Bo Knows Baseball
BOSTON – I get done with a nice, relaxing train ride from the Big Apple to Beantown, swapping ball stories with Al from Philadelphia, who is in his 70s and was telling me about watching Ted Williams’ smooth stroke in games back in the day at old Shibe Park, and I step into my hotel room and imediately get a phone call.
The search is over. Your Toronto Blue Jays have hired the one and only Gary Denbo to replace the self-proclaimed goat, Mickey Brantley, as the club’s new hitting coach. Denbo comes to the Jays after serving as the Yankees’ roving hitting instructor and he’s now been given the task of righting the offensive ship that sunk and flat-out stunk during this past season for Toronto.
Denbo never played in the Majors and barely cracked the Mendoza line over four Minor League seasons in the Reds system back in the ’80s, but he’s maintained various coaching/managing/front office/scouting jobs with the Reds, Yankees, Indians, and even those pesky Ham Fighters over in Japan.
Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said the club had a list of names that they had interest in for the job, but the Jays only ended up interviewing Denbo and Toronto’s own roving hitting guy, Dwayne Murphy. Ricciardi received permission to talk to Denbo from Yanks GM Brian Cashman, received glowing remarks from the likes of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, and added that Denbo blew them away in the interview.
Ricciardi went on to say that the Blue Jays need to find their identity as an offensive club, much like the Yankees and Red Sox have done. Toronto likes the way Denbo focusses on preparation, and Ricciardi said his new hitting coach is big on breaking down video. Toronto’s GM also indicated that hiring Denbo was more his call rather than Gibbons, who was "on board" with the decision. Brantley was Gibbons’ pick at the time he was hired.