Black and Blue Jays

What else could possibly happen?

Toronto’s season has been marred by the Shea Hillenbrand saga, Bengie Molina’s vent session about playing time, J.P. Ricciardi’s published rant that criticized the team’s effort, the recent report that claimed Vernon Wells said he did not want to come back to Toronto after next year, and now a heated confrontation between manager John Gibbons and Ted Lilly.

Isn’t this kind of stuff supposed to be limited to the Bronx?

Not a whole lot is being said (liked we’d expect otherwise) about what exactly took place between Gibbons and Lilly in the tunnel behind the dugout. All I know is seeing one lone Blue Jay sitting on the bench, while the others scurried to see what all the fuss was about in the tunnel, was a classic camera shot.

Some photographers near the dugout said they saw Gibbons shove Lilly, grab at his shirt, or something to that effect, and then the pitcher appeared to take a swing at the manager. Both Gibbons and Lilly said no punches were thrown.

There was a TV shot that showed Gibbons wiping his mouth with a towel, while team trainer George Poulis stood by him and looked on. Gibbons said having Poulis talking to him in the dugout was no big deal and team officials said the towel wipe looked like it had more to do with the tobacco in Gibbons mouth than anything else.

There’s one thing that’s certain: Gibbons is gaining national attention for all the wrong reasons. Before this year, he’s kind of flown under the radar as far as big league managers go. Now, it’s been written in papers across Canada and in the States and reported on TV all over that he, A) Challenged Hillenbrand to a fight on July 19 and, B) Got into a fight — whether it was a physical one or not — with Lilly on Monday night.

I don’t think that’s the kind of reputation Gibbons should be gaining. From talking to some of Toronto’s players last night, though, they don’t seem to feel his anger is an issue. Vernon Wells said it shows that he is just a fierce competitor he has a strong desire to win. Jays President and CEO Paul Godfrey said he didn’t see similarities between the Hillenbrand and Lilly incidents.

Many people will probably say this latest episode could cost Gibbons his job, but honestly, I don’t think it will. After the Hillenbrand confrontation, Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi (who wasn’t available for comment on Monday) said Gibby’s job was more secure than ever. If the Lilly incident was merely two guys whose emotions were firing on all cylinders and the fight was a mutual one, which Lilly said he believed it was, then I don’t see Gibbons’ job security slipping much. Besides, Lilly isn’t considered to be part of the plans for 2007.

Anyway, that’s my brief take on the whole situation, which will probably continue to unfold over the next couple days. I’m curious to see what some of you fans think about Gibbons’ outbursts. Keep the comments flowing…

15 Comments

Now do you believe Shea? Gibbons is a loose cannon & failure as manager. Better jettison him at seasons end!

There is a fine line between being passionate and just plain unprofessional. Gibbons crossed that line last night and it appears he was close to crossing that line with Shea Hillenbrand so I think it is time the Jays parted ways with Gibby.

I agree with gene and derek. Gibbons is a failure as a manager and we need a new and better one.We got a much better lineup than last year, but we are just a few games better. Gibbons needs to stop using ryan in 8th innings and some of the non-save situiations.
I also think that we should sign gil meche from seattle and let go of lilly.

I was really pumped for this season with the new lineup. The addition of Glauss, Burnett, Overbay and Molina give the Jays an exciting lineup. However, John Gibbons is not the manager who will take Toronto to the next step. Gibbons has to go, maybe he can coach the Leafs. He is better suited in the NHL where fighting is allowed..

I’m afraid I have the add my voice to the three above. I’m usually not the first to suggest firing a manager — he’s often just a scapegoat — but in this case, there definitely seems to be something wrong. Can it really be a coincidence? These things don’t seem to be happening to other managers so frequently.

Even if it wasn’t Gibbons’ fault, how excited are free agents going to be to sign with a team who’s manager has the kind of reputation he’s quickly building for himself?

Gibbons is only the tip of the iceberg. He needs to go NOW and be replaced by someone who can handle the type of players the Jays have. The bigger issue is Ricciardi. This guy has traded or given away an all-star team for players who have failed to produce or are just plain over priced. His commitment to Toronto and Blue Jays fans extends only as far as his personal bank account. Dump this turkey and his ill-advised “Oakland” model and find someone who knows how to build a winner before the Jays end up in Portland or some other destination south of the border.

Ricciardi is the firs that should be dumped for standing behind a manager that would challenge one of his players to a fist fight in the dressing room in front of the rest of the team. WhethER HILLDEBRAND WAS RIGHT OR WRONG THAT IS STRICTLY BUSH TO DEAL WITH IT THAT WAY. He has dealt awy enough good players and got nothing in return to form a pretty good team. Dump them both and get someone with some brains

Ricciardi is the firs that should be dumped for standing behind a manager that would challenge one of his players to a fist fight in the dressing room in front of the rest of the team. WhethER HILLDEBRAND WAS RIGHT OR WRONG THAT IS STRICTLY BUSH TO DEAL WITH IT THAT WAY. He has dealt awy enough good players and got nothing in return to form a pretty good team. Dump them both and get someone with some brains

This whole situation is being blown out of proportion. This happens all the time in the game of baseball. It just so happens that the cameras caught the incident. Gibbons is the kind of manager that the game sorely needs, “old school”. Passion and intensity is what that organization needs. If he is let go he will have plenty of offers for his services. Toronto should be happy that they are now relevant.

Although many people would probably not like to give him one, Gibbons probably deserves another chance to show that he can control his emotions. Riccardi, on the other hand, needs to be fired. Not immediately, but if things build up the way I expect them to and Riccardi cant resign Wells just because of Burnett, Glaus, and Ryan’s big money contracts, he should be let go. A Wells extension through 2012 or 2013 seeing as he is only 27 should have been priority #1 for J.P. last offseason. If Wells leaves it will be like a Jenga game and when he is pulled out all the other pieces will come falling down.

p.s. this is the first i’ve heard of lilly not coming back for next year. He is off and on but can be a good pitcher. any more feedback on this subject?

I agree with ukgocats3 wells is our number one priority because he is the leader of the jays offense. He’s got power, hits for average, okay speed and drives in runs. if we don’t have enough money to sign wells then i would say give up spier or frasor or towers for cash considerations. Also if wells doesn’t want to sign with the jays, which i don’t believe then get a player from the yanks cause then they have abreau, damon, sheffeild, matsui, bernie williams and cabrera. Next priority would be signing meche cause i doubt lilly is going to return and then cattalanotto should be resigned. Give up russ adams and some relievers for a good shortstop. Frankly i don’t think that mcgowan is good. call up rosario, romero maybe janessan as long reliver and marcum as fifth starter.

Even if Wells doesn’t want to extend his contract, does that mean the Jays have to trade him? Keep the core of the offense the same in 2007. If the Jays win the division (or better), maybe Wells will decide he wants to stay in a contending city. If not, Rios may have grown into the role Wells currently fills by then.

I would like to see Gibbons fired right now and Whitt installed as the interim manager.

I think everyone needs to take a deep breath with regards to this situation with Lilly and Gibbons. Yes, Gibbons probably shouldn’t have followed Lilly down the tunnel but this is the type of situation that happens every year with just about every club. Really, we won’t even be talking about it a week from now. Gibbons and Lilly are competitors and I have no problem with them getting a little fired up over something like this.

With regards to JP, I’m not really sure what people want out of him. He’s had his hands tied a little bit financially and hasn’t always made decisions that worked out. But, he’s still the guy who got Wells signed to a great long-term deal, made a great deal to pickup Spier, made a phenomenal deal to pickup Glaus, signed possibly the top two free agent pitchers last year. Re-signed Halladay. . . On the whole, I think he’s done a great job.

Finally, remember it takes two to tango with regards to Wells. If Wells doesn’t want to stay in Toronto that’s not really JP’s fault. JP has stated several times he wants to keep Wells and why wouldn’t he. Also, would we rather have JP hold his money last winter and wait to the end of this season to spend it all so Wells can decide if he wants to stay or go? Just like Halladay, I’m sure JP would have extended Wells if that’s what Wells wanted. . .

As we’ve all seen, Toronto went through yet another year of a pitching staff comprising Halladay. Burnett seems to be rounding into form but Chacin’s arm is uncertain, Towers should never be brought back and Lily just needs to leave. So, if Wells won’t sign a long term deal? Trade him to Houston for Roy Oswalt. Rios could move to center and Johnson could play right. Pitching wins titles.

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