Archive for October, 2012

My letter to the Blue Jays

To the Toronto Blue Jays,

I’ve been a supporter of all things Blue Jays since 1977 when I was 7 years old and went to Exhibition Stadium with my dad. But I’ve never been more discouraged and frankly, ashamed, to say I support this team than today – and believe me, I didn’t even say that after the last week of 1987.

I sincerely hope the comments that John Farrell made at the press conference in Boston which introduced him as their new field Manager are incorrect.

He said he made it clear to Alex Anthopoulos and your organization as far back as one year ago when Terry Francona was dismissed and created a vacancy in Boston that he wished to pursue that job. Basically he was saying he’d rather not be the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays and would prefer to go somewhere else.

And yet you let him continue on to be the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays for 2012.

Where is the pride in this organization? How could you send a man who’s responsible for leading the team, and providing inspiration to win, back out there when you knew his heart wasn’t in it? How could you not decide right then and there to dismiss him from his responsibilities? What about the ‘HEART’ part of ‘Hustle & Heart’?

Since April 7, 1977 when Jack Brohamer, the Chicago White Sox catcher wore his shin guards as makeshift snow skis at Exhibition Stadium, Toronto had been fighting the notion that we were not a destination for baseball. After four divisional pennants and two Championships, Toronto is still fighting that notion. And the actions of the club over the last week have certainly not helped dispel the notion that we are a second-tier team.

Since 1977, the Blue Jays and my father have nurtured the idea in me that the Toronto Blue Jays are a club to believe in. That we should hate our rivals, the Red Sox and the Yankees (and the Tigers, when they were in the East). That we’re just as knowledgeable, passionate and capable as those clubs. Maybe not always outspending them, but certainly able to match their desire and sometimes surpass their capabilities.

Bell, Moseby and Barfield. Dave Stieb’s pursuit of perfection. WAMCO. Winfield wants noise. And Roberto Alomar’s fingers raised high in defiance of Dennis Eckersley’s, and in our minds all of baseball’s, assessment that we didn’t belong.

Yes, it has been trying to be a Blue Jays fan the last ten years or so. But we the faithful have hung in there. We believed in the new plan (again) and in Alex Anthopoulos and believed that better days weren’t far around the corner. And maybe they still are.

However, after we showed you our faith and belief in the brand with increased attendance, higher TV ratings and wearing the new logo proudly, you betrayed that faith.

After a season of disappointing results on and off the field, you let the Red Sox, our at least 2nd most hated rivals, not only swoop in and take our manager for what seems right now to be a 25th man on the roster, but also publicly humiliate the Blue Jays with their ‘gamesmanship’. It appears as if you let them drive the agenda in a situation where it seemed you had your own fate in your hands all along.

You let one man who doesn’t believe in the Blue Jays pursue and attain his ‘dream job’, and at the same time alienate the fan base that does.

And you broke a pretty major rule in sports which is to never help the other team win.

Certainly, it will be said by some circles associated with the team that the Blue Jays turned a situation where they could’ve gotten nothing and turned it a situation where the on field product became better. However, after a very trying season where the fan base needed to see that our faith was justified, I believe dismissing John Farrell for nothing (or even more maliciously waiting for Boston to name a manager and then doing it) would’ve inspired the fan base and resulted in more ticket sales which would accomplish the same thing. But with pride.

I sincerely hope that in the coming weeks and months you’ll begin to restore the pride that should come with the privilege of donning a Blue Jays jersey when taking the field as a manager, coach or player.

And along with that I hope those steps will restore the pride that we, your fanbase and supporters, used to feel as well when we put on the logo and colours of the team we have supported for 35 years.

 

Sincerely,

Me

 

 

 

Why Sandy is the right choice

Truthfully, I’m a Pal of Sal’s. I’d love if the Jays gave Sal Fasano a chance to manage at the big league level. However, I think Sandy Alomar Jr. is going to be the Jays skipper.

It makes sense on so many levels at a time when the Jays need to project a lot of good things to the Toronto Fans.

First of all, he’s a name. Yes, I know that doesn’t help us on the field but after having the Red Sox publicly make the Jays their bitch, a name would certainly help to appease the casual fan. And if AA doesn’t think he needs a bit of good PR, then he’s as naive as the Red Sox made him out to be.

Second, he’s a catcher and former Major Leaguer. It’s just an opinion by someone who’s watched the movie Bull Durham too many times, but I like managers that are former catchers. They’re used to running the show. They think strategy. They know how to slow the game down. They think about the angles like a chess player. Pitchers? Meh. I think of Nuke Laloosh. Don’t think, just throw.

Reason three. Robbie. He’s already in the Jays fold. So what you ask? Well, we want and need someone who wants to be here. Who says it’s his dream job. Come to Toronto and help win the World Series with your brother. That sounds like a dream to me. Robbie is not going anywhere as long as he’s in baseball. He went into the Hall of Fame in a Jays hat. He loves the franchise and the city loves him. I don’t think Rogers has leveraged this enough. You bring Sandy here and the Alomar brothers will show tremendous loyalty to this organization.

Four. Other clubs want him. Yes, I know that was what did us in this time. But who wants a manager that NOBODY else wants? What does that say about him?

Five. Why not? Alex needs something magical to happen. Sandy Alomar Jr. is the best chance he has for that other than Dave Stieb suddenly coming out of retirement with a reconstructed arm.

So long and thanks for nothing

I wonder what we’ll find out in the coming years about just what went down with John Farrell.

If rumours that he wanted to release Omar Vizquel in June are true, and AA said ‘no’, that could explain some of this rift we heard about. And it could just be the tip of the proverbial Jays iceberg.

Am I upset? Yes, but just because once again it sends the message that Toronto is not a baseball destination for players or coaches. This is not good.

But in any case, I know I saw a manager that:

• Sent Omar Vizquel to steal second base, as the tying run, with 2 outs in the 9th.

• Didn’t care that his rookie RF lost countless balls in the sun before someone gave him shades.

• Didn’t pay enough attention to what his SS had written on his face for a whole game.

• Bunted his # 3 hitter Brett Lawrie

• Tried some of the worst batting lineups I can think of, constantly

• Somehow had most of the starting rotation fall to devastating injuries (seems a bit too much of a confluence of bad luck to not have some reason this happened)

• Loved CoCo a bit too much when we all knew he was done

Basically a manager that had mediocre results even when he had a decent roster, and seemed to have no control of his clubhouse.

 

 

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