12:05 AM Eastern

Yes, it has taken me this long to calm down enough to write a blog post about this afternoon’s game.  Actually, that’s not true, I had to pick the kids up from school, eat dinner, trade for Rafael Furcal, go to a meeting, those sorts of things – but those are all beside the point.

A couple of days ago, some of you true believers were asking if I would be reluctant to be critical of Cito Gaston, even if I felt it was warranted, given my apology for going a little too far on the speculation front a few days back.

Ahem.

One would think that I and other Blue Jays observers would have gotten used to Gaston’s managerial style by now.  There ought to be things that one knows are coming, and therefore when those things do happen, one could imagine that they wouldn’t be accompanied with heavy sighs, V-8 level smacks to the forehead and/or the tearing out of one’s own hair.  One would be incorrect in that assessment.

You’ll often hear references to “the book.”  There’s not really a book, but it’s the thing by which you’re supposed to run the show.  Things to do, and things to not do, in order to give your team its best possible chance to win a game.  Cito usually ignores the book.  This afternoon, he gave it to Big Jim and Billy Sol and made sure it blowed up real good.

The Blue Jays entered the 8th inning down by a run, with the spectre of Joakim Soria on the horizon.  Soria has been one of the game’s best closers over the past couple of years and this season has been no different.  The 8th inning was going to be the Jays’ best chance to tie the game.

Due up?  Jose Molina and John McDonald.  The book says that since these are the two worst hitters on the Blue Jays’ roster (pitchers excluded), neither of them should be allowed to come to bat in this situation.  It was a light bench, I’ll give you that, with Edwin Encarnacion unavailable, so the only replacements were Mike McCoy, Randy Ruiz and John Buck.

In McCoy you have a guy whose specialities are getting on base and running, in Ruiz a guy who hits home runs and in Buck a guy who is a catcher.  The book says that you lead off the inning with McCoy, and then your options open up depending on what happens.  Cito sent Molina out to hit.

Stunningly, Molina smacked a hard ground single between short and third.  Then (given the new space/time continuum) – the right move from the Jays’ skipper:  McCoy comes in to pinch-run.

Now that there’s a runner on first, there are two options.  The preferable one is to send Ruiz up to the plate and let him do his thing while having McCoy try to steal second against the weak-armed Jason Kendall.  The other option, still acceptable in many circles outside this one, is to let McDonald go to bat and sacrifice the runner to second.

Cito chose option 2, as expected, even though this meant that he would wind up keeping McDonald in the game beyond that 8th inning, when he could have simply sent McCoy, the better hitter and not significantly weaker defender, out to play second base for the remainder of what became a tie game.

McDonald got the job done, as is to be expected of him, and McCoy found himself bunted to second with two out.  With Fred Lewis due up, the Royals brought lefty John Parrish in from the bullpen, giving Cito the massive upper hand.

Once a reliever enters a game, he must face one batter before being pulled.  This meant that Gaston had three options:  1 – Send Randy Ruiz up to try to put the Jays ahead with one swing.  2 – Send John Buck to the plate to try to put the Jays ahead with one swing, since he was going to have to come in the game to catch anyway.  58 – Do nothing.

Cito chose the latter, sending Fred Lewis and his career .242/.329/.328 line against lefties (.492 OPS in ’09!) to the plate.  Short bench, you say.  But that doesn’t address letting Lewis hit over Buck.  What if he was going to need Ruiz later?  Well, as we saw, that question was moot, but even if he was saving Ruiz for something, what could it possibly have been?  It’s not as though you’d pinch-hit for any of the next five hitters in the line-up.  Maybe Overbay against a lefty, but Overbay wasn’t going to come up against anybody but Soria if the Jays hadn’t at least tied the game.

But just like the move to let Molina hit, the move to let Lewis hit worked!  Lewis hit a rocket on which Royals’ second baseman Alberto Callaspo barely got a glove, and the ball squirted into right field as McCoy crossed the plate with the tying run.  Lewis even went on to steal second, but neither Alex Gonzalez nor Adam Lind could drive him in to give the Jays the lead.

Things went swimmingly from that point on, until Scott Downs made a mistake in the 10th that Alex Gordon took out of the yard to centre.  With a one run lead going to the bottom of the 10th, the Royals went to Soria and the Jays had the bottom of the line-up coming up.

Travis Snider struck out looking and Buck, in defensively in the 9th because Molina had been pinch-run for, flied out to right with Johnny Mac on deck.  It was stunning enough that McDonald was actually on deck, and that Ruiz hadn’t started swinging a bat in anticipation of a big opportunity.

Standing at field level, I watched McDonald and he spent a few extra seconds in the on-deck circle after Buck returned to the dugout anticipating, I’m sure, Ruiz’s shadow to engulf him as the big pinch-hitter emerged from the dugout.  Nothing.  McDonald took a step towards the plate, then turned around to look back into the dugout, expecting to be called back.  Nope.  He then went to the plate and meekly grounded to short fighting off an 0-2 pitch to end the game.

If you look hard enough, you can see the reason that Gaston does a lot of the things that he does, but that single move defied all logic.  Unless Ruiz was otherwise engaged, biologically or some such, there’s no earthly reason not to use him there.  I said it on The JaysTalk, and I firmly believe it to be true:  Not one other manager in the majors sends John McDonald up to bat in that situation when he has Randy Ruiz on the bench.  Not one.

Of course there’s no guarantee that Ruiz does something positive, but there’s a FAR greater chance that he does.  A home run to tie the game, a hit or a walk just to keep things going.  Sure, if he gets on you can’t pinch-run for him, and he’s not especially fast, BUT YOU HAVEN’T LOST THE GAME YET!

Yes, you have to worry about your defense, and had the game gone to an 11th inning, it would have been awfully ugly – BUT YOU’D BE PLAYING IN THE 11TH INNING WITHOUT HAVING LOST THE GAME YET!

Sorry, I get frustrated.  That honestly might have been the single worst managerial move I have ever seen, and that’s coming from someone who really likes John McDonald.  Everything that could possibly point to anything in the history of everything was pointing towards using Ruiz there.  Nothing – not a thing, find me a thing, I defy you! – suggesting that sending McDonald up to hit was the best course of action.  You can’t even point out something ridiculous like McDonald was 1-for-2 in his career against Soria, as this was the first time they’d ever faced each other.

I don’t mean this to be a scathing rebuke of McDonald as a hitter.  He’s not here for his bat, and he knows it.  We all know it.  McDonald is a beautiful player to watch, and there are lots of things he can do to help a major-league team win.  Not a single one of them involves being at the plate with the bases empty when your team is down by a run and down to its last out.

That move alone should be grounds for being called on the carpet by the bosses and being forced to explain your thinking and promise never to do such a thing again, assuming you even get to keep your job.  That’s the level of ridiculosity we saw at the ol’ ballyard today.

The JaysTalk was even a chore, because there remain those who believe that Gaston walks on water and can do no wrong, and that allowing McDonald to hit in the 10th was a show of faith in his player.  I think it was the first time in the history of the program that I have hung up on a caller because my own incredulity overwhelmed me.  Here’s the show, for your listening pleasure:

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After the game, the Jays placed Encarnacion (arm) and Brian Tallet (forearm) on the disabled list and recalled Brett Cecil from Las Vegas.  Cecil will start Friday night’s opener against the Rays.   Aaron Hill will be activated before that game to take Encarnacion’s spot on the roster.

By the way, the Jays managed all of four hits in this game.  It was the 6th time in the last eight games that they have had three hits or fewer over the first six innings.  That remains ugly with a capital “UG”.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

127 Responses to “Tough To Swallow”
  1. 1.

    Mike, my favorite Jays talk of all-time.

    MW: Aww, thanks!

    - Renegade
  2. 2.

    If Cito is gone after this season anyway, why not get rid of him now Mike? By actually trying to win the game by bringing in Ruiz, and if it does work, won’t that put more butts in the seats knowing that the Jays are exciting to watch? In my opinion Cito does not deserve to manage this season. He should be trying to groom our younger players and put an exciting team on the field, not play favorites with aging, declining veterens. Great work Mike, love Jays talk when we get to listen to it out west here (about once a month at best).

    MW: Call your radio station and tell them you want more JaysTalk! The only one who can get rid of Cito now is Cito.

    - Trap
  3. 3.

    Hey Mike,
    I’ve been listening for years and this was by far the best Jays Talk ever.

    MW: That’s two!

    - Diego
  4. 4.

    A little bit of s stretch here, but could Cito be sending a bit of a political message stemming from Ruiz’s positive PED test a few years ago? If I had to play devil’s advocate, perhaps Cito (and I know nothing of the sort) has a strong opinion against the use of PEDs, views Ruiz in a negative light and treats him accordingly without making it clear he’s pretty much sabotaging what’s left of his productive career. I really don’t know what else to say having seen Kevin Millar getting as many PAs as he did last year, even playing third base, while Ruiz might as well bring a book to read.

    MW: I doubt it very much. If that were true, I think Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston would have seen through it by now and straightened Cito out.

    - Ronald
  5. 5.

    Mike,

    You already addressed the reason I am writing. Unbelievable. I have been so frustrated with Ruiz playing so little, and this is just the topper.

    It’s a sick feeling…but listening to the archive of the Phillies-Braves game and all the talk about Roy lifts the spirits. Here’s one quote from the Atlanta broadcasters in the top of the 8th with Phillie batting and leading 2-0: “There is no one warming up in the Phillie bullpen…sorry to report.”

    Another complete game masterpiece, and by the end of the game, these Atlanta broadcasters who have been seeing Lincecum for the past two years and have only seen Roy for the start of this season are calling Roy the best pitcher in baseball.

    It’s fun and it takes some of the sting away from what happened tonight.

    You’re the best!

    MW: It’s nice that all these NL cities are waking up to how good Halladay is.

    - Steve in HH
  6. 6.

    Mike,

    I was sitting out on the third base line today and was borderline ready to walk out of the stadium in the tenth. I am with you that there is simply no justification for not trying to extend the game no matter what the circumstances are. The worst part is there were options to avoid this starting in the eighth and that is what is wrong with Gaston’s managerial style (if one exists).

    Correct me if I am wrong, but couldn’t Cito (or a normal manager) have pulled a double switch following the eighth inning. Mccoy replaces Macdonald at Second and have Buck come in to replace Mcdonald in the lineup. That way you don’t run in to the problem of being stuck with McDonald in the tenth while you keep Ruiz on the bench as possible pinch hit.

    MW: That wouldn’t have been a true double switch, but yes. Cito definitely painted himself into a 10th-inning corner by mucking things up in the 8th.

    - Chris
  7. 7.

    Can you find out when Adeiny Hechavarria, will be out of extended spring training and playing at A ball.

    Also what are your thoughts on Shawn Bowman, does could he be the 3b next year if he has a good year. or do you see him as depth in the minors?

    MW: I don’t think anyone knows what Hechevarria’s timetable is right now. As far as Bowman, his minor-league numbers are awfully underwhelming, though he did take a big step forward in A-ball in 2008 and at AA last year. I don’t think the Jays see him as a potential starter in the big leagues next year, but they’ll be keeping a close eye on his production in Vegas.

    - mark
  8. 8.

    Who plays second base if they go on to play another inning?

    MW: The short answer is – who cares? You’re still playing. But if they had tied the game and gone into the 11th, you would have to get creative. Maybe you put Randy Ruiz at third, moving Bautista to second and say a quick prayer. Maybe you pull a page out of Jimy Williams book and let Ruiz play third when a left-handed hitter is up, and second when a right-hander is at the plate, with Bautista moving back and forth with him. Williams did that with Cecil Fielder and Kelly Gruber a couple of times back in 1988.

    - ray
  9. 9.

    Mike,

    In light of Alex Anthopolous’s perceived high baseball IQ, how do you explain his acceptance of Cito’s perceived low baseball IQ, particularly in late game manangement? Cito’s mistakes make AA and the organization look bad. They also drive casual fans away (and those few diehards that remain, crazy). I get that our team is not great this year, but can we at least try to win?

    MW: I think it was a condition of Anthopoulos being offered the job that Cito remain the manager.

    - Rob
  10. 10.

    Once again im with you. I was clued out when I was watching the 10th. My wife was talking to me, so I didnt even realize the bs move by Gaston in sending up Johnny Mac instead of Ruiz. Im a big supporter of Ruiz just based on last years stats. And when I was on vacay, he hit his 1st dinger of the year and has what, like 8 or 11 at bats? Why doesnt he have more ab’s? The lineup is littered with .100 avg’s. I dont get it. Cito should be gone, im so sick of his bonehead moves. It seems like it happens twice a week. Like in tues nights game. He didnt even have Downs pitch the 8th. I thought the dude was the set up man. I mean it all worked out, but still dont these guys have roles? Mind you coming off vacation, I dont know if downs pitched the previous two, but if he didnt, he should have been out there.

    - Dave
  11. 11.

    Wilner,I have always had a practical attitude to the Halladay trade, I love the prospects the jays got, but tonight I watched the Phillies game on Extra Innings and almost cried.

    What stat line do you think he’ll have in the NL this year? I think he’ll win 21+ games, with a ~2.20 ERA and a ~1.00 WHIP. And a cy, obviously. Your predictions?

    MW: I said before the season started that I thought Halladay could go 27-1 in the National League, and my mind hasn’t changed.

    - Nalo Hopkinson
  12. 12.

    Mike,

    I am in England now, and was “watching” the game on MLB.com gameda- only the last inning, and I logged on and I swear I thought there was something wrong with the gameday software when I saw 2 outs in the the 10th and Johnny Mac at the plate. I scoured the game log expecting to find the Jays had exhausted their entire bench, and almost fell off the couch when I realized they had not. Before yelling nd screaming, I searched every website known to man to see if the Jays had placed anyone on the DL (Ruiz) before the game to explain this farce. Again, no luck. I mean seriously, what is Cito doing? This move is not even a gut-feeling-let’s leave Pedro Martinez in for another inning against the Yankees move, it absoltely makes no sense! It’s laughable. What does GM Alex say to Cito after the game? Is there any wonder why the players question his skill? Is it a huge surprise that after all the success with the Jays in the late 80′s and early 90′s that NO TEAM wanted him? I like Cito- nice guy, cordial, gracious, but come on! I mean, I am dumbfounded. In your experience being close to the team, does anyone above Cito question him, or is that against the baseball “code”? You know what else is against the baseball code? Doing absolutely ridiculous things that make you a laughing stock of the league. Today was truly, truly a joke, and an embarrassment. Will anyone in the media have the balls to ask Cito WTF was he thinking?

    MW: I have yet to see a story with a comment from Gaston regarding his choice to let McDonald hit in the 10th.

    - Chris
  13. 13.

    hey mike
    why is it that the analysts actually thought that Baltimore was going to be better than the jays? Baltimore is terrible…this is not a surprise at all. And one last question, why is Roy Halliday’s success in the NL even front page news on Foxsports? Do the Jays really lack that much exposure, this to me is sad. Roy has 10 years of experience with a CY young and multiple all star game appearances, and even starting an all star game. This should be no surprise to analysts, pundits and bloggers.

    MW: I don’t think it’s a surprise, I think it’s more a case of “we knew he was good, we just didn’t know he was THIS good” and that happens all the time. People thought Baltimore was going to be better than the Jays because some people think Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins can still hit, because the O’s have some very good young pitching, and because they assumed the Jays would be a 100-loss team this season.

    - lukespeak
  14. 14.

    All these years who could have known that Roy Halladay was a better hitter than Lyle Overbay?*

    *Denotes sarcasm

    MW: Halladay is also outhitting Aaron Hill, Travis Snider, John Buck, Randy Ruiz and Jose Molina so far this season.

    - SpiderSIlva
  15. 15.

    Hi Mike,

    yes, it is a baffling move. One can make the argument that it is Cito showing faith in his players, but as you said, everyone knew it was a bad move, including McDonald. What does such a thing do to the psyche of a team – they are trying their hardest to win, but the manager is not putting them in the best position to do so? You know the mentality of the athletes far better than me, does McDonald actually get an increase in confidence because his manager stuck with him? Or does he think, “I have played a good game with the glove, as I am supposed to, give us a better shot with the big stick on the bench”? Would he resent Cito for it, or are all the egos too big for that? It seems a certainty that Ruiz and the pitcher of record resent Cito for it. Can’t be doing much for their confidence, as really, pinch-hitting is precisely Ruiz’s role since he will not be starting at any point on a regular basis.
    On a more positive note – I am quite impressed with the pitching this year!
    Thanks Mike!

    MW: And it has been very impressive. I really don’t know what McDonald thinks. I would guess that he appreciates Cito’s faith in him, but I would doubt he’d appreciate the fallout, which is so many people questioning how one would let McDonald hit in that situation. That certainly doesn’t cast Johnnie Mac in the best light, ability-wise.

    - Rory
  16. 16.

    Hey Mike

    Wow, sounds like your really frustrated. Thats kind of how i felt watching JP work his magic as GM the last 8 years. Granted, JP was better at his job than Cito is, but it was obvious a while back that JP didn’t have the ability to get this team into contention. Cito is the worst manager is baseball, the moves he makes have not a shred of logic. The organization knows this, which is why they already announced he is done at the end of the 2010 season. Hell, it wasn’t a good baseball decision when they hired him, it was an obvious attempt at improving PR.

    Its tough to watch i must say. And its easy to determine why attendance has dipped so drastically. Fans like to cheer for a winner, and at the very least a team that has a chance to win. Management has not put a contender on the field in nearly two decades, and that will have a devastating effect on nearly any franchise. Rising ticket prices, $20 parking, $10/beer, but a massive slashing of payroll. Lets hope AA gets things turned around, because another decade of this could be could be catastrophic for this club.

    - rick
  17. 17.

    yesterday should have made it crystal clear to anyone who wondered why cito wasnt a major league manager for so long. thats all i can say without going on a rant

    MW: You can go on a rant if you want.

    - kevin
  18. 18.

    Cito’s defiant and grudgeful in general and towards certain players and that clouds his judgement. I said this on your blog last year before the ‘player discontent’ was voiced, so I see no reason to doubt your current insight into Cito’s character and managing skills. Also, regarding Downs and Frasor, both seem to think they can rely almost exclusively on fastballs for strikes. If that’s the case they shouldn’t be in the game or whoever’s coaching in the bullpen shouldn’t allow them in the game. When Downs was pitching well–two seasons ago–he was throwing 50% offspeed stuff, and Frasor suddenly became effective with his change up as a reliable second pitch. Either way, they’re both going to get hit around leaning too heavily on the fastball.

    - Will, Oshawa
  19. 19.

    I usually consider you a know-nothing baseball commentator,but you finally got one right.If the players go all out,as they have this year,and the manager doesn’t give it his all,I don’t know how the players don’t quit on him after a while,and in doing so quit on the fans and themselves.How long can AA let this slide if it continues?

    MW: It says something that you don’t think I know anything unless I say something with which you agree.

    - glen philippe
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike,

    Here’s a BIG problem for AA. I’m sure that he WANTED to get rid of Cito in the offseason… but can you imagine a new GM taking over a team that isn’t expected to win more than 75 games in most “professionals” eyes going into a season, and this GM FIRES the most successful manager the team had ever had? If the team then wins 70ish games, the outcry from the public would be to get rid of AA as he OBVIOUSLY has no idea what he’s doing. The problem is that a lot of casual baseball fans don’t quite get what you’re saying. They remember Cito from winning the championships in the early 90′s and because of that, he’ll never be able to do wrong. I had the game on Gameday at the office and thought the EXACT same thing as you did when McDonald stepped up… ridiculous!!!

    - Luke (Halifax)
  21. 21.

    I agree 100% that playing the 11th with mismatched defence is preferable to not playing at all (obvious to some, rocket science to others), so my question is purely out of curiosity, not to defend Cito.

    Assuming Ruiz had hit for McDonald and the Jays had tied up the game, would Encarnacion have been used? If not, who do you think would have played 2B (or 3B if Bautista had shifted over)?

    MW: See above. I don’t think they would have used Encarnacion, though.

    - Dan
  22. 22.

    One more thing.The moves you would have made starting in the 8th inning would have left us in as bad a shape as Cito’s lack of a move later on.Everything else other than the lack of pinch-hitting for Mac at the end,Cito did right.

    MW: Except that had Mike McCoy stayed in the game after the 8th, as he should have, McDonald wouldn’t have been in a position to hit in the 10th.

    - glen philippe
  23. 23.

    I agree with your assessment on what the situation in the 10th required. Cito should have released the Kracken. He’s averaged 1 homerun in every 15 AB’s so he gives the Jays a much better shot at prolonging the game.

    Nice SCTV reference btw.

    MW: You’re the first who has noticed.

    - Rez
  24. 24.

    I’m not wondering just what Cito was thinking in the 10th and 8th but what must have been going through the minds of the other coaches. Was Butterfield or Murphy there …..ummmm Cito maybe you want to you know… use this guy over here. He does not have two broken legs. Just checking.
    Hard to see why frustration developed in the clubhouse last year.

    - JGA
  25. 25.

    It is becomign increasingly hard for the Jays to compete while other managers ‘cheat’ and pinch-hit. The Jays name their nine guys to start the game, and come heck or high water, its those guys who will play all 9 innings. Or Ten. But certainly not Eleven. I think Cito is to be applauded for staying true to the origins of the game, when players finished what they started. It’s old time baseball at its finest. You just wait- the next time Johnny Mac has to face Soria down one in extas, he’s going to come through. Having said that, if he gets that AB in another situation, I may smash everything around me out of sheer frustration. Thanks Mike for saying what everyone with a pulse was thinking.

    MW: No problem.

    - Slowly forgetting '92
  26. 26.

    I agree with you 100%, Mike. I’m no Cito hater, but I do believe he is the wrong man to lead this current squad of Jays. Isn’t this season about develoment? Does anyone think we have to “develop” Johnny Mac as a hitter?!?
    BTW, I appreciated the SCTV reference as well.

    - Jeff Phillips
  27. 27.

    Speachless is as good a word as any to describe how I feel after the ineptness of Cito yeaserday. What’s the benchcoach for anyway. You’re right. He should be called up on the carpet and asked to explain his rational behind his moves or lack there of.
    Thanks for your time

    - Dave Earhart
  28. 28.

    “That honestly might have been the single worst managerial move I have ever seen”

    Really? Given that Lou Piniella just announced he was moving Carlos Zambrano to the freaking bullpen, I’m not sure it was even the worst managerial move of the day.

    Maybe no other manager in baseball leaves Johnny Mac in to bat in that situation – but there’s not a manger in baseball that is going to make everyone happy all the time – they all do stupid things (Tony LaRussa had his pitcher bat TWICE in a tie game with the bases loaded just last week).
    Cito’s no different.

    MW: You’re not really referring to the 20-inning game, are you? When LaRussa had to wind up using a pitcher in the outfield and two position players to pitch because he had run out of bullets? I ache for the day when Cito actually uses his bench enough to get to that point. Piniella is trying to improve a poor bullpen by moving a struggling starter back there for a while to get his head above water. Unusual, definitely. Ridiculous? Not so much.

    - Scott Shepherd
  29. 29.

    Mike,
    When a player is placed on waivers and more than one team wants to claim him, how is it determined who get him?
    Thanks.

    MW: First dibs go to the worst team in the league of the team that waives the player. Once all the teams in that league have had a chance to claim the player, it’s opened to the other league, again with the worst team having the first chance.

    - dave
  30. 30.

    Mike,
    Totally agree with you. My question is, why haven’t members of the media taken Cito to task over this decision? I’ve not been able to find one piece of journalism that indicates a member of the media actually asked Cito about this. Do we not have post-game media conferences anymore?
    Thanks and keep up the great work.
    JB

    MW: Cito talks to all the electronic media and then the print media immediately after each game.

    - JB
  31. 31.

    Oh Mike, todays Jays Talk was painful, I really admire how you take a lot of these calls(abuse?) in stride.
    anyhow, props on the patience with some of the callers.(especially the ones who criticize the previous callers and then end up making a ridiculous call themselves)

    Keep up the good work brother.

    MW: Thanks!

    - Randy
  32. 32.

    Randy Ruiz must be in the doghouse for some reason. But for what? That’s the only reason I and a coworker can come up with at this point to explain his benching.

    MW: There’s no reason he’d be in the doghouse.

    - Joe
  33. 33.

    I couldn’t agree more. I wish someone would confront Cito and directly question his move(s). But I guess that will probably never happen.

    MW: I didn’t get to see him after the game.

    - Steve from NJ
  34. 34.

    Good morning Mike,
    Listened to the other Mike’s
    call-in segment re Cito/Jays
    this morning; phone calls certainly reflected your views
    on the mismanagement of this
    team. Also, just finished
    reading your Blog.
    I too, am totally frustrated
    and fed up with Cito. The first roadtrip of the Season
    certainly showed the Jays are
    capable of playing exciting
    baseball. What has happened
    to change this so drastically?
    Perhaps it’s the “old ways/thinking of Cito and his
    coaching staff. Maybe we can
    anaticipate this years “clubhouse revolt” preceded perhaps by a “fans
    revolt”.
    Something must be done by
    Paul/Alex to salvage the rest
    of the season.
    Thx.
    Gord F.
    p.s. a stretch but is “Buck”
    waiting in the wings?

    MW: I don’t think Buck Martinez is waiting in the wings. In fact, he’s in the broadcast booth!

    - Gord Ferguson
  35. 35.

    I love it… two days ago you were criticizing yourself for being so critical of Cito and then two days later here you are…

    Am I surprised that Cito left Johnny Mac to hit in the bottom of the 10th? Absolutely not. You gotta remember though that Cito is a player’s coach and he will keep his players in the game unless there is something overwhelmingly jumping in on the stats board to do differently. Ruiz has pop, that is for sure, and he could have tied the game with the swing of a bat, but Cito probably said, “eh, the percentages are too low”.

    I know I’ve been banging on the ticket prices and the in-game experience. But I’ve put some more thought into why the fans aren’ coming to the game. I mean, the difference between $13 and $9 is a pretzel, a coke, or a bag of peanuts, and you can get all of those outside of the stadium for less than 1/2 the price and bring them in.

    At the start of the year last year, the Jays came through with a managerial change that replaced Gibbons with Cito, and that resulted in a great end of 2008 season and a fantastic start to 2009. The team was hitting and pitching right up to the Yankees series at the end of May. The Halladay – Burnett game was something to behold and it gave us a reminder that if the game was intriguing and exciting enough, the dome would rock!

    Then after winning 4 in a row at home against the ChiSox and pulling in 24,196 for a Monday night game came the game 0-9 road swing culminating in that very ugly extra innings romp in Baltimore and the Jays just never recovered. Instead, they got rid of their best player at the time (Rolen), shed Rios (which was a good thing), and kept Wells batting cleanup in the roster despite him hitting sub .200 at home. Towards the end of the season as September came and interest waned the attendance dropped tremendously. The September 9th game against Minnesota drew only 11,158 fans.

    During the off season, Beeston and AA declared it a building year, traded away Halladay for some prospects, and kept Cito at the helm.

    So Beeston is right. Even though attendance is down this year, the only thing that will really bring them back is winning. And once the winning starts again, perhaps the promotions will come back too.

    - Tim
  36. 36.

    So what’s the over/under on Doc’s win count, pitching for the Phillies this year? 22? I think I’d take the over. It was astounding to me to hear that he’s already got more wins than walks this year.

    I haven’t had a chance to watch him yet, but how much is the weaker NL hitting boosting his already-dominant stats? His control has always been remarkable, but it’s not like he’s incapable of throwing a ball out of the zone. Do you know if guys are flailing at splitters out of the zone more often within those more anemic NL batting orders, or is he just pounding the strike zone more than ever?

    I look forward to seeing his final numbers this year, but it will be a bit humourous to see some of those who have barely had a chance to watch the rest of his career suddenly marvel at how dominant.

    MW: I haven’t actually gotten a chance to see him pitch yet this season.

    - mike from ottawa
  37. 37.

    Mike,

    I also share in the frustration about Cito! ARH! There are no expectations on this team anyway so there is no need for the manager to do anything. Even one of us could be doing Cito’s job for this season and still manage at least 50 wins. So many people love Cito and sure so do I.. he’s the last manager (coach) to bring a title to this city but its now time to move on. And hopefully it’s before Oct 2/10 (the end of the season) but don’t count on it.

    - Jason
  38. 38.

    Cito, his mangerial ability and in-game moves have gone beyond just annoying for me – it is just down right dumb and beyond ridiculous.

    I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt (if that is what you call this),when it comes to dumb moves. I firmly believe he has a serious dysfunctional issue – that being, carrying around far too much animosity and a huge chip on his shoulder! This likley extends all the way back to when the Jays let him go the first time around.

    He will never ever go by the book when the obvious is staring him right in the face and he knows this conmpletely ticks us off . What a crap thing to do to Johnny Mac – and the rest of the team, even he (JM) turned to see if he was really going to the plate in that situation.

    I realize a manager can’t physically win a ball game – his job however is to give his team the best opportunity to do so. Gaston, is not doing that at all or rather, he won’t. Don’t think for a second he does not know what he is doing by going against the obvious – he wants us all to know who’s the boss despite looking like a complete fool doing it.

    I count 4 games already in this young season where he has not given his team the best chance to win.

    The so called “mutiny” at the end of last season is about to become a reality this season and soon. You can’t tell me the players and AA are ok with these idiotic moves or non-moves, they know the game better than we all do.

    If AA wants to make his mark on this team – now is the time to do it. I would hope he is speaking with Beeston as to replacing Cito – it must be done! You know Cito was not likley AA’s choice!

    I realize this group is not likely going to win more than 80 – 85 games as the younger guys grow and learn. However, in order to achieve that, Cito has to be shown the door and pronto! T

    his love affair the Toronto fans and some writers have with him and other “fan favs” is a big part of the reason ownership in all their pro sports franchises bring back the ‘re-tread” – to appease the fans. Then, you ask yourselves; “why can’t we ever have a winner”?

    I felt every bit of your pain during the hang up call yesterday afternoon Mike! Keep on doing what your doing – at least you and this blog of yours knows the game and how it is supposed to be played. Thank you.

    MW: No, thank you!

    - Bob (Burlington)
  39. 39.

    Hi Mike. I used to like Cito as well but his lack of moves make the Jays a boring team to watch. I would love to see someone come in and play an exciting style of ball for the rest of this season, even if they do have their next manager in mind. The fans need a reason to come to the park and moves, or lack of moves like this don’t help. I know you talk a good game, managerially speaking, but how do you think that you would do behind a major league bench pulling strings? Be honest, you have thought about it, right?

    MW: There’s not a chance that someone like me would ever get the opportunity to manage a major-league ballclub. And if by some miracle I ever did, it’s doubtful that I’d have any of the players in my corner.

    - dan from elmvale
  40. 40.

    Hi Mike; I did not see or hear yesterday’s game, not available where I live so I was spared the frustration that you and many others are experiencing. The thing is Cito and Pat taught Paul everything he knows about baseball and you are correct in assuming that there is no way Paul Beeston was going to watch one of his mentors leave the game in the fashion that occurred last season. Unfortunately this season is not going to be much better but mutineers have been forewarned that this season more about the big picture and the future than game by game moves. I offer that Cito did not lose this game Scott Downs lost the game look it up in the boxscore. The other side of the coin is that Cito showed great confidencs in Jose,Johnny and Fred. The game on the line is no place to break-in a rookie like Randy Ruiz he has already been the final out once this season and for all we know he may have cried and Cito might have said I wont put you in that position again for a while. I harken back to the fact that this season is all about the big picture and the big picture is building a young talented starting staff playing veterans early and hopefully increasing their value in the eyes of other organizations. Then moving more rookies in to replace them, they will have to bat ninth for a while but it is what it is.
    I heard you commenting that no one would take Vernon Welles because of his contract. Everyone should be reminded that Vernon’s accomplishments and prospective future accomplishments earned him that contract. He has been hampered by injuries and now is healthy and showing everyone exactly why he is earning big money. Why would you or anyone want to trade him. If you ever want to see post season baseball in Toronto then players like Welles are key pieces if you want to snipe about how much someone earns then go work in Pittsburgh.

    MW: You’re kidding about the Ruiz thing, right? You are right in that Scott Downs was the losing pitcher in the game, but the loss does show up in Cito’s career column too, don’t forget. There’s no argument to be made that Gaston put his team in the best position to win the game that he could – and that’s what a manager’s job really is.

    - mickg
  41. 41.

    I heard bits and pieces of the postgame JaysTalk on the way to an appointment, and I promptly shut it off because the callers were driving me crazy.

    Assume Ruiz hits in the 10th and the game goes to the 11th, what would the defense have looked like? I’m curious.

    Hill will be a big plus for this offense. Lind and Wells need some help. Gonzalez is starting to come back to earth. Some of the other hitters have to get over the Mendoza line.

    I saw bits and pieces of Halladay’s 2nd CG against the Braves. The Phils are 5-5 when Doc doesn’t start. What do you think his chances of winning between 25 and 30 games is? I think is ERA is around 0.58. The NL doesn’t know what hit them. He had only 77 pitches through 8 innings. I still am a big fan of the trade. He is going to be making 20 mil next season. You can’t rebuild and have 43 mil tied up in 2 players (Wells and Doc)

    It’s amazing how being productive eliminates the venom of your contract in Wells case.

    Keep up the good work. I think yesterday was a JaysTalk you wished you could have turned the callers off too.

    Aaron

    MW: Maybe a couple of them. I think Halladay has a good chance of winning 25+ games. See above for the answer to your question about the defense.

    - Aaron Ker
  42. 42.

    Last week I tried to follow your own advice to yourself: you can’t worry about every move Cito makes or it will make for a long season. Yesterday, my plan fell apart.

    I was at the game. Few there had realized what had transpired, and I was beside myself. As I was walking home, I waited patiently for Jerry to finish his post-game, so I could hear what you had to say. I couldn’t get the picture of J-Mac walking up to the box and looking back out of my head. How was that (non)move possible at the major league level? I was glad that you were as shocked.

    I have never, ever talked like an annoying back seat manager before this year and last. I may comment, but my assumption is generally that they are in the major leagues and got there for a reason, so they know what they are doing and I am just not getting something. I was a Dodger fan growing up and I would question Lasorda’s moves sometimes, but I figured he knows best. I wait a long time before I enter this territory. But from the newly retired Kevin Millar’s 283 (often clean-up) at bats to yesterday, I’ve entered the territory. I guess had I watched Cito’s moves more closely in the 90s I might have felt the same then, but as a Dodger fan then, I was focused elsewhere.

    I’m not looking for wins, just looking for the Jays to have the best chance to win and the opportunity for the newer unproven guys to get a shot. I guess that comes next year.

    I have been to 5 games already, and plan to go to many more. I just flat out love baseball. And watching these young players is really fun. But if I was to ever come close to lessening my Jays watching habits, this frustration would be the reason.

    Cito’s seems like a nice guy and good with the veterans, and, heck, Scott Downs, Nat King Cole, Cito and I share a birthday, so I can’t be too down on him, but any chance for another, more effective, mutiny?

    MW: I doubt we’ll see that happen again, at least not as publicly. But no, player discontent won’t get rid of Cito.

    - Darren
  43. 43.

    Great read Mike, I totally agree about Cito. I understand his loyalty if he had a lineup like the yankees. But this jays team is far from the 1993 squad that packed the skydome. With a power bat and argueably one of the jays best offensive weapons (ruiz) on the bench why not try and tie the game with one swing.
    I hope AA or Paul Beaston rip him a new one. Cause Cito is making this tough to watch.

    Quick question who would you recommend to replace Cito? I say pull Buck out of the booth. Or borrow “maggie the monkey” from TSN.

    MW: I would give the job to Brian Butterfield in a heartbeat.

    - Mike Milner
  44. 44.

    The only reason I can think of why Randy Ruiz was not pinch-hitting late in this game is that he was injured. It’s inexcusable, especially in the 10th inning to see McDonald hitting with 2 outs and the Jays down by a run. It’s frustrating and I am sure any of the other 29 managers would have let Ruiz come up in the tenth.

    On the other hand Mike, Just your take on this thought. After McCoy pinch ran for Molina, I would have kept him in the game to play one of the corner outfield positions so you don’t lose the last back-up infielder (considering Encarnacion is injured). Thus if Ruiz pinch hits for McDonald in the tenth and lets say hits a homer or starts a rally to tie the game, in the eleventh I would move McCoy to second and move Ruiz to left or something along those lines.

    Finally, glad to see Aaron Hill is coming back, a bat this line up needs

    MW: Well, I’d have used Ruiz in the 8th, too, so that situation wouldn’t really have come up. But I would have left McCoy in the game at second base after that bottom of the 8th in order to have another reasonable offensive player in there.

    - Shakeel
  45. 45.

    with big z as a 17.9mm set up man do the cubs have more bad contracts than the jays?

    MW: They have Soriano and Zambrano, the Jays don’t have any bad contracts right now, do they? Everyone seems to love Vernon again!

    - alan
  46. 46.

    I don’t get it, I really don’t. I don’t know what’s more frustrating, the Cito non-moves, or a large percentage of fans buying into them. I just can’t, don’t, won’t ever understand. Bah. It’s the responsibility of the manager to do everything he can to win, even if it means putting Marcum in to play defense after pinch hitting for McDonald. Mike, great job, I would go ballistic, and do so in the comfort of my home, listening to callers not having a clue. You need to record your Vernon Wells trade response, as I’m sure your getting tired of having to answer the question every Jays Talk.

    MW: It’s not a bad idea. Marcum couldn’t have come in to play defense, though, because he was already out of the game. Same with Janssen.

    - Alex
  47. 47.

    Hey Mike,
    I was at game yesterday and am still in shock over what I witnessed. I’m a big BASEBALL fan, love all the nuances of the game and yesterday was a travesty. What concerns me is that all you’ve got left coming to the games are people who love THE GAME! To witness what I saw yesterday has left me considering not going again until they dump Cito. Blue Jays Management – WAKE UP!!!

    - Hirsch (Mike Hirschmann)
  48. 48.

    Hey Mike,

    I really don’t think you should be too frustrated here. Perhaps Cito read your blog and listened to JaysTalk and decided “Hey, let’s see what I can do today to get Mike Wilner’s blood going. I’ll do everything Mike would not do in this spot and get myself more air time on JaysTalk”.

    Cito does not walk on water and I agree that he is not one of the top managers in the league. However, out of all the fans out there, you of all people should, as you pointed out know that Cito does not follow the books and he’s always been and always will be like that. He is not part of the long term plan here hence you can reason that he might not have the motivation to go above and beyond what needs to be done. He’s always been know to be a players coach and he’s not changing his philosophy at this stage of his career. I found an interesting article dated back in 1994.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_n7_v49/ai_15198539/

    Back in the all-star game in 1993 in Baltimore, Cito decided not to pitch Mussina and went with Duane Ward instead in front of the hometown fans. I don’t think Cito will lose much sleep over not pinch hitting Ruiz over MacDonald.

    I’m not defending Cito here, but he is who he is and might cause us a few games here and there, but his odd ways almost got us there is Lind did what he was suppose to do in the 8th. It’s too easy for us to sit here and scream and yell what should have happened and this and that. Cito’s not the best tactical manager, but we should not discount his value fully because of that. It seems like everyone thinks they can do a better job. But the reality is, there are only 30 managers in the league and they are there for a reason. Perhaps Cito brings the intangibles we don’t see. Let’s not all kill ourselves over it.

    MW: Cito certainly did bring the intangibles that we don’t see back when that article was written, but judging from how the overwhelming majority of the players felt about him last season, he doesn’t anymore. And there’s more to that Mussina story than what you wrote – Mussina knew that he was the “extra-innings guy” for that game, and wasn’t going to pitch unless the game got to that point, but he decided on his own to get up and start warming up in the 8th, making the Baltimore crowd believe that he was coming in.

    - Antony
  49. 49.

    I’m becoming really confused by the direction the jays and or Cito are taking. I understand guys like Gonzalez, Encarnacion, Lewis, Bautista, and Overbay are keeping positions warm until either kids develop or we’re competitive enough to sign impact free agents; but how come reserve positions are filled by major leaguers who have substantial experience? Everyone in the league should know what John MacDonald, Lewis, or Bautista can do (I’m sorry, I still won’t accept the fact that Jose Bautista is an everyday player) There’s no forseable gain by playing these guys. I’m not saying we push kids into the majors to get 8 or 9 at bats a week at best, but nobody knows how McCoy, Ruiz, or Jeremy Reed will do at the majors. I don’t think you’ll get anything for the other guys as trade commodities, if that’s your argument, because everyone already knows what they give you and DON’T give you.
    At least by giving the unkown a chance you leave the possibility of surprising yourself. I realize there’s most likely good reason these guys haven’t cracked a regular roster yet, but I only think they should consider this option because the alternative doesn’t really provide any chance for progression.
    If fans are going to continue to follow and accept another rebuild – which has started very well in terms of stocking our farm system – we should at least be thrown a bone at the major league level as well.

    MW: I don’t think Jeremy Reed counts as an unknown – he’s been given his shots at the major-league level, and I don’t agree with you about Lewis. But what’s the point of having young, unproven players on the bench if you know that manager isn’t going to use the bench?

    - nate
  50. 50.

    Hi Mike,

    Do you think there’s any chance that Cito gets a slap on the wrist for this? There is no reason why A.) Ruiz didn’t pinch hit in the 8th and B.) Ruiz didn’t pinch hit in the 10th.

    MW: I would hope that he does, but I doubt it. It’s his way.

    - Ian
  51. 51.

    OH boy. I was listening as they tied, but then not available. You are right. That could demoralize anyone.

    - Barb
  52. 52.

    Mike,

    Three quick things if I may:

    1. Yesterdays Jays Talk was my favourite of ALL TIME. I must have looked like an insane person in my car because it is rare that I laugh that hard and that loud while listening to the radio. Bahaus was radio gold, but Mr. Show of Faith easily topped him. Nice work.

    2. Of all of the current managers in the majors today, can you think of any you would rather have Cito over … Except that Psychopath Ozzie in Chicago? I’m really curious what Cito actually does during the game. He appears to sit in one spot with that bored expression all game. It’s infuriating.

    3. This is something I have always wondered. When a strikeout occurs with no one on base, why is the 1st baseman always excluded from the throw around?

    Thanks Mike

    MW: 1 – Thanks, but it was mainly him. I was too dumbfounded to say anything. 2 – Ozzie is at least fun. 3 – Because it’s not fast pitch.

    - MDC
  53. 53.

    First let me say Mike that I am a big FAN of yours. Both the radio and us listeners are privilaged to have you.

    Second, let me say that I agree with you, and would have pinch hit Ruiz for McDonald too.

    Third, however, is that I understand Cito’s non-move, for the reason you glossed over. The defence in the 11th would have been both unacceptable and dangerous for at least one fielder. Given that Encarnacion couldn’t play (that he was placed on the DL is proof enough), you would have had to field a team among Buck, Overbay, Ruiz, Lind, Snider, Wells, Lewis, Bautista and Gonzalez. Among 2B, 3B and SS, you only have Gonzalez and Bautista who have ever played there, meaning you would have to put Ruiz or an outfielder at either 2B or 3B (presuming Gonzalez plays SS and Bautista plays one of 2B or 3B). It’s one thing to ask an infielder who has never played the outfield to grab a glove and head out there – they regularly shag (fly balls I mean, stay focused), and should be able to do so safely. It’s quite another to ask someone like Ruiz or Lewis to play 2B or 3B and A) not feel scared (yes they are professional athletes, but you get my point), and 2) do so without assuming an unreasonable risk of injury.

    Having McDonald bat in the 10th is unfortunate, but forcing Ruiz or Lewis to play 2B or 3B would have been worse.

    The real questions are 1) Why was Encarnacion still on the roster, shortening the bench to just 3 players and tying a manager’s hands so tightly; and 2) Why is Merkin Valdez on the roster, a guy who has thrown exactly 1 inning in 16 games, rather than an another player on the bench?

    MW: I can’t agree with you about your major point. These are professional athletes, and not pieces of glass, and as I illustrated above with the Fielder/Gruber thing, you can get creative enough to work the guys who shouldn’t be there into a place where he can do the least damage. But even if you won’t budge off your point, the fact is that Cito painted himself into that corner by not making the right moves in the 8th. 1 -Encarnacion was there because Hill was going to take his place by the next game anyway (I’d likely have DL’d him before the KC series, but it takes a while to get a reinforcement in from Vegas, which ties the Jays’ hands a bit). 2 – Because you never know when the starting pitching, inexperienced as it is, is going to fall apart. I guess.

    - Kyle in Thornhill
  54. 54.

    First post of 2010.

    Great to hear you again and the season is shaping up to be enjoyable. Question – do you think that Lewis has the pedigree to be a permanent leadoff hitter? I think eventually, but top of the order seems a peculiar place to be a proving ground.

    ps -I have not seen fit to change my handle – I am still a Halladay fan, and why wouldn’t I be. He seems better than ever. And based on his batting average (.200) if he were still on the Jays he’d not only be the best pitcher in baseball, he’d be in the lineup…… ;)

    MW: Eventually had better come quickly, since Lewis is 29 years old but yes, I think he can be a very good leadoff man – against righties, anyway.

    - halladayfan
  55. 55.

    Mike,

    I think you’re missing the obvious, which is that Cito is managing to generate discussion, not wins. A little controversy might get a few more fans out to the ballpark, I suppose.

    Otherwise, there is no possible explanation.

    MW: I like the way you think.

    - David
  56. 56.

    Mike,

    I don’t often get to hear all of the Jays talk, but yesterday was a different kind of day and I was in the car a lot.

    The caller in question was, to reference an earlier caller, idiotic. Arguing that showing faith in a player warrants expecting him to do what a career’s worth of statistics says he doesn’t do nearly well enough is a special kind of foolish. Listening to him argue that inane point for as long as you did was painful for me. Hanging up was the right thing to do.

    I was also amazed by the guy arguing that you should give away Wells and Overbay just so that the rebuilding process was a “real” rebuilding process. Divesting yourself of any assets without a tangible game plan for improving the team as a result is incredibly short sighted.

    On that note though…..why is anyone even pitching to Vernon these days? Until Overbay proves he can hit, where is the impetus to pitch to Vernon? I haven’t checked all of the batting orders to say for certain, but too often (and 1x is too often) I saw Vernon followed by Overbay and then Buck.

    Pitch to Vernon? Not on your life. I’ll walk him and take the two outs afterwards. But I haven’t see any real focus on that by opponents. In fact Vernon has seen a lot of quality pitches and has had ample opportunity to beat other teams.

    Am I wrong?

    MW: It’s a little early in the season to start assuming that Overbay is an automatic out, even though he’s been going very badly. I think that’s why we haven’t seen Wells passed by that often. If it keeps up, that’ll change.

    - Jeff
  57. 57.

    Mike.

    Any time you make a reference to SCTV in your blog, it is an excellent thing. Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok, hosts of Farm Film Report aka Farm Film Celebrity Blow-Up. The well-known of those skits were Neil Sedaka and Dustin Hoffman, without a doubt the most funniest comedy show ever. “May the Good Lord take a likin’ to ya, and blow you up real soon”.

    Peter, St.Catharines

    - Peter
  58. 58.

    Mike-
    We can hear you SHOUTING! and you are right. The players know how the game is supposed to be played, and I am sure both Ruiz and Johnny Mac know it. Cito is eroding Ruiz’s confidence, Confusing J M about what is expected of him, and giving the Jays a reputation as the worst team to warm a bench for.!

    - John
  59. 59.

    Dear Mike.

    Is there a way to access last year’s episodes of “Baseball Today”? I’m subscribed on iTunes, but right now it’s just a placeholder for the new episodes which start in the summer – does this mean in June after the Stanley Cup finals? It sure felt like summer out there yesterday with the roof open and the sun beating down. Glorious. Anyways, until then, I’m hoping to get my Baseball Today fix through repeats.

    Keep on keepin’ on, and can’t wait for summer!

    MW: No one has told me about any plans for “Baseball Today” this summer. I have no idea how you would access the old shows.

    - Spencer
  60. 60.

    Mike, I couldn’t agree with you more. Cito Gaston and common sense go together like oil and water. It is frustrating enough to watch a team in the rebuilding process, but to add to that a manager who decreases your chances of winning by his managerial incompetence is simply painful.

    - CEM
  61. 61.

    That is insane to have Ruiz and NOT use him at all. Even Johnny Mac knows this.

    I respect what Cito did 18 years ago, but this is NOT that team. Cito needs to manage his personnel better. Match-ups are match-ups but a win is a win. Last I checked, this game is supposed to be played to win.

    Something can be said for showing faith in you’re players as well though, and if it had have worked out, this could have been a huge confidence boost for the bench guys. But, it didn’t. Oh well.

    How long do you think Gonzo’s bat will remain hot? Is this a flash in the pan or a guy trying to prove his worth?

    MW: A manager shouldn’t be trying to boost the confidence of his 35 year-old back-up middle infielder. Gonzo’s bat has cooled down rather nicely. He hit just .244/.295/.439 on the homestand, and that included a 4-hit game.

    - T.J.
  62. 62.

    Everyone better learn to live with it no matter how obscene and ridiculous these moves are. Cito isn’t going anywhwere until October unless he steps down.

    MW: Obscene?

    - Chad
  63. 63.

    Hey Mike,
    I wanted to comment on all the talk of Jays attendance going on right now, and to see what you think.
    In my opinion, the issue of attendance comes down to the number of home games on the MLB schedule. I love going to Jays games. I probably go to 15 home games each year. To me, that’s a pretty decent personal attendance record for a guy with a very busy job. The problem is that this doesn’t even dent attendance for the Jays. There are over 80 home games. Opening week, I went to opening night like I have every year that I can remember. But after that, I wasn’t heading back to the park that week. I just can’t afford the time, and I can’t imagine that many people can devote more than 1 night per week to live sporting events. None of the other teams in Toronto have this problem. There are 40 or so home Leafs games, maybe 20 TFC games, and I don’t follow the NBA so I can’t comment on the Raps, nor can I speak to the Argos.
    Many of the other arguments just don’t hold water for me. The Dome being a bad place to watch a game? Except for the first year when it’s a novelty, I won’t believe that the stadium has a significant impact on attendance. The length of a game? Sure, I’d like a game to be shorter, but I also couldn’t see a league mandated 2:15 game changing things, not that I want that to happen. Ticket prices? They’re pretty cheap. Location of the stadium? Not buying it.
    Lack of competitiveness of the team is clearly a factor as well, although Toronto hockey fans don’t seem to have a problem with that.
    For me, this issue boils down to the Jays not being particularly trendy right now, and when you couple that to the huge number of bodies you have to get in the stadium over 80+ games, attendance falls.
    We’re stuck in a situation where even with an unlimited budget, you couldn’t “guarantee” success in the AL East, so the owners are loathe to significantly up the payroll until the team is “almost there” from within, in my opinion.
    I’m OK with most of this too. Baseball is a game that is just so enjoyable to watch as a game, regardless of the big picture of the season, that I’ll keep coming.
    Thoughts?

    MW: There’s a lot to be said for the idea that 81 home games are a lot to pack a place, even though they did it just fine from 1989-1994. And in truth, the Blue Jays draw far more fans on an absolute basis than the Leafs, Raptors or Toronto FC do, even in a season like this. The thing to me is, though, that there are about 7,000,000 people who live within an hour’s drive of Rogers Centre – they shouldn’t need too many people to come more than once a week.

    - Neil
  64. 64.

    I do believe Rogers is not interested in keeping the Jays in Toronto. They have fired ticket many of the ticket promotion staff, decreased total team salaries, increased ticket prices over the years, got rid of cheap Tuesday promotions, other ticket incentives and decreased promotion for season ticket holders. I believe that they want to use drastic decrease in attendance as an excuse to sell the team. They believe that the loyal fan base is older and slowly disappearing and the new young generation is more interested in other sports. This is a dying franchise. Look around the dome that is surrounded by large condos. If the Jays were to tear down the dome, they could build many more condos on the land that they purchased for a bargain price and rake in hugs profits and get them off the hook as far as pouring more money into what they think is a losing cause.

    MW: If they were interested in selling the team, why would they not just put the team on the market? Why would they have to develop an excuse?

    - Ronald Perry
  65. 65.

    You summed it up perfectly with that one sentence Mike.Cito’s moves defy all logic!!

    - Paul
  66. 66.

    All I can say is stupid move not to use Ruiz. If this is suppose to be a dvelopment year this would have been a perfect time to use Ruiz to see if he can do the job pinch hitting etc. I hope Cito gets a wrist slap for this non move. still listening Wayne

    - Wayne Triemstra
  67. 67.

    Mike, I agree with your cito comments. Can’t wait for a new manager.
    Once/if Tallet returns there’s no way Cecil’s going back to the minors. I think the rotation is set with Cecil in it depending on injuries of course.

    MW: Always depending on injuries.

    - marc
  68. 68.

    I find it so refreshing to find someone who covers the Blue Jays to be critical when criticism is warranted. I can throw up listening to the cheer leaders (paid for by the club) who are suppose to analyze as well as announce the game.
    Thank you.
    Gary Carr

    MW: I appreciate it, but I don’t understand why it would be surprising.

    - gary carr
  69. 69.

    Mike – you’re starting to sound like your callers (lol)!

    Here’s the thing…in the early ’90′s I can remember listing to the FAN (was it called the FAN then?) take call after call about Cito and his ‘style’. Then, in ’92/’93 he could do no wrong and the team won. But look at those teams. Really, he put nine names in the lineup everyday and rolled his rotation. Then it was Ward/Henke – game over. There wasn’t a whole lot of ‘managing’ going on.

    Now, Cito has a young team that he must ‘manage’ but he insists on going with the status quo nine guys. Overbay at #5 is a joke. Why not ride a hot McCoy for 3-4 games instead of in/out day-to-day? That’s what GOOD managers do!

    He is loyal to a fault (see Jose Bautista) and doesn’t like to challenge guys or make them work for playing time. I understand putting Snider in there every day to see what we have in that kid, but Overbay? We have bubkis with that guy.

    If the style and approach doesn’t change soon, I predict crowds of less than 10K come September. I don’t care who is in town.

    - Perry
  70. 70.

    ugh…couldnt agree more Mike…I usually dont get to upset over managerial moves, umpires, referees calls etc. because you can drive yourself crazy if you do…but yesterdays moves or lack there of are unforgivable, and whereas before I was always on the fence with Cito, take the good with the bad,but having him back for 1 more year is looking like a colossal and frustrating mistake

    - Jeremy
  71. 71.

    Although I believe that Ruiz is a bit overrated, and chances are that he would have struck out while swinging at pitches not even close to the strike zone, I garee that either Cito’s been comatose at that moment, or he’d better come up with some “Ruiz-ate-something-bad-for-breakfast” believable story.

    As I’m one of those that are “boosting attendance” and had been to 3 games already this year, and as I’m all for the rebuilding-and-let-the youngsters-play approach, I must admit that keeping Cito around defeats both purposes. Though he should have a lot to teach, it doesn’t look like he has any relative advantage over anybody else.

    I’m not the “fire-the-coach” type, but something has to be done, or we’re going to waste this year.

    Regards,

    EH

    MW: That’s kind of unfair about Ruiz – but even if he did strike out, he would have done it having gone to the plate with a far better chance of having something positive happen. Unless you’d prefer to see a weak grounder to short over a strikeout. You’re right, though, keeping Cito around does seem to defeat both those purposes.

    - hess2479
  72. 72.

    michael,
    our man cito seemed particularly comfortable yesterday with his unconditional conviction in how he sees this game of baseball to be managed didn’t he?
    but i have to ask michael, cause’ other than you writing about it here i don’t see the question being asked to him directly & then reported back in any of the mediums.
    i want to hear it in his own words on why he didn’t see any of which you wrote about as being possibly the way to go.
    he seems to be never ever questioned & quoted on such matters that i ever see anyway.
    a little baffling to me is all……

    MW: It may just be because all the reporters know what the answer is going to be.

    - darrell bishop
  73. 73.

    Mike, when Cito left Ruiz nailed to the bench (again), it was one of the few times this season that my radio was in danger of being thrown against the wall.

    There’s something to be said for “going with your gut” if it works out, but Cito just goes with the status quo more often than not, as if he can’t bother working out the proper and obvious move.

    Surely, his other coaches are scratching their heads as well.

    It often involves Ruiz as well, so what exactly does Gaston have against him….if that situation didn’t scream out for the big guy, what would???

    MW: Got me.

    - Gary
  74. 74.

    Hey Mike,
    is it fair to consider the fact that Cito’s lack of managerial skills are what is keeping fans away from the park? I can imagine that people see a team that is seemingly ‘rolling over’ and want to spend their money elsewhere. If we had a manager who was ‘trying’ to win games, maybe the team would be viewed more competitively and more fans would be willing to support them

    MW: I think that most of the people who are staying away from the ballpark still believe that Cito is one of the best managers in history.

    - Abe
  75. 75.

    Mike,
    you keep saying this team is exciting to watch. You also keep pointing out that this team usually has 3 hits by the 7th inning. Please reconcile the two. I don’t mind rebuilding…I’m just trying to figure out how this team is fun to watch and exciting?

    MW: I don’t anticipate them having 3 hits or fewer by the 7th inning more often than not, for one thing. For another, they’ve already had a pitcher take a no-hitter into at least the 6th inning three times, and they’ve had, what, four wins already when trailing going into the 7th or later? That’s pretty exciting.

    - Jason
  76. 76.

    Hello Mike…wow, that must be if not your longest blog to date, one of your longest. I’m glad this is one of the few times where you point out that Cito didn’t use the book & worked. I know you don’t like that decision in the 10th with Ruiz but without Cito going against the book in the 8th, they most likely won’t be in that position in the 10th for him to make that decision. I think you should ask Cito yourself Mike & see what his reason is first before you criticize him.

    The other point is that if the Jays do well & win over 90 games this year, he may be back. There was an interview last week by Jerry Howarth before a home game asking Cito that & he said what is best for the ball club & that him coming back was not out of the question. So, Mike you may have to get use to Cito’s moves or sounds like you will be too frustrated to be covering the Jays & should maybe find another team to cover..hehe…There’s no point pulling out your hair if you know Cito’s philosophy in staying loyal to his veterans. You know his moves & you know you will disagree with it, there’s no point ranting about his so called wrong decisions by the book. Just say you disagree with it & leave it at that. It’s not fair to Cito if he’s not here to defend himself when your ranting.

    MW: There’s not a chance Cito comes back after this season.

    - David F in Etobicoke
  77. 77.

    In what is supposed to be a year of growth and development for the Blue Jays, it is frustrating as a spectator to see the very players who have even the suggestion of an upside (read: McCoy, Ruiz) playing second fiddle to players who are known quantities that would not play any sort of prominent role on any team in or near contention. Let McCoy succeed or fail on his own merits, by giving him consistent at bats for a full season (if there was ever a time to experiment, it’s right now), and just let Ruiz hit. He’s 32 years old, and if he has any kind of chance to do something meaningful at the MLB level, it’s right now. We can’t let him percolate the way you’d let a 1st round pick out of high school find himself in the minors: if Ruiz is going to be an MLB contributor (be it as a starter at DH, or 1B, or even as a 300-400 AB super-sub), he needs to have the chance to show it today, as he isn’t going to get younger with time (which goes for all of us, nonetheless). If the Jays aren’t prepared to do that, the least they can do is to quietly find a place where he might get the opportunity on another MLB team to be used for more than dugout decoration. I feel that anyone (especially someone who has stuck it out in the minor leagues for as many years as Ruiz has, without complaint or tirade) deserves that.

    MW: Well put

    - Dom from Woodbridge
  78. 78.

    i hate to be the voice of reality but i think the jays are about to start a 6 game losing streak 8-(

    MW: That’s not being the voice of reality, it’s being the voice of pessimism.

    - shawn
  79. 79.

    Well since marcum was the starting pitcher in that game he couldn’t have come back in, but that wasn’t the point I was trying to make anyway. My frustration makes me not think brain like.

    MW: Right

    - Alex
  80. 80.

    Mike- Cito isn’t changing after all these years, so we shouldn’t be surprised or infuriated (in your case) when he doesn’t make the moves that seem to make the most sense to the majority of fans and broadcasters. Obviously Cito knew that Encarnacion would be DL’d after the game and absolutely could not put him in. As for Ruiz staying on the bench when conventional thinking would have seen him PH in the 8th or the 10th- based watching Cito over the years, he would not want to put a player in any position that he wasn’t familiar with (ie. Overbay at 3B or OF to make room for Ruiz) lest he risk injury or embarassing a vet by having him outside of his comfort zone in the field. Therefore it was all or nothing with Johnny Mac in the 10th. Based on the way Cito thinks, he ran out of players and that was that. It’s a long season and he sacrificed a potential tie game (if Ruiz had hit a PH HR) for the bigger picture. That’s the long and the short of it, however illogical in a baseball sense that might be to you. As for not using subs in the 8th (when the game was tied up), sorry, but being frustrated at that is like being upset when your kid doesn’t study for a test but pulls off an A anyway- maybe he actually knew what he was doing (or is damn lucky) afterall.

    MW: Having the right outcome occur doesn’t necessarily mean you used the right process to get there. If my kid got an A on a test without studying, I’d be proud of her, but I would let her know that she got lucky and that if she wanted to succeed again, she would be well-served to hit the books. And why isn’t Cito worried about embarrassing John McDonald?

    - Shane
  81. 81.

    Hey Mike:

    I’m starting to wonder why McCoy has not been given a better look at the top of the order. Lewis has not exactly showed he has earned that position to this point whereas I see McCoy as working hard always running the base paths well.

    With Aaron Hill back tomorrow I’m guessing the starts of both of those guys may be in jeopardy. At the very least we’ll only see one of them in the OF or at 3rd I assume.

    MW: Lewis has a solid track record in the big leagues, and a week is hardly enough of a look. With Hill back, McCoy is likely nailed to the bench.

    - Alex
  82. 82.

    michael,
    and it sure looks like we got rid of that doc halladay just in the nick of time huh?

    MW: Huh?

    - darrell bishop
  83. 83.

    Hi Mike,

    I am starting a campaign: ABC

    ANYONE
    BUT
    CITO

    I had the same thought as you did on the Bullpen today: How awesome would it be give Butter the interim tag and see what he can do? Worst case scenario: You still have to look for another manager after the season.

    Lead the charge Mike!

    ABC! ABC! ABC!

    MW: I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be leading a charge to have a man fired, but I don’t think Cito is the right guy for this job.

    - Scotty D
  84. 84.

    You mentioned that you saw MacDonald himself looking toward the dugout a couple of times before heading to the plate in the 10th inning. I bet that every player in that dugout was wondering the same thing and that they unanimously agreed among themselves that Cito had made (another) wrong decision.

    I believe 100% that there WILL be another showdown this year between the players and management especially if the team slides into a performance reminiscent of last year. This will sully the teams reputation amongst Major Leaguers even more, hardly something we need at this point.

    Every journalist covering this team needs to continually question Beeston and Anthopoulos at every opportunity about why this choice has been made. Loyalty is obviously the reason and it would be a stand-up thing for Beeston to admit to. But I don’t suspect he would admit to it, because he will lose that magic no-stick shine that he has acquired. It’s incredible to me that Beeston is willing to sacrifice his own reputation to demonstrate unwavering loyalty to one man. And Cito has taken this display of loyalty and totally got power-hungry with it as he settles grudges and shows who is boss.

    The whole thing is just sickening and has to be the source of tons of grumbling and speculation among the players. Attendance is down and seemingly getting worse and management and the media are telling the fans every day that the team is not going to win this year. There is no reason for anyone to want to go to a baseball game because the players are too young to win (or so we’re told) and the manager is settling a score for God knows what behind-the-scenes reason. As Lee Elia would say, “It’s a disheartening &%$@#& situation.”

    We have what will amount to a totally wasted season. We will listen nightly to cries for more fans to turn out and support the team. We’ll watch a team win occasionally despite the manager. Many casual fans who dropped by every so often will find something else to do and those lost fans may never come back.

    But we did right by Cito, so it’s all good. Unbelievable.

    More power to those in the media who have the exposure to highlight this and draw as many stares as possible toward Beeston and management over this.

    I wouldn’t be surprised that players in Minnesota, in Houston, in all Major League cities have got wind of the patronage that we’re seeing here and it stains the management across the board. Up here we think that Anthopoulos is baseball’s Obama but would a prospective free agent see him as anything but a lame duck to Beeston? And if he sat back and watched the Beeston/Cito love-in would he feel that he would want to come here and play?

    I can’t look at Beeston or Gaston with much respect these days. Halladay’s in Philadelphia and the Sabres might still beat Boston. At least there’s other things to watch.

    - Rob M
  85. 85.

    Talk about being stubborn!
    Great rant Mike. I couldn’t agree more. Also, I’m very glad that Cecil is going to get a kick at the can again.

    Would you agree that the left handed #3 or #4 starter role can potentially be Brett Cecil’s to lose if he even half shows his stuff?(rather than let the horrific Tallet retain his role upon his return from the DL)

    MW: Tallet’s not horrific. I’m confident that Cecil is here to stay.

    - Anthony L
  86. 86.

    Mike,Can there be any doubt left about the ill advised continuation of Cito Gaston as field manager.If this is to be a year of re-building then let it begin with a new field manager,allbeit temporary.

    - Dave
  87. 87.

    I agree with you 100% could not believe Ruiz was not pinch hitting for MacDonald its fine to show faith in a player but anybody who knowa baseball knows that Ruiz should have been hitting in that spot even MacDonald.
    My Question is why is Ruiz on the team if he is never going the used Wake up Cito

    - Frank
  88. 88.

    Michael,

    I heard you say a lot of the team was hitting the links when they get to Florida.

    I don’t know much about golf but I always wondered, and maybe you don’t have the answer, but when a MLB player is hitting off the opening tee are they able to just crush the ball?

    I know it’s a different discipline, but I thought with their hand and eye coordination plus their strength, they’d be able to drive the club through the ball at a great velocity.

    Not necessarily a baseball question, but I’d always just wondered.

    MW: I don’t want to make a broad generalization, but most of the guys I have talked to are pretty strong off the tee.

    - Uncle Ben
  89. 89.

    About Cito, I have to agree with you Mike. I like the guy, always have, but clearly one has to ‘go by the book’ in this case. I keep wishing that J Mac would hire the best hitting coach in the offseason and learn to consistently hit .265 or something – I suspect he would be a starting shortstop somewhere if he could. But the sad fact is, over 162 games, things work out the way they usually have in the past. And sadly, the same goes for Cito. He isn’t likely to change his ways. Would like to hear his explanation – would like to know if anyone asked him the question. Like I said, I’ve always liked the guy, and but perhaps it’s time to get a new manager in there now, and not waste a year. I know that’s not going to happen – it would be perceived as an insult to him, and somehow it feels like we’ve done that twice to him – although in other cities, with other managers, firing managers is rarely personal, it’s just business.

    MW: Here, though, for some reason, the Blue Jays “owe” him.

    - Bruce Robb
  90. 90.

    Mike, is there any chance of getting AA on the show for a weekly segment much like the old ‘Wednesday’s with JP’?

    MW: Nope. I have approached Alex with the idea, and he gave he some very good reasons as to why he would love to do it, but shouldn’t.

    - Andrew in Ottawa
  91. 91.

    Hey Mike,

    This is unrelated to the post, but, hopefully you’ll engage.

    I was wondering if you thought the signing of Adeiny Hech….varia(?) could signal the Jays possibly looking at a pitcher in the June draft? I know the cliche is to always take the best player avaiable regardless of organizational need, but, with Adeiny’s opt out clause (if he is not placed on the 25man by 2013)- could this signal a look at possibly a pitcher or non SS prospect this June? Yes Zack Cox I mean You !

    Just getting excited for that #11 pick ! Im hoping for a pitcher,

    Thanks Mike

    MW: You can’t pick based on need early in the draft.

    - Dave
  92. 92.

    When I saw Johnny Mac walking to the plate in the 10th I was screaming at my tv, and this is coming from someone who owns and wears a John McDonald jersey to each game he goes to.

    I just wanted to share something funny that my girlfriend said.

    “Maybe the reason the attendance is so low is because they didn’t give out the calender fridge magnets at the opener, and no one knows when the games are.”

    Obviously she was kidding but I have to say that I’m disappointed that it seems like the jays are skimping on the promotions this year. I’ve had that magnet on my fridge since 2004.

    MW: I have a fridge magnet for 2010, but I think I got it at the last game of last season. Too many of the fridge magnets wound up being flung onto the field at the home opener last year.

    - Andee
  93. 93.

    Mike,

    I couldn’t agree more, you don’t trade Overbay for a box of balls. You release him outright.

    He has no future with this club and is taking away playing time from those who may. Moreover, despite all the love you and some others give him, he is a poor bat at first base – forth worst OPS for AL first basemen last year (and apparently it was a good year by his standards).

    What is the upside to keeping him around? seriously? is it a potential trade or the draft pick compensation?

    MW: Sorry, I have answered this question far too many times already.

    - Cam
  94. 94.

    lol @ the McDonald thing. Really, that’s all I can say: Laugh out loud at the McDonald thing.

    This streak of three hits or fewer over the first six innings is bound to continue, because the Jays get Matt Garza next. I’m guessing no runs on two hits over eight innings Friday.

    MW: How about four runs on three hits over one inning?

    - Flaming Moe
  95. 95.

    Hi Mike:
    Cito’s strategy in the 10th inning reminded me of 1987. If memory serves, when the Jays were down to what became their last out of that collapse, Jimy Williams sent out Garth Iorg (a weak tapper back to the mound) with a young Cecil Fielder (among others) on the bench! Which do you think was the worse move? Perhaps it’s a tie!

    MW: Given the stakes back in ’87, it’s true that Jimy’s move was worse, though I think the outrage at the time was overwhelmed by the heartache. I have to say, though, that I don’t remember the thought of pinch-hitting for Iorg ever crossing my mind. Maybe it’s because there wasn’t much available on the bench – Fielder was already in the game, and I don’t remember who was or wasn’t a September call-up that year. There’s a chance that the only other available right-handed hitter was Jeff DeWillis.

    - dieter
  96. 96.

    No way to defend this mistake..Gaston blew it but so what its only ONE game..They may not have made it to the 11th if Ruiz hit instead of whomever..

    Maybe he was giving Mcdonald a chance to be the hero and win the game for them..Not the right move of course but Cito does things his way and couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks and I actually admire him for that..

    He has managed his entire career this way and has had some success..

    Since his return to the Jays their record is 135-131..Not bad at all considering the teams he has had..

    He had a record of 91-71 through his first 162 games as manager the second time around..No other manager could say that since he did it in 1993..

    As maddening as he can be at times, he has proven he can be a winner..

    So what if it doesn’t make sense..You completely berated him for playing Millar..But he did it because he knew it may be his last year playing ball and so he gave the guy some playing time..So freakin what?..The season was over anyway..

    They are 9-7 and look nothing like the 100 loss team some predicted they would be..He deserves a little more latitude then most of us are giving him..

    MW: I don’t understand how you can ever say “so freakin; what? The season was over anyway”. That’s ridiculous.

    - ray b
  97. 97.

    Mike,

    I am just as frustrated as you that the Jays couldn’t come back to win this game, but I don’t believe dumping all over Cito is the answer. I always believed that managers stick with players through thick and thin, and put their trust in hitters even if the so called “book” defies logic. Molina got that hit even though he wasn’t supposed to, which may have given faith to Johnny Mac to swing the bat. I don’t have any problem with Ruiz, and I do wish they used him more throughout the year, but if he were to pinch hit and strike out, wouldn’t we be talking about his inability to hit in the clutch?
    Even if he were to tie the game, and be forced to play the field, the defense would’ve been so lack luster that the chance for errors would’ve been higher. Why not put faith in Johnny Mac and try to go with the best defense possible if he gets a rally going? Last week we saw Tony LaRussa make a double switch with Matt Holliday and it quite possibly cost them the game, but managers are people as well, and will make the odd mistake. If this so called “book” that you seem to subscribe to as well as every other manager in baseball, wouldn’t the game have less mistakes? It takes all the strategy and fun out of the game if any regular-joe can get this book and manage.
    There is no right or wrong answer here and there will be mistakes made, but I think the bashing of Cito was in poor taste. The fans cling to him because he is the only thing left from the World Series glory days and if you’re trying to bring in fans, why dump on him and say he’s a bad manager because of what some so called “book” says? For every mistake that he makes, he has also had great contributions to this team that seem to get over-looked. Yes, there were problems at the end of last year, but those players have gone to other cities now. JP was here for a lot longer, and messed up this team far beyond anything Cito has done, so please cut the guy some slack. He won’t be around next year, and it’s a developmental season for the whole team.

    This young team is showing flashes of some great things for the future. Can you please stop referring to them as an awful team on the radio? The pitching staff is something to get excited about, and the hitting will come around whether it be this year, or next, but bashing your own team on Toronto’s only source for baseball jus doesn’t seem right. Its one thing to point out weakness, but to say it’s a bad team, just isn’t right.

    MW: I don’t believe I have ever referred to the Blue Jays as an awful team – I don’t think they are. But they’re certainly not a very good team, and it would be disingenuous of me to say that they are. Gaston doesn’t deserve any slack to be cut, he’s shown a consistent pattern of this behaviour for years and years, it wasn’t a one-off thing.

    - Chris
  98. 98.

    Hello Michaek

    Just wanted to know. Now that Brett Cecil is hear. If he gets really hot and is playing like Romero right now. Is there a chance we can see Brian Tallet move back to the bullpen mabye.

    MW: Probably.

    - Dave
  99. 99.

    Mike,
    Couldn’t agree more. I like Cito and respect his accomplishments as a player and manager, but sometimes I get the sense this is more about his authority than winning games. Almost like daring management and/or the media to call him on the non-move so he can tee off.

    I hope he was playing a hunch that he felt comfortable with, as opposed to being obstinate or asleep at the switch.

    JS

    MW: The argument can’t be made that he was playing a hunch, unless he has that same hunch all the time.

    - Jeff Simpson
  100. 100.

    Hi Mike
    A little off topic but I hope the Jays scouts are keeping an eye on the Arkansas Razorbacks who are currently 36 and 2.
    There are a couple of kids worth considering. Zack Cox is a 21 yo junior eligible this June leading the SEC with a 449 BA. he also has 43 RBI and 48 runs and plays 3rd base.
    The other is Collin Kuhn great lead off hitter. 500 OBP. 392 BA, 15/15 steals 22HBP 14 BB. He is a sophomore so not yet eligible.
    Do you know if the scouts are aware of these kids?

    MW: If you are, I guarantee you that they are.

    - richard in AR
  101. 101.

    Hi Mike,

    Cito’s first go-around made sense back in 1989 but he isn’t the right man to lead the 2010 Jays.

    My questions to you are:
    1) Who would you like to see become the next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays?
    2) What do you prefer? A candidate with major league managing experience like a Mike Hargrove or an up-an-comer like a Manny Acta type?
    Better yet, what type is the best fit for the Jays?

    Your commentary is lots fun, even when you sound like you’re banging your head against the wall (I’m laughing WITH you).

    MW: 1 – I would love to see Brian Butterfield get a shot, but it would be nice to know who will be in the available talent pool come the off-season. 2 – It doesn’t matter. The best fit is someone who has the ability to consistently put his players in a position where they can best succeed on a regular basis.

    - Kenny
  102. 102.

    Hey Mike,

    I heard your conversation this morning with Gord and Don and it was funny how you said Cito shouldn’t do this and that but it all worked until the McDonald at bat. I agree that it was a no-brainer that Ruiz should have hit but like you mentioned this is Cito being Cito and we just have to get use to it. If the management of the club doesn’t give a dam about these moves then why should we?

    MW: Maybe that’s why people are staying away in droves.

    - Corey
  103. 103.

    “Sure, if he gets on you can’t pinch-run for him [Randy Ruiz]”

    I thought “the book” says you put a pitcher in to Pinch-Run.

    MW: Not if that results in an empty bench and a pitcher in the field the next inning.

    - TheSunkenZealot
  104. 104.

    Hey Mike,

    I totally agree with your comments regarding Cito. Cito is not the right guy for this team. All these players need to play and gain experience. Guys like Johny Mac should not be playing everyday and getting regular at bats. I understand that there are some injuries, but I’d much rather see a McCoy fill in the void. I think You get my drift.
    Another thing that bothers me is, Bautista. He should be their everyday 3rd baseman and not Encarnacion–He stinks! Lind should play in the field more, and Encarnacion should play about 2-3 times a week. He wont be here next season anyways.
    As for Randy Ruiz….I simply cannot explain it. The guy has a very good bat, and he He probably has about 10 AB’s this year. He should be DH’ing more (solved by Lind in outfield a bit more often).
    Bottom line, Gaston needs to go, and they need someone that will give the guys opportunities, and also manage a team. Gaston is more suited for teams that dont need much managing and tinkering–like the early 90′s Jays squads.
    I’d love to heard your thoughts.
    Keep up the great work Mike.
    Cheers,
    Sandro

    MW: John McDonald is hardly an everyday player – he filled in less than half the time while Hill was on the DL, so there’s no real complaint there other than to say that McCoy should have played every day during Hill’s injury (which he probably should have). Encarnacion is still under control for next season, and while his defense has been awful, his bat is pretty good.

    - Sandro
  105. 105.

    I always gave Cito the benefit of the doubt, but with that dumb move (or lack of it) in the 10th. I just lost some respect for him. He always plays the percentages when it comes to pitching, He’s alsways replacing relievers to get the best matchups. He changes pitchers like no tomorrow, even when the pitcher is doing well. so I don’t understand why he wouldn’t play the percentages with Ruiz and McDonald. I’m so ticked off with Cito. What are you doing?

    - James
  106. 106.

    Hi Mike this wasnt even to me his worst move this year. Again go back to the home opener. 10th inning tie game and hard throwing Left Matt Thornton. Overbay up with 1 out batting .077 how does he not use Ruiz there. I at least understand the thought of the defensive alignment in the 11th for the Royal game but to me there is nothing that says keep Lyle in 10th against Thornton.

    MW: The defense does. That game was tied, you knew there would be an 11th and you didn’t want to go into it with no defense at first.

    - Adam
  107. 107.

    Mike I couldn’t agree with you more. What must have Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos been thinking at that point in the game?

    This whole Cito situation is weird and I think it will only get more bizarre as the season goes on. I really believe this will have an ugly ending and Cito will be out as manager before the season is done.

    MW: I think it’s going to be a weird season, too, and it’ll get uglier as it continues, but I doubt Cito will be gone before it’s over.

    - Dimitrios
  108. 108.

    Do you still think the Jays will be “right there” with Tampa at the end of the season?

    MW: Yep. They’re two whole games behind them now, that’s a pretty huge gap.

    - Scott
  109. 109.

    Hey Mike,

    I’ve got to give you props for speaking your mind about Cito. You are not the only one who thinks his style does not fit with this team. Cito must be aware of the buzz around his managerial style. I think Cito will continue to ignore his second guessers and probably feels he is entitled to run this team however he sees fit. I tend to get that a vibe from him during his post game interviews. His interviews are often short and don’t leave much room for further analysis. Would blatantly calling out a manager on one of his decisions be frowned upon or is it no holds barred during the post game interview? It would be nice to see Cito try something new but I guess you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

    I have one question regarding Overbay. Why do we keep hearing that The Jays feel they owe it to Overbay to play him in order to allow him to get a new contract? Since when is major league baseball a charity? If he isn’t hitting then he should not be playing every day. At the very least drop him in the order and give Snider a game or two in the 5 hole and see if he responds. I know they want to maximize his trade value but I keep hearing reference to The Jays owing it to him to get him his next contract. Maybe I am misinterpreting something there?

    Thanks again for your efforts with the blog.

    MW: You’re only misinterpreting the source. The Blue Jays didn’t say that about Overbay, Cito did.

    - gordovox
  110. 110.

    I would have to say that,in my opinion, Cito was not as wrong in the 10th inning as you think he was. Ruiz can’t put you ahead with one swing, so who plays the infield if he does tie it and Lewis or Gonzalaes or Lind make and out? However, I would agree that his do nothingness in the 8th set up the silliness in the 10th, by taking McCoy off the bench. So in a way, he had to really be Cito in the first instance in order to set up your head-smacking scenario in the last inning. Which, I think, is incredibly fascinating, in a morbid kind of way.

    You should positate the negative here. Look how much it gave you to talk about! Even a no hitter hardly lights up the phone lines like these shenanigans.

    MW: Positate?

    - Greg W
  111. 111.

    okay … so is it just me or does Cito have zero faith in in Randy Ruiz??? is it because he’s 31??? Randy Ruiz has been in 5 games with a total of 13 at bats … a power hitter needs to get in a grove and there is no chance he can with that with this little inconsistent playing time. I know he has zero defense, but can’t Lind play right and Ruiz DH a couple of times a week? Why have him in the majors if he will never play?

    MW: And the thing is, whenever he’s asked, Cito says he believes Ruiz can hit 20-25 homers in a season if someone would give him the at-bats.

    - Brian
  112. 112.

    What I find interesting with Cito’s management style is that he must find it disrespectful to pinch hit a guy to take him out of a game, but has no problem pinch running a guy out of the game. He lets his guy hit, get on base, and then pulls him. If he was willing to pull Molina for a pinch runner if he got on base, why not pull him and let McCoy hit to start the inning?
    We all know baseball is a game of percentages and the worst hitter gets on base 3 times out of 10 and the best just over 4 times out of 10. So really pinch hitting Ruiz over MacDonald will only make a difference 1 out of 10 times or 10% of the time.
    My main beef with Cito is that we all know the team will not make the playoffs this season. Why not make things a little more exciting at the ballpark?
    Make some moves, make it look like you want to win at all costs. That is the way it should be!

    - Greg
  113. 113.

    Strange how Cito does a competent job with his pitchers but has no clue in managing his offense. Brett Wallace leads the his league in homeruns. That may matter little to Gaston since Randy Ruiz destroyed that same league last season. The Cito Gaston reign of terror will thankfully end this season. Do you even have the slightest clue into whoom they plan to manage the team next season?

    MW: Nope.

    - Domenick
  114. 114.

    Hi Mike,

    Don’t you think eventually the batters will figure out Cecil as he always displays the pitch he is about to throw during his windup?

    MW: No. I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as most people think – look at Terry Mulholland’s delivery, and he wound up doing OK.

    - Brent
  115. 115.

    Why is it that so many people in the sports domain — yes, callers to Jays Talk, but also supposedly polished sports journalists on certain unnamed popular Fan 590 programs — suffer from the odd delusion that when stating a belief in something, prefacing it with the words “I really do believe…” lends the opinion somehow more credibility? Does the fact that one claims to “really” believe it make it more logical, better supported empirically?

    If I could wave a magic wand and correct collective dumbness that would be my first order of business. Second would be fixing the annoying habit of using general count nouns to refer to specific count nouns: an Aaron Hill, a Vernon Wells.

    Sometimes I fear listening to the radio makes me stupider. Except for you Mike. You’re an oasis in a desert of cognitive despair.

    MW: And yet, I have used general count nouns to refer to specific count nouns in the past. Sorry about that.

    - Mikie
  116. 116.

    Hi Mike,

    I wasn’t sure of your email address so I will direct my comments and questions to you here. First of all, thank you for the job you do covering the Jays. You get an A+ on your knowledge and on how you deal with some callers :)

    I have 3 quesions for you. First what is the status of Joe Inglett? Has he been traded or is he still in the Jays system. Second, same question but for Russ Adams and thirdly, have you heard that the Phillies series in June will be disrupted at all by the G20 summit? I heard rumors that they are even possibly looking to relocate the series. Any truth to that?

    One more comment, I think getting to Rogers Centre is so convenient and if you made it easier, I think fans would come out and one way I believe this could be done is to have a go train stop closer to the dome. The train passes right by the wall of the Rogers Centre. I think it could easily be done.

    MW: 1 – Inglett was picked up on waivers a couple of times this past winter. He’s with the Brewers now. 2 – Adams was waived last season and picked up by the Padres. He’s now in the Mets’ organization, which means he plays just down the road in Buffalo. 3 – I don’t believe there’s any truth to the rumour that the Jays-Phillies series could be relocated. I think we’ll likely see the series pushed back a day, or maybe a Saturday doubleheader.

    - Bob
  117. 117.

    Michael,

    There has been a lot of chatter about the home attendance or lack thereof for the Jays this season.

    However, I wonder how important it is given the unique situation the Jays are by being Canada’s only MLB team?

    Does the fact that the Jays have a potential television and radio market of 30 million? (I know not everyone has cable.)

    - Uncle Ben
  118. 118.

    Michael,

    I’ve figured out two things fans and commentators alike can do about Cito’s questionable managerial decisions.

    1. Nothing.
    2. Like it.

    MW: The former will happen; the latter will not.

    - Uncle Ben
  119. 119.

    Thanks for your work on “Jays Talk” and the Blog never miss it.

    MW: Thank you

    - Larry Sipos
  120. 120.

    “MW: Not if that results in an empty bench and a pitcher in the field the next inning.”

    If Randy Ruiz gets on base, and there’s a higher chance of a pinchrunner scoring on whatever compared to Ruiz, doesn’t that use your original argument (about why Ruiz wasn’t pinch-hitting). Sure, the defense would look ugly with a pitcher in left field, but at least you used his speed to actually make it to the next inning.

    Let’s say similar situations occur three times within the next week – ALL pertaining to sitting Ruiz in a situation where you normally wouldn’t. What’s would be going through Randy’s head?

    MW: I’ll bet his confidence would be affected. The argument doesn’t extend to using a pitcher to run when your bench is empty – that’s only for a team that needs the win to make a playoff spot.

    - TheSunkenZealot
  121. 121.

    Mike,

    I like your Clash of the Titans reference…however, you are a little late. As a fantasy guy, I listen to ESPN Fantasy Focus Podcasts, and they used the “Unleash the Cracken” a few weeks ago as a nickname for Jason Heyward.
    Keep up the good work and keep enjoying Lyle’s A+ defense like a baseball fan should.

    MW: The Clash of the Titans reference wasn’t mine.

    - Matt
  122. 122.

    Yes, positate, to each his own not-quite-word list.

    Nice to know you read every word, Mike.

    MW: Always

    - Greg W
  123. 123.

    Relax Mike,

    You’re right but you’re talking about pinch hitting with a career minor leaguer over a guy who’s proven he can hit .230 for a bunch of years. It’s better with Ruiz but by such a small margin. It’s so small in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t deserve more than one sentence.

    MW: Untrue.

    - Jake Karns
  124. 124.

    Mike, in respect to “who plays in the 11th”, there was one other move available to Cito and company — move Lewis to the infield and Lind into the lineup in left. Sure, you lose the DH, but it’s probably at least two innings before that is an issue, and by then who knows what happens?

    As for Post #103, referencing pinch-running for Ruiz — hasn’t he already stolen a base this year? I think the weight he dropped in the off-season has allowed him to have at least “average” speed. He’s not a “total slug”!

    MW: Yes, they could have put Lind into the outfield, but the concern for me was that an outfielder was going to have to play the infield somewhere, Lind dioesn’t really alleviate that issue.

    - Norm
  125. 125.

    Hey Mike I pretty much agree with your astute comments – I respect that you have the mellons, but keep your head up! You’ve gotta think the suits at Sportsnet/TheFan/Rogers are within earshot of Jays suits. While I trust they support free speech and all, the top dog fully supports Cito – I’d hate to lose ya! Tread carefully…

    MW: Not gonna happen.

    - charles
  126. 126.

    I told you this would happen with Ruiz. The more media and fans talk about Cito not using Ruiz, the more Cito is going to bury this guy at the end of the bench.

    And what happened with my first round picks question? That’s a legit question wasn’t it?

    MW: Yes, and I answered it.

    - Jason Kim
  127. 127.

    Hi Mike:

    Cito’s move reminded us oldtimers of Jimy Williams on the last day of the 1987 collapse. For the last out, he sent up Garth Iorg for a weak tapper to the mound instead of using Cecil Fielder off the bench.

    MW: Cecil Fielder started that game at first base.

    - dieter
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