Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why don't your write about the Toronto Blue Jays


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Since I started posting sports article on NowPublic almost two years ago I've had a couple of loyal NowPublic reader ask me why I don't write more about sports teams from the Toronto area, more specifically the Toronto Blue Jays. My response was usually a deflection of the questions. A question I really didn't want to answer.
But after watching today's game between the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium I decided that I was finally going to speak up. No more keeping my trap shut.
The reason I don't write about the Toronto Blue Jays, despite being a regular attendee at the Rogers Center during the summer months is that I really don't have anything good to say and producing a regular column full of sour grapes would be sure to give both me and my readers a vicious case of heartburn. 
With that being said allow be to lay down some sour grapes.
Now I love Cito Gaston as much as the next guy. He helped bring two world championships to Toronto, robbing the United States of their most important crown two years running. He also played a major part in guaranteeing my support for the club even through its darkest days. Although attendance at the Roger Center is poultry to say the very least, a large percentage of any Jays crowd is made up of my peers, young-men and women who watched droopy eyed as the Jays claim the 92' World Series and the again very attentively as the Jays claimed their second titles in 93'. However nostalgia is no reason to saddle a franchise desperately in need of re-building with a coach that knows little if any thing about the re-building process. Gaston first took over for Jays bench boss Jimy Williams back in 89' three year before the Jays bought their first World Series adding pitcher Jack Morris and outfielders Rickey "I just got inducted into Cooperstown" Henderson, Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield to an already stacked line-up (Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar and John Olerud). The team that won the 92' World Series was bought for the city of Toronto in Stienbrenner like fashion, not built from the ground up like the Rays or Marlins franchises. 
I understand nostalgia sell tickets...and throw-back jerseys too.
The reason today's Rangers, Royals game had me wanting to make wine was Royals Bench Coach and former Toronto Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons. A no nonsense product of Great Falls, Montana, Gibbons is as close to being Gastons polar opposite as could be possible. Cito is calm, quite and often times appears to be taking a snooze in the dug-out. Gibbons on the other hand is boisterous, in your face and not afraid to put a big-headed player in his place with a right, left combo straight out of Raging Bull (something I would not be afraid to have happen to this years editions of Alex Rios and Vernon Wells)
Gibbons finished his tenure with the Jays winning as many games as he lost, 305 over almost four complete season during a time when the Jays still thought they might buy their way into the post-season (See B.J. Ryan, Frank Thomas and David Eckstien) Now, thanks to division mates Tampa Bay, Toronto has relized that the key to re-building a franchise is keeping it in the family.
Gibbons isn't the only former Jays coach that the franchise could hire for reasons of nostalgia. Carlos Tosca the current Bench Boss of the Florida Marlins must have learned something about re-building from his brief tenure with the fish? And lets not forget the Head Coach of the Atlantic Leagues Bridgeport Bluefish Willie Upshaw, ten years coaching at the Atlantic League level would probably give a guy some real insight into working with young player, the kind of young player you need to depend on if you hope to re-build your franchise.
Or perhaps you're one of those who believe that Carlos Tosca 04' and John Gibbons 08' don't cut the nostalgic mustard.
Well if that's the case then the Jays could always opt for Atlanta Braves Head Coach Bobby Cox, who despite having a coaching career that predates my own birth isn't afraid to get up out of his dug-out to give an umpires a little hell. Cox managed the Jay between 82' and 85' before moving on to his current role as Braves Head Coach. No stranger to being tossed the fiery 68 year-old Cox is the Major League Ejections Leader (having been tossed out of more Major League games then any other player/coach)
If aged meat is not a problem for the Jays front office when selecting a Head Coach (which it is not, see Cito Gaston) allow me to put forth the nomination of Jimy Williams. Williams managed the Jays over twenty years ago from 86' until 89' but still has plenty of gas left in the tank as evidence by his World Series win as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Phillies this past season.  
Now I'm out of breath and out off gas, witness why I choose not to right about the Toronto Blue Jays.
Zoltan Black

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