Blue Jays: The case for sticking with John Gibbons as manager
The Blue Jays are about to enter an interestingly ambiguous stretch, with a team too good to tear down, but too bad to buy for. Players aside, one could argue that one way to ensure this team’s success is by sticking with their current skipper.
A couple of days ago, I wrote a column suggesting that the Blue Jays should move on from manager John Gibbons, citing the need for a change and direction within the new era of Blue Jays baseball.
Unsurprisingly, this was received negatively by Blue Jays fans everywhere, who slammed the idea by defending Gibby and showing their support for the skipper. Now, I’d like to argue the other side – this team needs to stick with John Gibbons.
As many readers said (or yelled in all caps), this team is not playing well, and John Gibbons is not to blame. He does not pitch and catch, nor does he step up to the plate with runners in scoring position. It is difficult to blame him for this team’s struggles given he’s had virtually no control over how they play. He sets the lineup card, and if they struggle, well, they struggle.
It can also be argued that Gibbons’ laid back, relaxed approach to the game is perfect for the crop of new young stars that will be filling up the Blue Jays dugout next year. Gibby is a player’s manager, the guys love him and they respect his authority.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
He knows the reporters by name and talks to the press as if they’re his close friends, that’s hard to do, especially in a high pressure job.
The aforementioned likeability will serve Gibbons well when hot-shot youngsters march into the clubhouse and take the league by storm. He’ll be there to support them and raise them up, not tell them to sit down and learn some respect for the game. As a player, you want to play for a guy like that.
One thing that many fans and writers alike seem to forget about Gibby is just how long he’s been around. He’s in his eleventh big league season as a manager and has been with this team on two separate stints. Regardless of whether you think his disjointed tenure with the team shows him in a good light or not, it’s hard to disagree with over a decade of experience in a rather difficult job.
Lastly, while certainly the least important, a chunk of the fanbase adores John Gibbons. His ejections are amusing, his interviews are charismatic and genuine, and he rarely engages in conflicts with players. In fact, the only time we got even a sniff of conflict (during this tenure) was when he and Josh Donaldson got into a minor spat following one of Donaldson’s strikeouts.
While some considered that to be a terrible sign for the team and it’s clubhouse atmosphere, Donaldson and Gibby both laughed it off, with the third baseman telling reporters that his skipper, “just wanted to know what kind of cologne I was wearing, and he got a little too close smelling it”. If that’s not a genuine player-manager relationship, I don’t know what is.
All in all, even though I can think of a fair few reasons why the Jays should cut ties with John Gibbons, there are definitely some pros to keeping him around. The fans like him, the players like him, and he knows what he’s doing. I don’t tend to disagree with his managerial decisions often, and I almost always support what he chooses to do with the lineup card.
Realistically, the managerial situation is probably not at the top of the front office’s priority list, but starting a conversation about it could be useful, as we could find ourselves in the middle of a leadership change come trade deadline time.
Next: Blue Jays: The case for moving on from manager John Gibbons