Sep 30, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) hugs manager John Gibbons (5) as they celebrate on the field after clinching the A.L East division at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Toronto Blue Jays defeated Baltimore Orioles 15-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
1. People kind of really like John Gibbons.
John Gibbons is the ultimate dividing line in Toronto baseball circles. It’s almost like a political affiliation, pro-Gibby or anti-Gibby. Much like my own situation with Joe Girardi that I explained earlier, the perception of Gibbons outside of Toronto is much more favorable.
This isn’t the time or place for a Gibbons argument, but I definitely noticed that these broadcasters were much more willing to give Gibbons some level of credit for the Blue Jays success. This flips the script from Toronto’s perspective, where we often view his greatest value as staying out of the way and letting the players play.
The most surprising point of discussion with Gibbons was his bullpen management, which is something former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi recently complimented him on as well. The Jays bullpen turnaround was certainly aided by the newcomers that allowed the group to collectively shift into set roles, but there was still lots of credit being given to Gibbons. Some will cringe at this, but again, it’s a different perspective.
Now, the utter talent on this roster will likely keep Gibbons away from any awards, as those are more easily given to managers that lift a rag-tag group well above their abilities. His widespread respect among the “old-school baseball” crowd earns Gibbons some TV love, too, and if you listen closely, you can see that creeping in to our own market. Inch by inch…