Parting shots

PITTSBURGH — It goes without saying that the coaches who were recently let go by the Blue Jays aren’t happy, and know that the coaches who survived the firings aren’t all pleased with everything that’s gone on around the team either.

This was a tough weekend for a lot of people around the Jays camp.

The coaches who are still with the club — pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, bench coach Brian Butterfield and bullpen coach Bruce Walton — are each only signed through this year and it’s an open question whether they may consider their options at the end of the season in light of the recent developments.

Former first-base coach and long-time Toronto coach/player Ernie Whitt is the first of the fired coaches to air his thoughts. Here’s some of what he told the Toronto Sun in a story by Bob Elliott in today’s paper:

“The word ‘disappointment’ doesn’t fit. The word ‘shock’ doesn’t accurately describe how I feel.

“I understand that, when a team is not performing, the manager’s job is on the line. When we’re not hitting, the hitting instructor’s job is on the line. Usually, if the manager is fired, the bench takes over or the bench coach is fired. This is difficult to accept or to understand.

“J.P. Ricciardi wanted me to quit last year by re-assigning me. He has wanted to get rid of me for a while. All the time I was there, he never once asked my opinion. Gibbons would, as a game would unfold.

“I thought I had people in my corner. I go back a long way with Paul Godfrey, with people close to the team like Herb Solway and Paul Beeston. … I’m beyond angry, I’m beyond shock. I am trying to take the high road, but if I did something wrong, I wish they’d have explained it to me.

“I thought giving my loyalty and passion to the game, the city of Toronto, the Jays fans and this organization meant something. The love I have for this organization, my God, and all of a sudden it has been pulled away. That’s the biggest disappointment. The best answer I can come up with is they thought it was a good time to get rid of me.

“I still feel I’m the best manager Toronto has never hired.”

Today’s lineups:

TORONTO (35-41) at PITTSBURGH (36-39)
at 1:35 p.m. ET at PNC PARK

Marco Scutaro, SS
Joe Inglett, 2B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Scott Rolen, 3B
Gregg Zaun, C
Adam Lind, LF
Dustin McGowan, P

Luis Rivas, 2B
Jack Wilson, SS
Nate McLouth, CF
Jason Bay, LF
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Jason Michaels, RF
Jose Bautista, 3B
Raul Chavez, C
Ian Snell, P


  1. gsjays

    This just proves what I have posted earlier. The real problem is at the top down. It’s well past time for Mr. Rogers to move Godfrey into a different position within Rogers and bring in Pat Gillick or some other good baseball man as President. Jp is becoming a daily embarrassment in handling team affairs.

  2. brebber

    I agree with the firings of Gibbons and the other coaches, but i do not think this should be the last firing we see from the Jays this year. Gibbons and the others deserved to be fired because of the teams performance but so does Jp. Ricciardi said he could build a winning team on less money than the Jays are spending now and it didn’t work, in my mind his only real claim of any success is being Billy Beane’s protege but the Oakland GM hasn’t won anything using his system and Ricciardi hasn’t won anything with his own version of the system. Ricciardi needs to be fired ASAP and then the Blue Jays can start to rebuild their team and fix the mistakes made by that greasy rat of a GM.


    So a guy with no real experience thinks he’s the best manager the Jays never hired. With all due respect to Ernie, give me a break.
    Good win on Sunday by the Jays. The only concern that remains was that it was 2 of the worst pitchers in the league numbers wise, but kudos to them for getting the job done regardless. I was especially happy to see Adam Lind have the day that he had.

  4. hemgold

    Although I’m kind of on the fence when it comes to JP (I don’t think he’s nearly as bad or as good as his critics and supporters believe he is), Ernie Whitt really stuck his foot in his mouth here. Ernie did a lot of great things for the Jays as a player, but where does he come off saying that everyone on the coaching staff is to blame except him? And “I’m the best manager the Jays never hired”? Give me a break! He has no minor league experience and he’s managed Team Canada for a couple of weeks here and there. That’s hardly the credentials to slide right into a Major League managerial position.

    Good luck to Ernie, but he’s got to learn to keep his mouth shut. Didn’t he learn anything from the JP/Dunn fallout?

  5. goodluckdoc

    So now we know Dunn is not coming back, Whitt is not coming back and AJ is prolly not gonna come back and how many countless other players that we don’t know about that don’t wanna come to Toronto because of JP…he deserves to be fired, personally i don’t think he made the team any better with a higher payroll.


    I seems to me like the players aren’t really happy about the coaching changes. Guys like Wells and Rolen have defended Denbo etc. saying that the lack of agressiveness was never the game plan. It’s the hitters just not getting the job done. Then you have a guy like Tennace coming in saying he needs to “reprogram” the hitters. Maybe it’s just me but if I was struggling and a guy said he wanted to “reprogram” me I would tell him to stick it! Hitting is a mechanical element just like pitching and all it takes is a tinny little hitch to throw you off your timing… But Tenace isn’t really big on mechanics, he is more of a mental guy. Ha. We should just hire shrinks to run this team if that’s all there is to it.

  7. goodluckdoc

    LOL…well we tried Denbo he didn`t work…the thing was that Gaston wanted his own staff so Tenace was in and lets see if he works (the 8 run showing worked though)


    from what I hear Stairs actually implied that he is happy that Denbo was fired. I’m sure there are others, but that’s all i’ve heard so far. Some guys probably just don’t want to slag the guy after his been fired.


    Oh and Wells is generally a swing early in the count type of guy anyway, so naturally Denbo wouldn’t effect him as much. A guy like Overbay however seemed to take a lot of pitches then magically swung at the first one in the bat that he doubled in Pittsburgh. Coincidence ? probably….we’ll obviously need to see a bigger sample size.


    Don’t get me wrong, I think a coaching change was needed because you can’t trade your entire team away… I just wasn’t a big fan of the way Tennace was speaking. It was a me me me I I I thing and I can’t stand that, especially from a COACH. It is up to the hitters to know their strengths and use them, plain and simple. It is up to the coach to point out flaws in mechanics and help a hitter prepare, not to “reprogram” a hitter.

  11. ukjaysfan


    I’m gonna disagree with you here. From a technical angle, I don’t think anything is wrong with most of the hitters swings and such. I think the problem is they’ve been ‘programmed’ if you like, to take pitches, work counts, and try to get on base by any way possible. While admirable in itself, walks and sacrifices alone don’t make for a winner. These guys aren’t major league hitters by fluke. They -CAN- hit. I think Tenace is just saying – “Let’s get these guys back to doing what they can do” A guy with 40 years of baseball experience most likely has a trick or two that can relax a hitter, or get him thinking “I’m going to hit this pitch” rather than “I need to defend the plate”. I would argue that Tenace is basically trying to lead by example with a bit of overt confidence.

    “Hey if he’s confident in me – I’ll be confident in me” – that sort of thing.

    Just my 2 cents.

  12. gsjays

    I really wonder why JP thinks he can tell news guys BS and not have them check his story-does he think they’re stupid or something? Like what the hell is wrong with this guy?

    JP-they already have oupegged as a habitual liar, so next time don’t bs them, particulary on an issue as stupid as this.


    I agree Sumner.
    It’s getting ridiculous when it comes to what he says.
    Really quick inning by Burnett, very nice to see.


    It’s hard not to believe a hitting coach doesn’t make much of a difference when i’m witnessing this. Such a different approach for these guys so far.

  15. goodluckdoc

    Tenace and Gaston’s charm is working, LIND IS HITTING (if he can keep this going, boy he is gonna be great for us imagine an outfeild with wells, rios and lind where each of the mare hitting at the top of their potential)

    and totally agree with last comment rmatty

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