Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
When it rains, it pours.

Not one of the organisation's finest days

The Lilly Thing: . Jordan Bastien has a reasoned look at the incident (video included if you haven't seen it) some key quotes:

Lilly: "There were no punches thrown..."
Gibbons: "I wasn't bloodied and he wasn't bloodied. Clarify that -- nobody got bloodied."
Lilly: ""This was a bad day, I embarrassed the organization..."
Lilly and Gibbons both deny making physical contact, whilst the CP photographer claims the two were wrestling before George Poulis jumped in to break things up. So, we don't know what happened, the people who were there can't even agree on what happened and everything else is just supposition. The one thing I'm not buying is that this along with the Hillenbrand incident means anything along the lines of Gibbon's losing the clubhouse, the atmosphere being 'poisoned' or any other assorted piffle. I always think Occam's razor should always be applied to these situations, before we go jumping to silly conclusions.
I'm glad to see Ted Lilly showing some contrition and taking some responsibility for what happened, I'd be more reassured if Gibby was do something similiar, I disagree with Mike Wilner that this is all on Lilly's head.

The Jays lost a pretty whacky game while all this was going on.

Star of the Game: Bobby Kielty had a pretty good game in his old stomping ground. He had three hits a homer and four RBI.

For the Jays: Vernon had another big night at the plate with four hits and three driven in.

Defensive Play of the Game:
Lots of good leather flashed by both teams, which went some way to help out the mostly miserbale pitching. Troy Glaus made some nice plays particularly running in and bare handing a high chopper in the early Innings then throwing in an instant to first to nab Jay Payton. John McDonald was excellent as well and had the best play with a shovel glove pass to Hill in the fifth to start a DP.

Elsewhere in the East: Tampa Bay edged Texas on a strong start by Jamie Shields and an improbable three scoreless bullpen Innings. New York (as you may have heard) completed a five game sweep of Boston and sent Red Sox nation into a predictable and familiar gloomy anger.

Tonight: Burnett against Halsey.
TDIB: A's beat Jays | 101 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#153774) #
I can't see how anyone not close to the team can say if Gibbons has or hasn't lost the clubhouse.  How would we possibly know?

These could easily be two isolated incidents.  Hillenbrand has had a reputation as a loose cannon.  The Lilly and Gibbons thing has happened between managers and pitchers for over a century.  Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver had incidents like this all the time.  It shows you how much baseball has changed - if this was say, 1975, I don't think this event would be all that remarkable.  I think that's certainly a change for the better - you never want to see people scrapping with their managers in any business.

Christopher - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#153775) #
I also disagree with Wilner's take on the Lilly/Gibbons scenario. 

A caller last night (George I think) suggested that Lilly's behaviour should not be excused, but that Gibbons should not have gone right into the clubhouse after him, rather he should have let Lilly cool down first.  I believe Wilner's response was along the lines that Gibbons would have appeared emasculated in front of the team.

The caller's take was that Gibbons would have gained more respect for the team by letting cooler heads prevail.  Personally, I agree with this.

the mick - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#153776) #
I think it's just an embarrassment. While you can say that Hillenbrand is a loose cannon, and that Lilly has blown his top before, these are still players J.P. went out and got, and these "heated" confrontations make this seem like a bad little league team. Lilly has good reason to be contrite; he's a free agent, and getting labelled as a problem child won't drive up his value. Just what is going on with this team?
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#153777) #
"I think it's just an embarrassment."

I totally agree.  I was just commenting that we're not really in a position to say if Gibby's lost the clubhouse or anything like that.

But these events do make this organization look completely unprofessional.  On top of the incidents you mentioned, there's the public spat between J.P. and Keith Law, which has just gotten uglier.  J.P. can't seem to let it go, saying things like:

"It's so comical that I don't know whether to laugh or to throw up."

That may be an appropriate comment to make to a friend or an aside to a co-worker, but to say that to a journalist?  Particularly when one of your jobs as GM is to act in a PR capacity.
Four Seamer - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#153783) #

"It's so comical that I don't know whether to laugh or to throw up."

That may be an appropriate comment to make to a friend or an aside to a co-worker, but to say that to a journalist?  Particularly when one of your jobs as GM is to act in a PR capacity.

It's also completely nonsensical.  Rarely do people express their good humour by vomiting.

Viewed in isolation, last night's incident would warrant the raising of a few eyebrows, but wouldn't necessarily be viewed as remarkable.  But set in the context of the Hillenbrand incident (not the whiteboard remarks, which are Shea's fault entirely, but the rather bizarre set piece which followed in which Hillenbrand was challenged to a fight, and then derided for his cowardice when he wisely declined the invitation to act like a schoolboy with his manager), and combined with the petulance Ricciardi displays in virtually every public statement he makes, all signs point to an organization about as functional as a seventh grade gym class. 

I'm not going to sit and pine for the glory days, as heaven knows the earlier Toronto teams had their own melodramas - Garcia burning his jersey, Bell inviting Jimy Williams to kiss his purple butt, the Wells/Gaston confrontations - but those incidents always seemed like aberrations.  Moreover, management only played a supporting role in these controversies - the players were the ones at the centre of the maelstrom, and management took the responsibility for steering the ship away from trouble, rather than right into it, full speed ahead.  

Why Ricciardi and Gibbons seem predisposed to respond to adversity with taunts and fisticuffs, and generally display a level of maturity that would disgrace a pre-adolescent male, I'm not able to say.  The organization as a whole seems full of enablers (witness Mike Wilner's completely foolish opinion that Gibbons' display of manliness in pursuing Lilly into the tunnel was necessary to keep from losing the support of his players - my wife as much as told me that if that's the message our kids are going to get listening to Blue Jays radio broadcasts, I'm going to be listening by myself), but Ted Rogers is as gentlemanly a person as can be found.  I'd be surprised if he tolerates this much longer. 

I appreciate the improvements in the on-field product that have been engineered in large part by Ricciardi this season, and by no means do I think he's unable to assemble a championship calibre team.   But he's clearly out of his depth as a leader of men, and he needs to be replaced while there's still something to salvage from the talent he's put together. 

Maldoff - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#153786) #

Four Seamer, I think you hit the nail on the head. Personally, I think the MOST important part of a manager's (and usually general manager's) job is to be a leader of men. Joe Torre may not be the most brilliant tactician in baseball (or he might be, I'm not syaing either way), but he is a leader, and someone that his players respect. Gibbons is showing to be a little too fiery to be a good manager, and his team does not seem to play FOR him. And don't get me started on Riccardi.

In isolation, things happen, and it's OK. But when things become a pattern, that becomes more of an issue.

China fan - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#153787) #

     Keep in mind that the CP photographer was an independent witness who had no reason to slant the truth afterwards.  Lilly and Gibbons obviously were under pressure (from the club and from themselves) to pretend it was a minor incident.  I would trust the photographer's version, since he had no obvious bias and no obvious reason to lie.

     Also, keep in mind that Gibbons and Lilly were not denying any physical contact -- they were only denying that punches were thrown.   Actually the CP photographer never said that any punches were thrown.  He said that Gibbons grabbed Lilly and then they wrestled or shoved each other.   I suspect this is an accurate account of what happened, especially since Gibbons and Lilly never denied this version.   And it's a pretty damning account of what happened.  It means that the Jays manager lost his temper and physically clashed with one of his own players.   Gibbons is not solely to blame, of course, but he has a greater obligation (as the manager) to keep his temper and stay calm.  For a manager to engage in a physical conflict with one of his own players -- even if it was a wrestling and pushing match, rather than a full-on punch-up -- is still a terrible indictment of that manager.   Especially when it comes only a month after he challenged another player to a fist fight.   Surely he has to be fired.   The Jays will probably wait until the end of the season to do it, to save face.


Rich - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#153793) #
There is still five or six weeks left of this season. Everyone needs to get on with that.

Call me naive, but the team does have a reasonable target to focus on - 2nd place.  There are 8 games left against the reeling Red Sox and it would be a big boost going into the offseason to overtake them.  Despite all the turmoil of this season, in many ways finishing higher than 3rd would be a pretty big positive.
Ryan C - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#153794) #
What are they 3.5 games back of the Bosox now?  That is certainly an achievable goal and one well worth shooting for.  "Let's finish 2nd" may not be as sexy a goal as making the playoffs, but breaking New York and Boston's stranglehold on the top two places in the division would be a significant accomplish and send a positive message about the future of this team.

For all the bad press this team has received, well ever since that horrible road trip about a month ago actually, they still look like they're going to improve on last years finish by about 5 or 6 wins.  Certainly not making the playoffs is a big disappointment, but if they can manage to finish ahead of Boston that would take alot of the sting out of it.

Bruce Wrigley - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#153795) #
Agreed 100% with the above two comments... second place should be the goal now for everyone to get behind.
Mike D - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#153802) #

My take on the incident is basically identical to that of Tim Keown, who I think gets it right.

trent77 - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#153804) #

I don't mind a little emotion-they are grown men.  Baseball has gotten way too 'politically correct'.  Every minor incident is immensely exagerated because there are cameras everywhere and journalists with nothing to write about.  I'm glad Lily was upset he was taken out.  I'm glad Gibbons took him out and was obviously pissed at him.  A pitcher with Lily's stuff should not blow an 8 run lead-ever-let alone giving almost all of the lead away in 1 inning!  I think most people want a best friend type managing the Jays.  Everybody freaks out over any confrontation or words in the media.  I didn't have a problem with J.P. calling out some of his players in the media either-that stretch of baseball was what put this team behind the 8-ball.  This team definately lacks both a sense of urgency and a killer instinct-not enough guys who hate to lose.







Joanna - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#153809) #

I suppose there is really no use in second guessing, but I'm going to do it anyway.  And I'll probably get yelled at.  But I would've let Lilly try to get out of the inning.  He had one out and a guy on first, and was facing Bobby Crosby (and his big fat .229 avg, .185 vs. lefties).  I would have told Lilly to settle down and make a pitch.  Induce a groundball to your infielders (who were hot last night) and clean up his mess with a double play.  Bottom third, it's 8-5.  Five runs are ugly, but Dan Haren 20 minutes earlier survived and was given the chance to struggle and come out with the win.  And a it's a hell of a lot less distracting.

But anyway, Lilly yelling was unprofessional and immature (but damn fine entertainment!) but I think Gibby needs people skill lessons.  Stop fighting people, Boomhauer!!! You're middle aged!  But I totally want to know what Gibbons said to Doc and AJ afterwards.  They were sitting together and Gibby came and said something.  Reed listened in and looked serious.

I'm interested to see who creates controversy next.  First it was JP calling out his players,  then Shea wanted out of the sinking ship and out of fistfights, AJ battled Gatorade and the dugout phone,  Bengie refuses to accept that he is slow and is so upset about playing time that he refers to himself in the third person.  Eric Hinske, because he is heavy and bad with a bucket (thus of no use on a sinking ship), gets traded to another sinking ship,  Vernon wants out and then doesn't or never wanted out or still wants out and is lying.  And now this.  Who's next to snap?  I'll say JMac.

Magpie - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#153813) #
I don't mind a little emotion-they are grown men.

Oh, not so much. For the most part, baseball players are young men who have won a lottery ticket in the game of life. Or as someone once said about a prominent US politician, "he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple." They have spent most of their young lives being told how special they are, how much better they are than other people, and that they deserve to be treated accordingly. It makes them... tricky to deal with.

Not to mention the fact that they tend to use money as a measuring stick - someone making five million dollars is more worthy than someone making three hundred thousand. More important than the money itself is what the money represents in terms of status and prestige.

This is why it is almost impossible for a manager to control his players. Either the players submit to the manager's desires or they don't. It's up to them, not him. The only managers who can depend on being able to get away with a confrontational approach are the ones who are utterly secure in their position in the game and the job - Cox and LaRussa come to mind. (A manager coming off a championship season briefly obtains that kind of clout - Gaston was only able to dismiss David Wells and Derek Bell after the 1992 championship.)

What this means is that if Gibbons wants a long and successful career managing in the major leagues, he's got to cut this sort of thing out of his act.

Right now.

It also puts the player in an utterly impossible situation. As everyone knows,  Billy "I never throw the first punch, I throw the second four" Martin once challenged Reggie Jackson to a fistfight in the dugout one afternoon. And Reggie, who was always thinking about his image, instantly understood that there was no way he could accept. "How can I win this? He's 50 years old! Even if I win, I lose." He wisely declined Billy's offer.

There's a reason Larry Bowa, who always seemed to have all the attributes to be a good manager, has never been a success at the job. Bowa has never been able to control his own emotions, his extreme competitiveness - he has never been able to deal with the spoiled and immature kid at the heart of so many young athletes (possibly because Bowa himself was never a special athlete - he kept failing and trying and failing and trying until he eventually made himself a major leaguer.)

That said, it's very easy to understand what happened. Gibbons was watching an 8-0 lead go up in smoke faster than one would think humanly possible - hell, it made me angry and I'm just a fan. What do I care? It's not my life. Gibbons had a whole lot more invested in the game's result than me. And Lilly on the mound, growing more and more frustrated and angry and embarrassed as everything he threw up to the plate got hammered. And in his moment of humilation, he briefly saw the light at the end of the tunnel, his hope for salvation - in the form of a batter coming to the plate that he had always been able to retire with ease (Bobby Crosby.) Alas, 'twas a mirage....

Lilly also violated the customary protocol by not staying in the dugout, as hooked pitchers are expected to do. (Most of them, of course, are intensely interested to see what happens to their baserunners and ERA.) Lilly may have thought it was a good idea under the circumstances not to stick around.

I do disagree with Joanna about keeping Lilly in the game. It's not like the Haren situation at all. Haren stayed in because Macha figured - well, what the hell, we're down 8-0. The game is lost. (This was just the 3rd time in 30 years that the Jays blew an 8 run lead.) Might as well let Haren get his throwing in and give our bullpen a break- like Marcum the other day. Lilly, on the other hand, was coughing up an easy win. He had to be pulled.
js_magloire - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#153827) #
The new Blair is up, saying Gibbons job is as safe as ever, that "five teams would be lined up for him if he was fired" (really?), and that the Mets are interested in Lilly for a post-season run. (WIll he pass waivers and be able to go to a National League team?).
Pistol - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#153830) #

WIll he pass waivers and be able to go to a National League team?

Reading into it a little bit, if the Mets were interested in Lilly I would think he would have already passed through waivers. 

I can't imagine the Jays not putting him on waivers earlier this month, although it would surprise me if he didn't go claimed.  He's in the last year of his contract with a reasonable salary and has pitched pretty well overall this year.  I'd think there's lots of teams that would be interested, but perhaps not.

It's nice to see Blair back.

Pistol - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#153834) #

Not to mention the fact that they tend to use money as a measuring stick - someone making five million dollars is more worthy than someone making three hundred thousand. More important than the money itself is what the money represents in terms of status and prestige.

Which is why free agents usually sign for the most money.  It's not the money, it's saying I make more than you, therefore I'm better.

And really, aren't we all that way?  If I do the same job as Joe Employee, but I do it better (or at least think that I do it better), and he makes more money I'm going to talk about the lack of respect from my employer, regardless of how comfortable I'm living.  (And that was the primary reason I left my last job.) 

Magpie - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#153835) #
I wonder what the learning curve for big league managers is.

It all depends.

Some managers are effective precisley because they're high-pressure and demanding. Some are successful for the exact opposite reason.

Some managers seem as if they were born knowing how to run a bullpen. Some never get the hang of it, and win the NL East every year anyway.

Some managers will lie through their teeth rather than rip a player in public. Some have no compunction whatsoever.

I'm sure we can all think of successful managers who embody at least one of these characteristics.
Dave Till - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#153840) #
Re Cito: Joe Morgan, in his book, wondered why a man who has won two world championships was never actively pursued for other managing jobs. Leaving aside whether race is an issue, my guess is that Cito was widely perceived as a push-button manager - baseball men believed that absolutely anybody could have managed those teams to victory. It wasn't that easy, though: Jimy Williams inherited similar talent in Toronto, and never won a thing.

I've always believed that Cito's greatest strengths were his patience and his ability to command the respect of his players. George Bell fought with Jimy Williams about DHing, but told Cito that he would do whatever the team needed down the stretch. Joe Carter briefly changed his uniform number to 43 when Cito was fired, and Roberto Alomar wrote a 43 on his cap to honour Cito.

And I've also believed that Cito worked best with a veteran team. He treated his players like adults, and demanded adult behaviour in return; some young stars, alas, are overgrown man-children, whose talent has allowed them to get away with things. Cito had trouble with a couple of those guys. Cito also isn't a motivator: he doesn't have the ability to fire up his troops. But older teams don't like that sort of rah-rah stuff anyway.

As for Gibbons vs Lilly: Earl Weaver once stated that players, coaches and managers can't go through an entire season with their feelings bottled up - they're around each other too much for that. Every now and again, somebody goes off. Good managers recognize this, and hold no grudges: Weaver used to get into screaming matches with a player one day, and then happily put him in the lineup the next.

To their credit, Gibbons and Lilly both seem to be saying the right things. Ted has been quoted as saying that he overreacted, and Gibbons has said that, yes, of course Lilly will be making his next start in the rotation. If neither man is harboring any festering resentment, all this will blow over as if nothing had happened.

Magpie - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#153856) #
It was impossible to predict that Thomas, Shealy, Garciaparra, and or Piazza would be valuable players this season.

Well, it was certainly impossible to predict that Thomas and Garciaparra would be healthy players this season. If you haven't noticed, their recent history makes Corey Koskie look like Lou Gehrig. I'm glad they've managed to stay in the lineup this season, but I would have hated to have something invested in it happening.

And Piazza's name keeps coming up- why? Piazza did not want to go the AL because he figured, and probably rightly, that he'd end up becoming a DH in the AL. He still wants to be a catcher..
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#153859) #
I was out of town unexpectedly for several days.  I couldn't have missed anything, could I?

Having a zoo for a clubhouse works when you're winning.  It's tired when you're not. Billy Martin had some obvious demerits as a manager, but also some sterling qualities.  He was a fine game manager and tactician, and this compensated to a great extent for his faults.

Gerry - Tuesday, August 22 2006 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#153862) #
Shawn Green waived his no-trade clause tonight and is now a New York Met.  Green might have waived his no-trade to be reunited with Carlos Delgado, they were great friends when they played together in Toronto.
TDIB: A's beat Jays | 101 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.