Toronto Sun- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was asked prior to Thursday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles how his club was holding up with the pressure to make the playoffs getting hotter and hotter.
“Good for the most part,” Gibbons said. “There’s definitely frustration. There’s going to be. That’s the game, you’re at it every day. But I think that’s always been one of the pluses of this group. Things don’t stick with them.”
But you have to wonder. You have to wonder if this team, once clearly in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot but now fighting tooth and nail just to make the wild card, is coming apart at the seams and if there’s a leadership void inside the clubhouse.
Why, for example, would the leaders on the team allow someone to put up on a wall photos of two Toronto sports writers with an ‘X’ scratched on their face and the a message written on top reading, ‘Do not grant them interviews’ (or words to that effect)?
On the surface, a pretty juvenile stunt. But also unprofessional. And it’s something, a couple of journalists pointed out to a Jays official, the New York Yankees would never allow in their clubhouse.
Things like: Someone cranking up the music just when the media arrives to conduct pre-game interviews. That’s happened more than a couple of times. It happened again on Thursday. Again, on the surface, silly, stupid. But, again, unnecessary. The media have a job to do, just like the players. Fans almost always take the side of the players when there’s an issue with the media, but teams with confidence and swagger don’t need to pulls stunts like putting pictures of writers on a wall.
There was an incident the other night when a couple of journalists tried to corral struggling closer Roberto Osuna for an interview, but he kept blowing them off. Finally, one reporter followed him right into a private part of the clubhouse and told him off. Certainly something nobody, especially a young player like Osuna, needs.
Following a loss a few weeks ago, the starting pitchers retreated into a room for a meeting and then wandered back into the clubhouse. A good dozen or more writers and broadcasters witnessed what went down and naturally someone asked Marcus Stroman (who started that day) what the meeting was about. Stroman told the guy that it was none of his business.
First let me say this before the tens of people who read this site come at my neck. I am not a Blue Jays fan. I like baseball. But I am not a fan of this team and have never been. So I believe that this can be written from someone who sees this team differently from most people in this city.
This Jays team is the biggest bunch of cry babies in baseball. They are a group who want the spotlight of the league, but can’t handle the hate that they helped create. Bat-flipping, strike out celebrations, and overall swag are something that is NEEDED in baseball. It actually gets fans and people who call this game “slow” interested in the game. There always needs to be a certain flair and excitement in baseball. Last season the Jays were that team who accomplished that with their antics. Sure it makes old guys like Goose Gossage lose their damn minds. But if your going to play and build your identity on being the MLB’s flashy new bully, than you have to be ready for the hate.
This means expecting guys like Rougned Odor to try and clock Bautista (he did if your behind on this). Knowing that the Yankees, Red Sox and O’s are going to be coming for you this season, and try too embarrass you while they do it. You would think that the Jays would understand this concept, since they seemed to embrace it during the entire 2016 season. But instead they have a BRUTAL September. Lose the division title to the Red Sox. Start a brawl with the Yankees where they lost the series, the fight, and one of their most effective arms out of the bullpen in Benoit. And now this reporter stuff.
If your going to be the same guys who celebrate and show such emotion with every single thing that you do on the diamond. Than you have to be able to explain yourself to the media. It doesn’t matter if some reporters like Feschuk, or Simmons, get in your grill and ask you obvious and insulting questions about your or the team’s performance. But to be the same group of guys who call Chase Headley and the Yankees sheep, but then put up some dudes from the Star’s face with an “x” and dodge and interview. You look like the entitled brats that the league hates you for being. Nothing proves this more than having Stroman angry and ranting to the media, while this same team pushes HDMH gear in the Jays shop.
What’s even more absurd, is the legion of fans online and off it who push this narrative of “the media” somehow being at fault. The idea that this teams performance would somehow be better if nobody covered them, or if it was just Shi Davidi just standing alone in the clubhouse shows the stupidity of Toronto fans. Toronto, is just like New York, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, St. Louis, and L.A. It’s a massive city. A big baseball town. And a team with a high payroll. There are expectations here just like in those cities, and when they are not met. Of course questions are gonna be asked. Do these guys in the clubhouse actually think it’s so bad here? I have not ever seen a NY Post type article or hatchet job in my life on this team. The honest truth here is simple. These guys are choking at the wrong time, and they know it. The fans know it too. That’s why they are so defensive. But it’s obvious that if this clubhouse spent more time focused about playing these three games more than they did about these two writers. Maybe they wouldn’t have this scenario in Boston.