The Defense Of The Toronto Blue Jays Management Team

The Defense Of The Toronto Blue Jays Management Team


The Toronto Raptors are headed for the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs are not.

The Blue Jays season is about to begin.

So, doom and gloom as it surrounds the Leafs is expected.
The coverage of the Raptors is interesting given their recent performance.
The coverage the Blue Jays is odd under the circumstances. While I expect some guarded optimism, what we are seeing instead is the defence of both Alex Anthopoulos and John Gibbons before the season has even kicked off. I call this out simply because, in my opinion this is not the same type of treatment the other sports teams in town seem to get. Not only that, it appears to be presupposing the conclusion before the season has already started!

Any mention of Alex Anthopoulos being on the firing line should end now.

It is borderline ridiculous to consider dismissing the Blue Jays general manager, now or at the end of the season, no matter who ends up replacing Paul Beeston as president of the club.”

That from Steve Simmons.

Now, they must win. It’s believed jobs depend on it.
“The heat’s definitely on. It’s on all of us,” said Gibbons. “The team was expected two years ago to conquer the world. We finished far from that. People want results but I really don’t focus on that at all; never really have. I don’t think you can approach your job with that hanging over your head. I’ve always lived by, you go out there and do the best you can and you live with the results.”
Gibbons’ approach is the right one. So much of what determines a season’s success or failure lies outside of his and his coaches’ control. General manager Alex Anthopoulos is tasked with ensuring there’s enough depth to cover loss but inevitably those players aren’t as good as the people they replace. If they were they’d have been in the big leagues already.

That from Scott MacArthur from

Those are just two written examples of the love Alex Anthopoulos and John Gibbons are getting right now. The same sentiment can be heard and scene on both sports talk radio and sports tv respectively.

The question is why?

From my cheap seat it appears as if the experts are already writing off the season and coming to the defence of Alex Anthopoulos and John Gibbons long before judgement day. As if the court of public opinion is going to matter if the team’s season is similar to last seasons.

Most talking heads have said it’s playoffs or bust for Alex Anthopoulos and John Gibbons. Curious to see the media already defending these guys before opening day. I can’t see the same happening with our other teams.

Do you think it is because both guys are likeable and good with media?

Are they getting the fans to accept a losing season before it even happens?

Why do you think certain media members are taking such an odd stance given the time of year?

Speaking of odd…

Did you happen to catch Blundell this am?

He had some pretty interesting gems as it pertains to sportswriters. He was talking about the sportswriter who was tweeting his displeasure with Aaron Rodgers access to players at the NCAA basketball tournament.

Some of his lines included things like:

* This is the problem I have with sportswriters, particularly newspaper sportswriters. They are all like this. They are all a bunch of babies. I hate sportswriters b/c they don’t know what they’re talking about. They only write what they do to stay top of mind. Not because they know anything.
* Sportswriters only write about sports because they couldn’t play sports and they don’t write with any authenticity or accuracy. Those that can’t do, write.
* There are lots of examples of this in this city.
* To be fair, George Rusic said he couldn’t paint all newspaper writers with that brush, and then Blundell then said there are only two whiney babies in this town.

Should make for interesting interviews when he has writers on… paging Mr. Brunt… Mr. Stephen Brunt….Damien Cox….Michael Grange….




  • comment-avatar

    Good thing the two guys he meant work for the other station: simmons and arthur, both that have prior history with him.

  • comment-avatar

    It seems over time the Maple Leafs have become the benchmark for the other two franchises. All week we heard the Raptors being compared to the Leafs in terms of their recent play. The Blue Jays possess a lot of young elite talent drafted by AA and when you compare that to the Maple Leafs… Well…

    If you recall Steve Simmons and Bruce Arthur went very hard after Blundell after the Kristians Pelss incident which could be the reason behind those comments.

  • comment-avatar

    Complete disagree with the idea that media are being too soft on AA. He’s made some mistakes, like every GM, but you have a team with 3 elite middle of the order hitters (at very cost effective salaries) and a young, high-upside starting rotation and a good draft history track record. Add to that the team has a tremendous amount of salary flexibility over the next few years. And to boot he’s learned from prior errors…he’s cut down on the strikeouts in our offence by dumping players like Rasmus and Arencibia while looking for high OBP players. I think the media has caught onto the fact that most of the failures of the teams over the prior years revolve around injuries and lack of player performance (e.g. Josh Johnson). He’s positioned this team very nicely and I think it’d be sad to boot him and have to start over with someone completely new.

  • comment-avatar

    The biggest Blue Jays booster (outside of Wilner) is Stephen Brunt. He’s planning the parade route as we speak. In Brunt’s case, it’s not hard to understand where his support comes from – he’s just dying to write the “definitive” book on the next Blue Jays Word Series run. Bless him.

  • comment-avatar

    AA has been getting props because it’s becoming particularly evident this Spring that his team has done a great job drafting and scouting young players. It’s only been two years since they dealt D’arnaud, Syndergaard, Alvaraez, Niccolino etc, and they are already are bringing out a pretty crazy looking new wave of young, controllable, high potential starting pitching prospects. That’s a really short amount of time, and they didn’t have to suck for years to do it.

    It doesn’t mean AA hasn’t made mistakes (or even come that close to the goal of playoffs), but it is evident that he’s doing something (a very important thing, since young controllable pitching is the most valuable asset in the game) really, really well.

    I completely accept the argument that if the Jays win 86 games or something and don’t quite make October, that AA should at the very least be considered for another year based on how well he has this team set up the next few years with Stroman, Sanchez, Norris, Hutchinson, Hoffman, Castro, Osuna etc.

    I don’t see how that’s biased or ‘probably because he’s a nice guy’.

  • comment-avatar

    Also, in terms of comparing all four teams … the Jays do get a good bit of positive press. I get the argument that this is questionable for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 22 years, it’s true. BUT there is a lot to like at the moment, and I don’t doubt that the positive vibes will change if they end up 76 – 86 or something.

    I would say the Raptors have been covered VERY positively in the press the past year. And so they should! This recent slide notwithstanding, they’re a good team, that’s likeable and fun.

    The Leafs are one of the worst, least likeable teams in the NHL and are about to start what might be a long and brutal rebuild. This has been a totally toxic year, with what seems like little reason for hope of a turnaround in the near future. The media is negative on them, and I think so they should be.

  • comment-avatar

    The loss of Stroman is bad, but it does not mean devastation. It may, in fact, only make a difference of about 2 wins, if the other young arms can step up and help.

    AA should not be fired at all..he managed to get rid of the Wells and Rios’ contracts, he re-organized the entire farm system which was moribund, spend a ton on scouting and development, and now some of those fruits are starting to appear. It is not his fault that Rogers won’t give him the extra money for international free agents or at the deadline.

    I say stay the course.

  • comment-avatar
    Dogpounder6 years ago

    Team is more relevant in last few years than in previous 2 decades.

    There are a couple guys and an ownership responsible for that.

  • comment-avatar

    No doubt the Jays get soft treatment. It is so blatently obvious it puts many journalists credibility into question. Prime Time Sports is a Jays propaganda program with Brunt and Mccown and their short list guests feed into that.

    People, it has been 22 years since the Jays have made the playoffs, let alone played a meaningful game in September. This is rarely mentioned. The roster makeup isn’t very different to last year and all we hear the problem with the Leafs is the “core”, what evidence is there to suggest that the Jays “core” is any better? I hope they turn it around this year but I can’t see it with such reliance on kids and old hag pitchers.

    Remember when Brunt called that guy from the Marlins trade “Alomar-like”? Can’t even remember the guy’s name he has become such a distant memory. His rhetoric is starting to sound very similar to two years ago which is going to disappoint many people come September….. or as history suggested early August.

  • comment-avatar

    This blog post makes absolutely no sense, for the reasons already mentioned.

    AA can’t be blamed for ownership being cheap. Alex knew from day 1 he wouldn’t be able to spend with the rest of the AL East, so he took the resources he did have and spent it on scouting department, and, while maybe five years later, it’s paying dividends. The Jays are LOADED with homegrown, young, controllable talent.

    The system hasn’t been this deep since the 80’s.

  • comment-avatar

    So AA is the very best in the league at player selection and development? Great he’s the best Director of Player Development and I would want him in my organization. However what has he won? Nothing! If he does not get into the playoffs he should be fired along with the worst manager in baseball Gibbons! It’s not about players, contracts, home grown talent, set up for the future, great with the media! It’s all about WINNING! Alex can’t win!

  • comment-avatar
    Vinny barbarino6 years ago

    Is it me or does it seem that most respondents here are like sheep?

    Initially, there was a valid critique of the Fan 590 and then the Leafs. But then, everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Then, Kessel. Then, Mccowan. Now, Brunt. One person offers fair criticism and then like a pack
    mentality, everyone starts hating.

    Critiquing is only valid if you offer up some good suggestions. It’s easy to hide behind usernames and passwords.

    Oh, and unless you’re 12 years old, please enlighten us instead of using this site as your personal shitter.

  • comment-avatar

    If you look at the make-up of any World Series teams in recent years, they have a combination of home-grown talent, free agents, and players heading into the prime of their careers on both short term contract and long term contracts. It has been years since the Jays had a roster make-up that they are walking into the 2015 season with. You gotta give these guys a chance before writing them off and saying that this is going to be a difficult year. When the Jays were winning in the early 90s, this was the kind of roster makeup they had. They went in with rookies like Hentgen and Guzman at the time to go along with the Jack Morris and Dave Stewarts of the world. Yeah…they had a WAMCO lineup in 1993 but they also had a relatively unproven 3B at the time in Sprague and their backup catcher to Borders was Randy Knorr. There is a blue-collar coaching staff here, Gibby is a seasoned manager who knows how to put a decent lineup together barring injuries and might be the best in the league in managing a bullpen even if there are inconsistent outings mixed in with some injuries. Janssen thrived under Gibby’s watch as did guys like Loup and Cecil. Yes, fans are impatient and they deserve to be but this 2015 has the potential to be a good year for this team.

  • comment-avatar

    Thanks for the comment Not that Chris. While Rogers may not have gone as far as fans would like them to have in terms of payroll, I don’t think it’s a question of being cheap. AA has benefited from a significant payroll and has been the architect of a high priced team. He has to accept some culpability for the performance of his team. He deserves credit for taking the chance and making the moves he made a few years back in the Marlins trade and Dicky signing. He showed conviction. It didn’t work out, and for that he has to accept responsibility too.

    The issue isn’t that AA is getting a free ride or the media is taking it easy on him. My point was that he’s getting defended before a game has been played. Why aren’t we letting things play out? He doesn’t need a defense yet. That’s all.

  • comment-avatar

    For a couple of guys on the hot seat, the Jays are going with youth- especially in the bullpen. Osuna, Sanchez, Pompey will all play key roles with the team. If those guys are effective, then the Jays will be fine, if not then the decision will be made if Gibbons is the right guy to manage and enhance young talent and if AA has the right eye for young talent.

    As for Dean Blundell, I can’t blame him for pointing the finger indirectly at Simmons and Arthur. Not only did they blast him (and rightly so) for the Kristian Pelss suicide insensitivity, they blasted him again when he was hired by Rogers. Very clear that there is a sensitivity to Blundell as he went on a blocking rampage for anyone who was the least bit negative on his hiring (yours truly included- for a very softball tweet that was actually misinterpreted).

    I don’t have a problem with DB. The show, right now, is a work in progress but it has not been the disaster that Krystal was right off the bat. The problem with shock jock types is that there are many who have a low tolerance for that type of humour, others, like me, see it for entertainment value and not to be taken as gospel if the guy is offensive.

  • comment-avatar

    Thanks for the comment Steve. I agree, the DB show isn’t a disaster, far from it. He has a Blue Jay on this am and it was quite entertaining. It’s the 5 minute bit of laughing and voice overs after the interview that I don’t quite understand the rationale for. It was a good segment, ruined in my mind by not funny bits.

  • comment-avatar

    TSM..Maybe it is because I cannot tell a joke to save my life, but contrived radio for laughs, or forced laughter does not work for me.

    Humour in radio, to me, should be organic and come naturally and off the cuff from thoughtful intelligent discussion. In my opinion a guy like Greg Brady, Matt Cauz and also Sid Sexeiro are funny because they can dash off one liners in the spirit of it being the extenstion of their personality. DB is funny too when it goes off one of his rants, or uses one of his voices (Like the whiny sportswriter)

  • comment-avatar

    Jeff Blair ( yes, of a Rogers station) said quite matter-of-factly in disagreement with a caller a couple of weeks ago – ‘, if the Jays don’t make the playoffs AA and Gibbons are gone.’ And has said it a few times and I agree.

    How could they not be gone? I guess maybe because the narrative since Stroman’s incredibly unlucky injury is that the Jays ( and I’m paraphrasing ) “..have the greatest group of young arms in the history of baseball who will develop into an unbeatable force for the ages and Alex Anthopoulos is the reason we have them and Gibby is the best guy in the world to manage the young arms.”

    Me? Jays will not make the playoffs and Jays will, and should, fire AA and Gibby and the new Prez will hire his own guys.

  • comment-avatar
    dogpounder6 years ago

    Paraphrasing may even be a bit of a stretch.

  • comment-avatar

    I’ve always believed AA’s job was never about winning, it was about controlled spending, creating cheap content and not embarrassing team ownership with a blame game.

    The big thinkers at Rogers HAD to know that their $75M payroll was never going to be competitive against NYY and BRS in the longer term, and his job was to hopefully win 75+ and take the blame if needed, and for that he was paid his many millions.

    I still don’t think they really expected him to win anything until 2012, until then it was lower costs, find controllable players, and not embarrass team ownership with a 60 win season. Their 18K average attendance is an embarrassment in a 50K building, but that with their sweet heart TV and radio deals with themselves means buckets of money win or lose.

    We all hope ownership wants to win as much as the fans do, but for them it’s all about money and cheap content, winning is a bonus, and AA has been a great keeper of the Rogers purse and a great taker of the blame.

    I suspect that unless they lose 90+ games, he’ll be safe again…

  • comment-avatar

    OMG, listening to Greg Zaun tonight made my blood pressure rise, this guy shouldn’t be employed anywhere near a TV or radio.

  • comment-avatar

    AA – taken some heat, but also has earned some of his accolades. May be getting a bit of a free pass due to his image of working a plan and having a strategy in a town used to teams who don’t seem to have one (Leafs, TFC and the pre-Ujiri Raptors). Very smooth, a perfect fit for a corporately-owned team, which adds to his job security.

    Gibby – could teach other Toronto coaches a thing or two about how to handle the media with self-effacement and circular logic. May be under more scrutiny this year than AA based on how he handles 1) the new young talent, especially the pitchers and 2) injuries – you know that they’ll happen.

    Interesting take from @Chef Mike, and good comments in general pro and con. I do hope that we don’t have 100% sycophantic media coverage of the Jays this year. But no gratuitous criticism either, we had our fill this year with the coverage of the Leafs.

  • comment-avatar

    @TSM I concede the first point, you’re right. AA did take chances with the Marlins and Dickey trades, and it hasn’t worked out.

    As to your second point, I don’t necessarily believe he’s being defended before the season begins, most are just saying his job shouldn’t be on the line with whatever the results are this season. AA said, when he got this job, that he would build the farm system back up. In MLB, that takes time. He’s clearly delivered — just look at the young talent they’re about to open the season with. The Jays are on track to be a good team for a lot of years because of his work. Let’s see it out, instead of doing what the Leafs have been doing the last 50 years…blow out the front office, change the plan and try again.

  • comment-avatar

    Here’s another gem from Mr. Shannon yesterday when he was co-host on the 4 PM hour of PTS yesterday (apparently his math skills are as impressive as his baseball/basketball knowledge):

    Rovell: “In his will former North Carolina basketball head coach Dean Smith left $200 for each of his letterman players over the years so that they can have dinner on him. The total cost is $36,000”

    Shannon (confidently): “Wow……….that’s 1,800 players”

  • comment-avatar

    Maybe the Jays should move to the Cactus League.

    “Florida Man @_FloridaMan Mar 25
    Florida Man Films Himself Driving Around Drunk and High at 3am With Endangered Owl.”

  • comment-avatar

    I predict “blue jay babies” is the next entrant into PTS Bingo.

  • comment-avatar
    Drumanchor6 years ago

    I have always been of the believe that AA has been given a bit of a free ride because he is a “nice Canadian boy” (I know he is a grown adult, but he does SOUND like a boy) who is playing with the big Americans. People naturally like him because he’s one of ours. How could you not cheer for him, so to speak?

    Couple that with either a direct or indirect mandate from Rogers to promote their baseball content and you can see how people have the opinion that the Jays are getting off easier than their Toronto brethren.

    Now, time will tell how he is treated once the season is well underway and if they take their usual post-All Star swoon.

  • comment-avatar

    I am inclined to agree that AA may/should get a pass if the Jays falter this year (apart from anything catastrophic). What I don’t understand is why everyone couples AA’s future along with Gibbons…it’s either they both get fired or they both stay and I am not sure why. If the Jays have a similar year this year that they did last season I think it’s plausible you keep AA and can Gibbons.

    The mystifying thing about the coverage of the Jays to me is why Gibbons specifically gets treated with kids’ gloves…it’s clear the media has a soft spot for him and that influences their views. As TSM pointed out, you don’t have to look far to find the laundry list of excuses as to why Jays can’t be good (Rogers won’t spend the money, lack of depth, big bad AL East etc. etc.).

    At some point though, I think Gibbons is what his record indicates he is: a sub .500 manager. I know you could make the same argument for AA but you can’t deny that he has given Gibbons a boatload of talent and credit him for rolling the dice on the Miami trade, Dickey, Melky, Donaldson, Martin et al. Not all of it has worked granted but a large part of the Jays’ failure to be relevant in September the past two years can be attributed to Arrenciebia, Rasmus and Lawrie all flaming out…add to that the Jays had arguably the worst bullpen performance in the majors last year. Doesn’t that lie primarily with the coaching staff? Plus, the Yankees and Orioles had worse injury issues than the Jays and managed a better record than Toronto last year!

    Despite this, the love affair with Gibbons continues and the platitudes of how nice a guy he is and how much John McDonald loved him are all we hear/read about and his record and relative ineffectiveness compared to his peers (who face the same challenges) is conveniently buried.

    Think of all the other relevant franchises in this town (sorry TFC and sadly the Argos) and if a coach/manager performed to Gibbon’s level how eager the media types would be to report on the rumours of his dismissal.

  • comment-avatar
    dogpounder6 years ago

    Baseball “coaching” is nothing like the other sports so the comparison is not valid.

  • comment-avatar

    @Sperk, agreed that Gibbons isn’t tied to AA in terms of how they will be scrutinized. Gibbons would be more likely to go than AA should things not work out.

    Sadly the Argos – actually, even more sadly the Argos – it might be that no one is eager to report on rumours of the dismissal of a sub-par coach/manager because no one is eager to report on the Argos period.

  • comment-avatar

    @Marcus LOL, you’re bang on though. I’m a huge CFL fan (and a huge Argos fan) but the reality is their relevance has slipped way below the Jays and the Raptors. It’s not even close anymore unfortunately. I wonder if you can make the argument that the Rock and TFC are even above them? TFC’s signings were covered with more vigor than anything the Argos did this off season…of course TFC also has the PR might of MLSE behind them to implore media outlets to cover their football team.

    It’s sad to see what has happened to a once mighty franchise. I remember hearing a story on PTS about when Leo Cahill and some other Argos met under the bleachers of CNE Stadium during the first ever Blue Jays game………..

  • comment-avatar
    koko b. ware6 years ago

    The Argos are a non-entity in Toronto only because most Torontonians think they’re more American than Canadian. It’s their inferiority complex. Every other Canadian city embrace their team and the CFL as a whole. Toronto thinks they deserve the NFL. Ain’t happening!

  • comment-avatar

    Toronto could easily support a NFL team if the NFL were a gate driven league. The city is the 4th largest on the continent. However, the tv thing makes it tricky to envision Toronto getting a team.

  • comment-avatar

    Is there a bigger butt kisser of the Toronto Blue Jays than Mike Wilner? Team has not been in the playoffs in 21 years and has not had a sniff of a playoff or meaningful game in September and the way Wilner praises the team, you’d think they were 1/2 game out each season.

    And yet he blames each collapse of the Blue Jays season on the Toronto Maple Leafs. That’s what’s wrong with this city. The Leafs stink because of the Leafs; not because of the Blue Jays. Vice versa!

  • comment-avatar
    Don River6 years ago

    The fact that the NFL has no interest in Toronto (and never will) makes it even harder to envisage.

  • comment-avatar

    Really koko, you’re going with the totally inaccurate and highly insulting “American complex”. What is it with CFL fans and thinking that Saskatchewan, a province of 1m, gets to dictate whats “Canadian” to the GTA, a region of 6m? To say nothing of the separatist movement that is active in two other provinces.

    Toronto is a highly competitive sports and entertainment market that the CFL doesn’t have to deal with in any other city and the Argos get lost in the shuffle, unable to effectively promote themselves. Only a handful of CFL fans don’t recognize it for what it is.

    Oh and embraced is perhaps too strong a word. Montreal drew just 15,000 to a playoff game, Ottawa’s failed twice in recent memory and Braley had to bail out BC before Toronto.

  • comment-avatar
    koko b. ware6 years ago

    Uh mike v… Keep waiting for the NFL.
    Toronto likes to think of itself as world class.

    Unfortunately I live there and have traveled. Sports or otherwise, is not world class!

  • comment-avatar

    The Argos are probably the 5th most relevant team in Toronto behind the Leafs, Jays, Raptors, and TFC….someone above brought up the Toronto Rock. They’re not even on the radar. Even the irrelevant Argos has some semblance of a fan base and media attention….the Rock plays Lacrosse in a league not on TV and generally streams games on which I imagine gets horrible viewership.

  • comment-avatar

    Why did Sportsnet set up a 60 Minutes style set for Hazel Mae to read multiple choice questions to Rob Manfred off an index card?

  • comment-avatar

    Do media types take is easy on Anthopoulos? Slightly, but it’s not nearly as egregious as the “Gibby” love.

    Case in point …

    I am sure that if somebody mic’d Stephen Brunt at night, we’d hear him screaming out “Gibby” over and over in his sleep. On PTS, Brunt can’t go 20 seconds of Jays’ talk without dropping a “Gibby” reference. It is just so bush league for a journalist who at one time was eons ahead of anyone else in this country in his craft.

  • comment-avatar
    Don River6 years ago

    “The Argos are probably the 5th most relevant team in Toronto behind the Leafs, Jays, Raptors, and TFC”

    Not according to TV ratings.

  • comment-avatar

    Don, are you thinking about local ratings? or national ratings?

  • comment-avatar

    Whatever koko, I didn’t mention the NFL once. Your type is more obsessed about them coming than anyone.

    So what “world-class” cities have you lived in then?

  • comment-avatar
    koko b. ware6 years ago

    Oh OK…
    Gonna go with it’s not what I said…. It is called inferred meaning. Hide behind saying nothing ready and then attacking. Most people who hate on the CFL have yet to watch a full game or been to one live. And if you have, the Rogers center is not ideal for it. What’s even funnier is how basically most people are sheep and follow what’s popular rather than look at affordability and/or entertainment value.

    “Oh look, everyone is watching the raptors, well then it must be the in-thing… I will too”

    Sounds familiar huh, mike v?

  • comment-avatar

    Again, didn’t say anything about or infer to the NFL. That big bad bogeyman exists entirely in your head and says more about you than anyone in Toronto. You like a different league, go ahead. No ones stopping you.

    So if the person who goes to a raptors game is a sheep who is only going because it’s popular does the person who goes to a roughriders game because the #1 sports channel promotes it nonstop not the same thing?

  • comment-avatar
    Don River6 years ago

    “Don, are you thinking about local ratings? or national ratings?”

    Does it matter? And if so, would that standard apply the same to every team? The Jays, and now the Raptors, are essentially being marketed as national teams. The Argos, Leafs, and TFC are not, even though the Leafs basically are something close to a national team.

    Then there’s the issue of actually finding reliable local sports ratings on a consistent basis. Good luck with that.