September 11, 2009

The Blame Game

Cito Gaston apparently "managed" during yesterday's ball game. Since it was a matinee affair, I cannot confirm it actually happened. It's one of life's mysteries: if The Cito manages, and no one is there to see it, did it really happen?

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I still believe in The Cito. The Tao of Stieb doesn't, not anymore. The Ack, he made relevant points in the comments section of The Tao's post: surely I cannot defend some, or many, of Cito's lineup and in-game decisions. Nobody can. The workings of Cito have shaved at least a year off my life.

(It seems Cito can't be trusted in the clubhouse, either. Gaston decided to tell the media that Rod Barajas isn't coming back in 2010. So they could, you know, run over and ask Barajas about it. Gaston's obviously well on his way to graduating from the J.P. Ricciardi School of Media and Public Relations.)

Look, I'm an idiot, but I'm not a complete idiot. The Cito's been brutal, almost all across the board. Lineups, bullpen management, in-game calls, Kevin Millar; you name it. Millar's been a nightmare. I fully well hope and expect to wake up and find out he never happened. Randy Ruiz should be playing. Every single mother fucking day. There's no way anyone in the entire Blue Jays organization can justify why Ruiz didn't play - not one at-bat - in a doubleheader against Texas on September 1st. There is no rhyme or reason. If there's any truth to the rumours that Travis Snider's stubbornness is clashing with The Cito's stubbornness ... may the good Lord help us all.

Did I mention Kevin Millar?

But, wait. Cito's faults are all exacerbated, greatly, by the losing. Let's face it: the 2009 Blue Jays are simply not very good. At all. And I don't believe Cito is what ails this team. Put another manager in the dugout, even John Gibbons, and this team still isn't competitive. There simply isn't anything Cito can do to make the boys come up big in the clutch.

The Ack and the Tao are right: everyone's got a hand the clusterfuck that is our Toronto Blue Jays. The Cito, Ricciardi, Paul Beeston, and the cats above Beeston. Everyone. The Tao put it most eloquently:

"Rogers is a piss-poor steward of the Jays. They should be ashamed of the mess they've made of this team."

If Beeston doesn't want to stick around, he needs to wrap up the Penske File, and hire a new God damn president. Otherwise end the charade, and take on the job for a few years. Everyone is sick to death of the lack of communication from management and ownership. I can't remember a time when the team's overall relationship with the media and fans was so poor. The faithful needs to be shown some progress - hell, some movement - right now and, other than Aaron Hill and Adam Lind, the on-field pickings are dire.

It's ironic that while I've spent most of this season defending Toronto's "idiot general manager," he's going through one of his worst seasons. I feel like George W. Bush's campaign manager. With the incredible amount of question marks moving forward, we might very well be at one of the all-time low points in the history of this franchise. (But let's please refrain from anymore comparisons to les Expos; they are more than premature; they're silly.)

While I'm not sure how the situation is going to improve, I'm able to find some solace in the fact that it can't possibly get much worse. (Actually, we could be Baltimore Orioles fans...)

I believe in Paul Beeston. I've got no other choice.


bkblades said...

Don't look now, but virtually every baseball publication has now labeled the Baltimore Orioles as the new team on the rise and our Blue Jays as the defacto 5th place team. When was the last time we even had a serious discussion about the Orioles having if not a brighter future, then at least a clearer future than the Jays? It's a disgrace.

QJays said...

I have generally agreed with the belief that managing makes a relatively small difference in the overall record of the team, but I think that this has to be based on having an assumed "average" level of reasonable managing decisions, so deviations from that average are "at the margins" and therefore the only things that make the difference are usually risky in nature and could have gone either way. However, I'm not sure this applies to Cito -- I think we haven't seen enough basic "reasonable" managing to assume this. So perhaps that is why we end up with a team that has a positive run differential, and yet a record more than 10 games below what anybody predicted at the start and a mind-blowingly bad record in single-run games.

Of course, like you say Eyebleaf, this team is not likely competitive under any manager (which is fine, nobody - including the GM - thought they would be this year), and we can't assume a different manager would have had a significantly better record. The hitting simply has not come where we expected it to.

I'm just saying ... it's my perspective on all this that JP has done a reasonably good job with the resources he's been given, but Cito hasn't. I think it's unlikely Cito is the right person to manage this team going forward, but to each his own. I remain optimistic because "there's always next year ..."

Ugh - starting to see why I confined myself to single sentence questions on my own blog?

William said...

"...feel like George Bush's campaign manager." Hehe. Good one.

There seems to be a basic disconnect between the talent evaluators and the manager. Look at Boston and New York. Both have powerful GMs in place. It seems that they work with their managers to put the best players in the game on a daily basis. Perhaps Ricciardi doesn't work with Gaston to do the same.

Ruiz is a good point in that disconnect. Ruiz is one of Ricciardi's pieces. Wouldn't it make sense for Ricciardi to work with Gaston and say, "Look, this guy is a puzzle piece for the future. We aren't going anywhere, so let's give him a shot." But that doesn't happen. Instead, Gaston is free to pencil in Millar. If Ricciardi was doing what he should be doing, Millar would be released.

All this is speculation for me because I don't know the inner workings of the team. I just know that Gaston wouldn't be allowed to put players on the field who can't perform if he were managing elsewhere.

Maybe for that reason, Gaston isn't the right guy. Maybe Ricciardi needs a guy he can work with. Who knows. Always thought that Gaston was underrated, but maybe his time has gone by.

Pension Plan Puppets said...

Hard to make chicken salad out of chicken shit. Any manager would look bad with a shitty team that's been decimated by injuries to their few good players.

The Ack said...

re: Beeston, the thing that royally pisses me off, is he is now admitting that the "aimlessness" of the organization is probably keeping fans away.

And yet, he seemingly just shrugs his shoulders and reverts to the "plan will be revealed in short order" routine.

That's not good enough anymore.

Shit or get off the pot. Fuck all this waiting around.

I'd expand, but I'll probably post about it this weekend, and quite frankly, I'm running out of material in this shitnami of a season.

eyebleaf said...

@ BK: When the Orioles leap us in the standings, I'll take them seriously. If they can't jump us this year, in this most pathetic season, they never will.

@ Q: Epic comment. I'm not sure I can blame Cito for the one-run game record. Baseball is a game of luck. That's what makes it so beautiful. And like I've said before, this team has angered the baseball Gods. While I still support Cito, I can definitely understand why people think he's not the right man going forward. It's easy to point out his shortcomings. He was great in 2008, to close it out. 2009 started off as one big tease, and then the team careened into the abyss. 2010 will be the test for Cito. He deserves another shot. I just can't stay mad at The Cito.

@ William: Perhaps Cito hates Ricciardi, and is making a mockery out of him by penciling Millar into the lineup every so often. It's his way of protesting the waste of space in the lineup that is Millar. As if to say, if this is what you're giving me, this is what you're going to get. It would be incredibly small and short-sighted if that was the case, but Cito is apparently one stubborn cat. (Just to be clear, not even I believe that this is in fact the case.)

@ PPP: Hard to make chicken salad out of chicken shit. One of life's truisms, right there. A healthy Marcum, and a Vernon Wells who doesn't resemble the impostor we now have patrolling CF, will go a long, long way.

@ The Ack: Nicely done with shitnami. In an extremely futile attempt to return to glory, legacies - Cito and Beeston - are being tarnished. It ain't right, man. I can't wait to get a whiff of Beeston's "plan." Hopefully it isn't five years long...

Tao of Stieb said...


I hate that idea that Cito is a victim of circumstance because of the lousy roster and the injuries.

Cito hasn't made the most out of the roster at all this season. He let his grudges against Accardo dictate how he managed the bullpen.

Having Kevin Millar hit cleanup for this team isn't a sign that Cito is willing to scrap it out for every win that he can eek out of this team. It's a sign that he just doesn't give a fuck what anybody thinks.

Cito knows that he can walk away and still have sway in this organization. He knows that he's going to be around longer than Ricciardi, and he doesn't care to listen to anybody else's notions about how to run this team.

eyebleaf said...

@ Tao: I agree, Cito's no victim, but circumstance has to come into play. At the end of the day, Cito isn't the one shuttling Accardo to and from Vegas. Jeremy's pissed off upper management; not just Cito. It seems like everyone's colluding against him. Cito can't win. I understand leaving Hill and Lind in their respective spots in the lineup, because they're mashing and you don't want to mess with a good thing. After Rolen left, what option does he have for #4? Wells? Millar? Ruiz? Jo-Bau? Snider? All of those are losing propositions. From reading "Chasing Steinbrenner," Ricciardi has no in-game sway as a GM. So there's definitely something to your point that Cito doesn't give a shit about anybody else's ideas on how to run this team.

Anonymous said...

The Orioles have more upside right now.

We'll leave the keys to the cellar door in your mailbox. Enjoy 2010.

eyebleaf said...

@ Anon: Dude, that comment is BEGGING for a wager. Come back, and put your money where your keyboard is.

Mattt said...

Exacerbated I think is what you meant...

eyebleaf said...

@ Mattt: Way to copy edit. I looked that shit up in the dictionary, too. I guess that's the U.S. version? I changed it. Much respect. Bottom line: I trust you got my point, which is I'm not moving out of CitoCity just yet.

Mattt said...

I agree that Cito is not the big issue. His lack of options are and I don't even know who to point the finger at for that anymore...

Kathleen said...

I would have to blame it on the manager.