewed the night before.
Now, I have chatted with Bo before, and I find him to be a friendly and sharp guy. He's always been a straight shooter with me, so when he has something to say to me, I'm going to listen.
He told me during our conversation the night before, he had asked that some of what he said was not for print. I have no doubt that he asked just that.
However, I either misunderstood what he said or didn't hear it correctly. So the next day, when he saw certain quotes in the paper, he did what any standup guy should do when somebody does him wrong — he came to me to find out what happened.
Incidentally, Bo is not a small man at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. He could remove my spleen pretty easily if he wanted to. So when he got in my face, I can't say I wasn't sweating it. But I also understood instantly where he was coming from.
As a journalist, I have a responsibility to my sources to quote them accurately and within reasonable context. Part of my job is building up a trust with my sources that ultimately helps me do my job better the next time out. When I don't live up to that responsibility, whether intentionally or not, it hurts my credibility and can also hurt other people in the process.
I give Bo a lot of credit for coming straight to me with the issue. I give him even more credit for being willing to talk it out with me and come to a solution. And, yes, I was allowed to keep my spleen.
I think the incident also gave Dust Devils manager Fred Ocasio an opportunity to teach the team an important lesson about athletes and the media. When they talk to us, they are playing with live ammo. And the media, no matter what they might say, is NOT their friend — a lesson many pro athletes have learned quite painfully in their careers.
I know my own heart, and the last thing I ever want to do is hurt or embarrass a player. Heck, there's still part of me that looks up to them as something that I always dreamed of being.
For that reason, I hope every player continues to be cautious. I'll try to be more careful moving forward, too, so something like this doesn't happen again.
Finally, I think Bo understands that I wasn't out to get him, and I'm grateful he's a reasonable man. I never feel good about making a mistake, but I felt better about the way this one was resolved.