Mccown and Martinez, Wilner and Gaston

Thanks to those of you who sent all these in.

The more I listen to Bob Mccown, the more I think he is a baseball fan first and foremost, or at the very least a Blue Jays fan. He talks about all the local teams, but when it comes to the Jays he certainly appears to be much more passionate or invested. His co-hosts all ride him on it, but Mccown, whether jokingly or otherwise likes to make bold, positive Blue Jays predictions. So when Buck Martinez came on, Mccown sounded more like the typical Blue Jays fan than radio host. He raised many of the some issues and concerns that I know may did simply by following the Jays game on twitter.

Mccown raised many of the concerns that so many of us have expressed about the Blue Jays, that is that we want the team did well, was playing great and that it was apparent that Kevin Gregg didn’t have his stuff and Cito should have yanked him. Buck Martinez, wouldn’t have any of it. Martinez defended the Blue Jays,saying he was sick of all the negativity surrounding the Blue Jays, that Gregg blew one game. Martinez went on that Gregg is Cito’s closer. Cito had no other options left and Gregg was his guy. Mccown, to his credit, was saying that those of us watching the game knew Gregg didn’t have his best stuff and should have been yanked. Martinez said that Cito has designated Gregg as his closer and Cito doesn’t manage just for 1 game. If Gregg is his closer then Cito has to ride him. Martinez said that if Gregg’s name were Henke no one would be saying anything. Stephen Brunt asked if Kevin Gregg were of the same pedigree as a Henke, Martinez said that Gregg is without question the best guy they have. Martinez said he is a good pitcher who didn’t pitch well on one night. Brunt tired to press Martinez on whether Gregg will be “automatic” at some point. Martinez said that we all know there is a huge difference between closing for a .500 team and closing for a 1st place team. Martinez defended the players and Cito Gaston, Stephen Brunt seemed to take over for Mccown who got quiet for the last part of the interview. Martinez get very defensive when the topic of the “mutiny” from last year came up- again saying that some people who are not here any longer were stirring things up.

Now some of you said this was similar to Mccown vs. Richie Rich Maclean and I am here to tell you it was nothing like it. Mccown appeared to be pretty pissed at Richie Rich. Mccown here got quiet, let Buck and Brunt go at it and then seemed very amicable and friendly with Martinez at the end.

The Mccown, Brunt and Martinez interview is here

Meanwhile, while this was going on, it sounds like Cito was having words with one Mike Wilner. Wilner addressed it in his post game blog:

“I mentioned at the beginning of tonight’s Miked Up LIVE! that I had had a lovely discussion with the manager before the game, and that it was probably the last time we’ll talk, and some of you wanted details. Here you go:

Before the game, I had a discussion with Cito Gaston about the things I pointed out in last night’s blog post – about how he’d painted himself into a corner by not holding Shawn Camp and Scott Downs back. In the pre-game media scrum, Cito mentioned that taking Gregg out for Rommie Lewis or David Purcey wasn’t an option, but that if he’d still had Downs or Camp or Frasor available, he would have made a move before the Rays had taken the lead. So I asked him why he had removed Camp after having him only throw six pitches, with the ninth hitter at the plate, two out and nobody on in the 8th. Cito’s answer was “Have you looked at the stats?”. I said no, but that I couldn’t have imagined that Brignac could have more than three at-bats against either Downs or Camp, so it wouldn’t matter. His answer, again, was “you should look at the stats.” So I did, and they showed that Brignac had never faced Camp, and that going into last night’s game, he had faced Downs once and struck out. Obviously, one at-bat means less than nothing. It’s the same as having had no history against him, like Camp had. Cito asked a few minutes later if I’d seen the stats, and I told him the numbers and he said “that’s right”. Still wanting a real answer, I said “but you trust Camp, right? You’ve used him against lefties.” At which point I was interrupted by the Jays’ communications staff, saying that a question had been asked and answered. I explained that I was just trying to point out that he could have had Downs for the 9th had he left Camp in, and then Cito told me to look at Downs’ stats against the Rays (I’m sure the Crawford slam only adds to that argument).”

It’s too bad none of this was caught on tape as it sounds like it would be must see tv. Cito, at least as Wilner tells it got pretty defensive with Wilner making some pretty stereotypical comments to the reporter:

“Cito went on to tell me that it’s a lot tougher in his seat and that he can’t just sit there and blurt out anything that comes into his head. That was enough of the discussion for me. I think he also suggested I should come down and try managing, and I’m regretting that I didn’t take him up on the offer. I’d say that I’ll say yes the next time he offers, but I doubt it will come up again.”

Ya, I suspect that Wilner is correct in saying this is probably the last time the two talk. I mean Wilner has a job to do and that is covering this team. Part of that is talking to the manager. Similarly, Cito has a job to do and part of that involves talking to those who cover the team. Now, Wilner doesn’t usually travel with the team, unless something has changed and that relieves the pressure 1/2 of the time, but still this one will be worth watching.

“It’s unfortunate that I can’t have a legitimate discussion about strategy with the manager without him feeling as though he’s being attacked (or at least reacting as though he’s being attacked – I don’t know what he was feeling), but such is life. I don’t need to be belittled by the skipper in front of the entire assemblage when I’m asking legitimate, rational questions about a situation that he brought up earlier in a conversation.”

Couple of points here. I wasn’t there, so I have no clue how any of Wilner’s peers viewed this. We have all been there though. We’ve all been the one at one time or another to get singled out and made an example of and we know how lousy it feels. I am not going to suggest that Wilner deserved it, because I wasn’t there to here it. However, I will say that given the tone he takes (sometimes understandably) with his callers after games (and I have said time and time again that this is the hardest job in sports media in this town) I can see how this happens. Wilner is condescending at the very least in his tone with fans. Did he talk to Cito this way this time? I have no clue. Does he talk in that same tone to the players/management as he does to fans? I have no clue, I’m never there. All I am saying is if he does, I could see how he ruffles some feathers. Does that mean Cito should be an a$$ back???No.

Wilner’s blog, a good read is here

About the Author
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
18 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
June 3, 2010 11:36 am

wow, picking someone to cheer for between Cito and Wilner … is there some option where they both sail off into a sea of smug self-satisfaction?

i have to side with Wilner here. the media has not historically challenged the manager in this town and that’s a shame. living in boston i have become accustomed to hearing both the GM and the manager provide detailed explanations for their decisions, and engage in statistical analysis with the media. that;s just what;s expected.

i’d love it if the other media people showed up today and picked up Wilner’s line of questioning. Cito can’t ignore everyone and when he speaks he reveals himself to be out of touch with 21st century baseball.

Mike S
Mike S
June 3, 2010 1:33 pm

The reason why Martinez got defensive when Brunt brought up the mutiny against Cito is because it is obvious that Martinez blames JP Ricciardi for “stirring it up”…………..I don’t know if that is true or not but it should be pointed out that Martinez was fired by Ricciardi several years ago so he definitely has an axe to grind when it comes to JP

Daniel
Daniel
June 3, 2010 1:40 pm

I think you’re right about McCown being a Jays fan, TSM. I’ve really noticed it in the last two years especially. I didn’t get the impression he was interested nearly as much in most of the JP years. Maybe these young guys remind him of the early days when he was the PA announcer for the Jays.

Funnily enough, I definitely don’t consider him a baseball ‘expert’. He’s not great with stats or anything like that. Truthfully though, I don’t really mind as long as he’s entertaining. I have other places to go if I want hardcore analysis (mostly online).

I love Wilner, but you’re right in that he can be condescending and its possible that he may have come across that way to Cito.

You mentioned Wilner’s peers. I’m not sure how they viewed this incident, but judging by tweets and on air conversations, he does seem to be on very friendly terms with most of the Jays media.

Daniel
Daniel
June 3, 2010 1:44 pm

Mike S – oh yeah, Buck does NOT like JP. It’s telling that as soon as JP got fired, Buck came back to Toronto (from Baltimore) to do the PBP.

I think Martinez might have also been sensitive about the ‘mutiny’ talk because of his pretty terrible turn as Jays manager earlier this decade. I don’t remember the details very well, but I think something similar may have happened to him. I recall reading that he ‘lost the clubhouse’.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
June 3, 2010 1:55 pm

Buck’s “i’m sick of the negativity” is among the least compelling responses possible. it’s lame because it doesn’t engage with any of the complaints and instead points to a highly gerrymandered sample of games as a way of glossing over real discussion points.

the facts are that the team hasn’t competed for a playoff spot in 17 years, the organization raised ticket prices after a brutal season in which they traded the best player in franchise history because they were unwilling to commit to the payroll to compete, the manager is only here this due to his friendship with the president who didn’t want to give the appearance of caving to the unhappy players … the list could go on.

there are a lot of legitimate reasons to be negative Buck. you’re the PBP guy for one of the worst run organizations in baseball.

Daniel
Daniel
June 3, 2010 2:05 pm

“you’re the PBP guy for one of the worst run organizations in baseball.”

Player development wise – disagree. They’ve got some exciting young guys.

But promotion and finding ways to get people out to the ballpark wise? Totally agree. There should be no excuse for over half a million people watching games on TV and only 11K showing up to the games. They are doing something very wrong there. (Mike – I know, I know, I mentioned TV ratings).

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
June 3, 2010 2:17 pm

“you’re the PBP guy for one of the worst run organizations in baseball.”

Player development wise – disagree. They’ve got some exciting young guys.

the farm system has been consistently rated in the bottom 5 for the last 5 years, and not much better than bottom 5 for a lot longer. it has only gone up as a result of the Halladay trade. they failed to sign 5 of their top 6 draft picks just this past year.

i completely agree that the team looks exciting now with the young pitching and Hill, Lind, Snider, Wallace. but there is still a long way to go before this team can claim it is being well run.

Daniel
Daniel
June 3, 2010 4:45 pm

You may be right that they have a long way to go before the team is ‘well run’. But at the same time, they are not close to Pirate/Royal level of pure crap. Their rate of producing effective young starting pitchers over the last few years has been incredible. That’s why they’ve been able to weather the loss of Halladay pretty well (so far).

That being said, it’s good to have someone like AA in there who seems intent on changing the way the organization is run. You’re right, they’ve got a long way to go.

fluffy
fluffy
June 3, 2010 5:50 pm

This may be off topic but I’m done with McCowan. I used to listen because he was so annoyingly smug. That’s the same reason I find it tough to listen to him anymore. (i suspect I’m not alone). The only part of his show I find redeeming is Stephen Brunt. This guy is so head over heals more intelligent than anyone in the Canadian Sports Press. He’s the closest thing we have to Costas or Reilly.

FMT
FMT
June 4, 2010 12:03 am

Haha, it funny that you mention smug Fluff, I also find Wilner to be like that, and I usually turns me away from a host, but for some reason I really like listening to him, it’s an entertaining post game and probably the best we have of any sport. But Wilner does talk down to his audience all the time so when the manager makes a smug comment in return then he gets all insulted? Really, media guys like that are hilarious, and there’s a lot of them (not in just sports) man the guys who dish it out the most, but any criticism on them they whine like crazy and get so thinned skinned. There are so many examples of that

What I don’t get is when Gibbons was manager I never heard Wilmer be critical of him. EVER. When people call up and complain about Gibbons, Wilner would always return with (players lose games) and even go as far as saying fans don’t like Gibbs because of his accent (class act Wilner. Right up there with if you like Reed Johnson over Stewart it’s because you cheer for short guys in high socks) But now with Cito, well when they win it’s still (players win) but when his team loses, now all of a sudden it’s bad managing. I mean when Ryan couldn’t hit the side of a barn, Wilner said give him all the time. So now Gregg is Cito closer (like it or not) now it’s all about micro-managing the closer?

Saying that, is there anything more pointless than a Cito post game presser lol. It’s the same thing every game. If they win it’s “The batters had timely hitting and pitchers found their spot” if they lose it’s “Well the patters didn’t get timely hitting and pitchers couldn’t find their spot” I listen to the post game show and it’s usually half a minute of only that. I like listening to post game coach’s thoughts. Leafs coach Wilson have good post games (previous coach did as well). TFC coach Preki has worthy post games interviews as well even with his adorable accent (uh oh better not to be too critical of him, Wilner will say it’s because of his accent ha) but with Cito post game you hear on the post game show there’s never any insights, not sure if it’s because of Cito or how it’s set up.

Wilner had a few run-ins with fellow hosts, I remember a couple of years back when Toth would fill in on PTS and there was an afternoon game and Wilner was giving a positive spin on stuff and then Toth came on for PTS and ripped on the Jays and Wilner for always giving a positive spin to JP and Gibbs. Toth and his callers went after him pretty bad. Wilner was upset over that about not saying it to his face. There was also an awkward moment this season with Smith recently when Snider started coming and Smith ask Wilner “So how long do you stick with Snider” and Wilner reply was “Are you joking, he’s currently their best hitter”. Really putting Smith on the spot. Next show you know it bothered Smith as he said about his talk with Wilmer “I know he’s doing well now, but I look at the season total numbers”

Mike
Mike
June 4, 2010 6:54 am

Wilner will NEVER manage. You can’t be so condescending and arrogant when you actually have a record people look at and will be shown to be wrong half the time. His hero JP tried that and look where it got him.

Much easier to stay on radio and put down everyone dumb enough to call into JaysTalk.

Mike S
Mike S
June 4, 2010 10:57 pm

I disagree with 590 suspending Wilner…………but the good news is I don’t have to hear him on the radio for an entire weekend

Daniel
Daniel
June 5, 2010 1:56 am

The Wilner suspension is outrageous!

Tim
Tim
June 7, 2010 6:31 pm

Wilner frequently “belittles” his callers. Often for good reason. Still, I think that anybody in the sports media should be ready for attitude from coaches and athletes.
Too bad the Fan thought they needed to get involved. Mike and Cito can settle it themselves.

roger
roger
September 3, 2010 2:29 pm

Wilmer is an idiot he’s a JP Richardi ass kisser

gary werechuk
gary werechuk
July 6, 2011 3:59 pm

for the all star game why not have a contest within a contest and for the home run derby besides individual also see who wins totals among the 2 leagues based on 4 man totals

18
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x