Blue Jays add a classy touch in Florida to honour Paul Beeston
The Blue Jays officially unveiled their state of the art new spring training complex in Dunedin, which includes a tip of the cap to an important figure of the past.
If you saw the social media posts from the Blue Jays yesterday, you would have noticed the gorgeous new fields, workout facilities, and clubhouses. However, there was one detail in particular that caught my eye, that they took an opportunity to honour Paul Beeston.
This tweet from Sportsnet’s Ben Wagner shows off a beautiful new boardroom, which has been named after the former team president. The new boardroom also overlooks the main entrance of the facility, and seems to take up a pretty prime piece of real estate.
It’s nice to see Beeston honoured this way, especially because Mark Shapiro was the man that took over his post, where had served from 1989 to 1997 when he presided over the franchise’s two World Series championships, and again from 2008 up until 2015.
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Beeston actually started his career with the Blue Jays in 1976 as their first employee. He was eventually promoted and became the vice president of the franchise 1977, then 1984 brought an executive vice president role. He moved up again 1989 when he became president and chief operating officer, and finished his climb in 1991 when he began chief executive officer.
All of that is to say that it’s a well deserved honour for a man that spent so many years dedicated to the franchise. He’s already on the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, but this latest tribute is both appropriate, and a classy move by the current regime led by Shapiro. Not that it should be any other way, but it’s still nice to see.
The transition from Beeston to Shapiro was fairly smooth, largely because Beeston retired and was even allowed to keep an office at the Rogers Centre. There was plenty of speculation about the way Beeston’s time with the franchise ended, but at the end of the day is was mostly amiable. Unfortunately the same didn’t happen with then-GM Alex Anthopoulos, who didn’t mesh very well with Shapiro and ultimately chose to reject a contract extension offer in favour of a lesser role with the Dodgers. It was frustrating at the time as a fan of the team, but in the end Anthopoulos has found another GM job in Atlanta, and the Blue Jays have to be pleased with the work that Ross Atkins has done rebuilding their system.
As the Blue Jays open a new chapter in Dunedin under different leadership than they have for most of their franchise history, it’s nice to see the franchise honour such a significant contributor.