With John Gibbons handing the managerial reigns over to Russell Martin for the last game of the season, what will the skipper do with his time today?
With just one game remaining in the 2018 season and a 73-88 record, there’s no reason for the Blue Jays not to have a little fun on Sunday.
That’s exactly what they’re planning to do from the sounds of things, especially because it’s the final game for long-tenured manager, John Gibbons. The likeable skipper has worked in Toronto for parts of 11 seasons, but he doesn’t plan on making too many decisions on Sunday night.
In case you missed it, Gibbons announced that he plans to let veteran catcher Russell Martin handle his job in the season’s final game. Martin has barely played at all in September as the team has allowed young catchers like Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire to gain valuable experience, so this will be a memorable way for the season to end, and a nice way for Gibbons to thank Martin for the sacrifice he made for the good of his young teammates. In fact, I almost wrote an article arguing that Martin deserves this, although that might be taking it a little far.
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When asked about it by the media, Gibbons has stated that he’ll let Martin make all the decisions today, from filling out the lineup card, to making pitching changes, and nearly everything in between. He did say that Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales won’t be in the lineup for the final contest, but beyond that it’s pretty much Martin’s team to run.
Which for me then begs the question: What is Gibby gonna do all day?
The simple answer to the question is “bask it in”, although the sly Texan doesn’t seem like the type to really dwell on the sentimental stuff. It’s pretty obvious how much he cares about this team and his time in Toronto, but I don’t think we’re going to be witnessing a breakdown of tears from the 56 year old.
Instead I expect we’ll see a lot of laughs, probably quite a bit of teasing at Martin’s expense, and we’ll likely see an even more relaxed Gibbons than we’ve ever witnessed, which is hard to imagine really. It’s very likely that Smoak and Morales are sitting out so that the younger guys can play in the game, but it’s also possible that Gibby just wanted to hang with his veterans for his final game.
I expect we’ll see a big outpouring of love for the skipper, even if his final game is going to come at Tropicana Field instead of at home at the Rogers Centre. I don’t think it’s going to matter though, because after an emotional send off at home earlier this week, it’s entirely possible the veteran manager would rather have a night focused on him and the boys anyway, rather than the bells and whistles than come with going out at home.
However he chooses to spend his last game in a Blue Jays uniform, trust Gibbons to find the most chill, relaxed way to go out that you could imagine. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.