Some Zohn readers are sore at me because I referred to Jim Harbaugh as Jimmy. Some are more than sore. Some are outraged. You would have thought I accused Harbaugh of murdering babies.
Some wrote I lost my journalistic objectivity by belittling Harbaugh with the nickname Jimmy. I’ve got news for you. I have no objectivity. I am an opinion writer and my opinions are all over my prose. If you want objective reporting read Matt Maiocco and don’t bother with me. I may upset you.
I reveal my opinions in different ways. Sometimes I just come out and write what I think. Sometimes I use satire or irony or sarcasm — take your pick. When I call Harbaugh Jimmy I’m using one of the aforementioned.
Here is my distinction between Jim Harbaugh and Jimmy.
Jim Harbaugh is the professional coach who did a great job at Stanford and has done a great job at the 49ers. I respect coaches who do a great job. I respect Jim Harbaugh, the coach.
Jimmy is the guy who reveals himself to the media too much of the time. He would reveal himself to you, too, if you hung around him any amount of time. Jimmy is the 11 year old inside of Coach Harbaugh. You remember what it was like when you were 11. You were self-conscious. You were secretive. You might have thought people were scheming behind your back. You might have been a touch paranoid. Your remarks sometimes were out of context, rude even, and you had trouble reading a room.
Jimmy, as I experience him, has some of the tendencies I just enumerated. Jim Harbaugh is a grown man but Jimmy is a kid. I might have fun shooting hoops with Jimmy or drinking milk and eating Ding Dongs with him, but he’s hard to cover for a serious writer like me because he’s snide and secretive and just plain rude and evasive. And none of this helps his coaching in spite of what some readers believe. Jimmy could be much more professional and he’d still win loads of games. In the process of being more professional he would better represent the 49ers.
When Harbaugh acts like Jim Harbaugh, I will call him Harbaugh on my blog. When he acts like Jimmy, I will at times call him Jimmy. I encourage Jim Harbaugh to excise his inner Jimmy. I know Jimmy way too well. I long to know Jim Harbaugh.