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

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