If, for some inexplicable reason, you mention "star-six-nine" to someone, you stand to get one of a couple distinct reactions. For people of a certain age&mdash born in the 90s or later&mdash you are likely to receive a quizzical look. People over 40 are likely to give you weathered version of the same look. The group of people who were teenagers or young adults in the early nineties likely used the crap out of *69, likely because they didn't pay the bills or have much else to do.
That doesn't mean any rational person remembers this telecommunications application with any fondness, it was like sexual discretion: you used it because you were young, dumb, and didn't have any other option.
Somehow, in spite of all rationale and reason, the same theory does not apply to Cito Gaston. No matter how far into the rearview mirror his triumph disappear, no matter how far out of touch with the modern player he seems to be, Cito sticks. In a power struggle between the members of the coaching staff held over from a previous regime and his band of cuddly codgers, Cito sticks.
The Blue Jays pitching staff is very young, this much we know. The Blue Jays pitching staff held Brad Arnsburg is high esteem, this much we know. Turning this young staff over to an inexperienced pitching coach seems like folly to me, but he is an in-house guy and known to the players.
It isn't that I want to see Cito fired or dismissed. It is the message it sends to the fans of this team. The hardcore fans, the long-suffering fans. The message is simple: you don't matter. Sending out a lameduck manager in a rebuilding year? Pointless. Why keep a manager in place when he isn't part of the plan?
What does a six month farewell to the game net Blue Jays fans and supporters? Nothing. How many times does Beeston plan to sheer this same sheep? If the results on the field don't match up, this is just another sad chapter in the Jays ever-growing history of selling us something we already own. Personally, I don't want to rehash the past any more. I can only assume season ticket holders feel the same way. Beeston seems intent on recapturing the public that made the Jays the number one show in town back in the heyday. Too bad it won't work. The face of Toronto is decidedly different, if you want to grow a business in Toronto in 2010, you're going to need to capture fans who either weren't born or possibly weren't even Canadians in 1992. They sure as shit don't care who Cito Gaston is. They, like everyone else, want to cheer and celebrate and party on Yonge Street celebrating something new and real, not old and repackaged.
By my count there are two managers making victory laps in 2010: Cito and Bobby Cox. That they both managed in the 1992 World Series and both used to manage the Blue Jays are where the similarities end. Cox has taken great teams to the World Series and taken crappy teams to the playoffs. He took a team that lost Nate McClouth&mdash and missed him!&mdash into the last week of the season with a shot at the wildcard. Cito can make no such claim. One man has been a constant for his team, leading them to countless playoff appearances and disappointments. The other left his first tenure from the team in a huff, didn't receive another chance in the big leagues (right or wrong) and returned to oversee three good months of baseball. One is owed a victory lap, the other not so much.
If, as the hopefully still employed Jeremy Sandler points out, it is a "shot across the bow" of disgruntled players; I can't think of a worse strategy. Alienate the players in a difficult recruiting market at the best of times while ceding power to an increasingly aloof manager with nothing to lose or gain? That sounds a lot like suicide to me.