Blue Jays: A different era of players requires a different approach
Some of the team dynamics are already starting to shift with the Blue Jays these days. With a young and overhauled roster and a refreshed coaching staff, there’s nothing wrong with that.
For those of us who have been watching the Blue Jays closely over the last number of years, I think we all knew that the way things are done in Toronto would change slightly. When you consider that there’s a new manager in town, and a fresh faced group of youngsters ready to usher in a new era of Blue Jays’ baseball, I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised.
Yesterday we heard some news that the Blue Jays would be setting a curfew in the clubhouse as far as video games are concerned. I know that sounds silly, but it’s actually become a talking point around the game, as we also learned that Carlos Santana, then with the Philadelphia Phlilies, smashed up a video game console last year when he grew frustrated with his teammate’s apparent lack of focus.
While it might seem a little funny that the Blue Jays or any other team feels the need to police the activities of grown men, there are a lot of dynamics at play here. First. we must remember that these guys are on the road A LOT, and their jam-packed schedules mean that sometimes they need to take a little time for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing in the clubhouse, and if some guys can kick back with some video games, there’s nothing wrong with that in my eyes. However, if Charlie Montoyo and the Blue Jays want their players to focus for a certain period of time before games, I’m not sure why that’s even news really.
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What’s interesting about it is that some folks on social media are using it as an excuse to take a jab at former manager John Gibbons, but I don’t think these people are really thinking the situation through before they speak (shocking, right?). Gibbons’ situation with the Blue Jays was a lot different than the one that Montoyo is walking into, and naturally they would be handled differently.
Consider that Gibbons had a roster full of veterans and strong leaders like Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and others like R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle before them. When you have that many focused veterans on one team, there’s a valid argument for letting them handle a lot of their own business, as Gibbons often did. You could argue that he might have been too laid back at times, but there was a whole different dynamic at play.
Montoyo is dealing with a roster that went from the oldest in baseball to one of the youngest, and that requires a completely different set of gloves to handle. Sure, there are still veterans kicking around, but a roster turnover and a lot of changes with the coaching staff make for a good time to shift things up, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now.
With the presence of young players like Danny Jansen, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Ryan Borucki, and many more like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and others on the way, it’s important to establish a professional culture for the young men to grow into the game with. They may be able to change things up once they establish themselves in the big leagues a bit, but for now there’s nothing wrong with creating a culture where the young players toe the line, and earn their keep. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m willing to bet that even Gibbons would have done the same with this roster.