Oh right. The Jays fired J.P. this weekend. How could I forget. Was it the right move? It was certainly inevitable, so what difference does it make arguing? I do, however, take umbrage with the way it was handled and what it means for the future of this team.
I've hardly been shy with my feelings on Paul Beeston. Most Jays writers seem to love him, and that I get. All signs point to him treating them like actual human beings and his schlubby, shambolic everyman persona makes him relatable and likely sympathetic. Despite my harsh words as the firing was announced I doubt I'd take a hard stance in a face to face setting. If he were here right now I'm sure he'd politely decline my mother's offer of Bagel Bits while praising her for giving her son the opportunity to bang away at her computer with his cloven hooves. My mother and I would blush and make excuses and allowances without recognizing the serious pull Beeston has in corner offices all over North America.
That said, two things appear to colour every decision Beeton's made and they do nothing to endear him to me.
- I get the distinct impression Paul Beeston doesn't think too highly of the baseball fans in this city.
- I also get the distinct impression Paul Beeston doesn't think there is any chance of building a winner in Toronto.
These two things are clearly related but one is worse than the other. I get the sense Beeston realized building a winner in Toronto was impossible on or around Day One of his second stint in Toronto. Everything he's done sinks of him delivering a very specific message to the suits at Rogers: "we can't win but I can certainly make you money."
The events of this weekend only solidify this in my mind. People coming down on the sentimental manager? Protect his unsullied reputation and fire the wildly unpopular GM two days before the season ends! That quickly quashed any discussion of Cito's future, didn't it?
And what forward-thinking young man will you hire to take over as GM? I'm sure this new man provides the fresh vision and unique outlook required to steer his moribund franchise in the right direction, right? Oh, it's a long-serving lieutenant of the old guy! Why inject new blood or start fresh when you can milk the "good Canadian boy finally reaches the apex through hard work and good Canadian perserverance" story as the season winds down.
Each and every move a cynical play at sentimentality, calculated & designed to distract the fanbase from the futility of their pursuit without turning them off completely. Goodwill money looks the same as hope money but it comes much cheaper. Cut the payroll, lay off staff, all the while counting on our worst Canadian instincts of flag-waving and heritage stroking.
It isn't that I believe Alex Anthopolous will do a poor job or is undeserving of his promotion. But are to believe he is some front office savant, held down under J.P.'s oppressive thumb all this time? Once HE calls the shots, things will be different? Somehow I doubt it. It's taken Beeston nearly one full year to find a replacement president, yet he spent all of 0 minutes scouring the world for his next GM? Horseshit.
This isn't the time nor the situation for more of the same. They need to think completely outside the box because not matter how much Rogers is willing to spend, the box will always be too small. So here is my idea:
Another retread GM with mixed results in another market won't do. Best case scenario with an experienced baseball hand; he/she (somehow) improves on JP's draft record, fixes the injury woes and the team suddenly (magically?) improves their situational hitting. Why not just take the $120 million bucks and put it down on 17 at Rama?
Like any smart mid-sized corporation, the Jays need to eschew the MBAbots that swept through front offices over the last decade. Like the wise companies, they need a fresh outlook and unique skillsets. Hire an MFA with a design background and a Computer Science/analytical type. Lock them both in a room with Tom Tango and don't let anybody out until they've changed the world.
They need to fire from completely new angles because the Yankees and Rays defenses are too strong. Innovate or wither on the vine. Do something. Just don't sell the same shitty cake made by the same short-order cook. Just do something I won't expect.