While it’s commendable that Charlie Montoyo maintained a positive attitude after the latest Blue Jays loss, his message wasn’t ideal.
Before I say anything, let me just be clear that I’m a fan of Charlie Montoyo. I acknowledge that his job is incredibly difficult right now, both as the skipper of a rebuilding team in a tough division, and also someone who is tasked with guiding a team through an unprecedented season that includes a global pandemic.
But I really didn’t like what he had to say after Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
In case you missed it, the Blue Jays had a chance to put the game and the series away on Sunday afternoon, leading 4-2 heading into the ninth inning. Unfortunately Ken Giles just didn’t look right as he tried to get the third out, and despite it looking like there were problems, warranting a mound visit, Giles stayed in and made matters worse. He ended up having to leave the game, and the Blue Jays were unable to hold on.
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That situation brought plenty of questions from the media after the game, and some of Montoyo’s answers are pretty defensible. The coaching staff asked Giles if he was alright, and he reassured him that he could continue. One would think they should have recognized that he was wrong with his self evaluation, but I understand a coach giving a veteran player the benefit of the doubt.
However, the comments that Montoyo made about the series as a whole were what bothered me the most. The skipper made a point of saying that he was happy that his young team could keep up with a talented team like the Rays, and I don’t care for the way it comes across.
To reporters after the game (quoting the Toronto Star)
"“You know what’s funny? Everybody is asking me all kinds of stuff … I was right there in the (clubhouse) entrance telling people, ‘Man great, we’re competing with one of the top five teams in baseball, (the Rays) right there.’ All of a sudden you lose games like this, now people are looking for stuff. We played great. We just didn’t finish it.”"
He does make a point that there are encouraging signs from the way the Blue Jays played this weekend. They looked like the better team, but the results on paper don’t reflect that at the end of the series. For a team that is trying to take steps toward contending and away from rebuilding, “competing” isn’t good enough, and frankly, it’s not worth celebrating if you ask me.
It’s easy to appreciate Montoyo’s positive and laid back attitude, but I wonder if he’s reflected on those comments at all since making them. It’s important that he leads this team, and part of that responsibility is not overreacting to one game, however, I do hope there are a few lessons that are filed away for use in the future.
We really haven’t had much of a fair situation to evaluate Montoyo’s work as a skipper thus far, between last year’s hard rebuild, and everything that’s gone on in 2020. That said, the honeymoon period is likely long over already for most of us, and simply competing isn’t good enough anymore. Hopefully that’s more in line with the message we hear next time.