Here we go again, Blue Jay fans. If you liked the Ross Atkins news conference last weekend, you're really going to love the Mark Shapiro Sequel today.
The Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO faced the media this morning, and announced that his GM, Ross Atkins will be back next season.
Shapiro used "stability and continuity" as keywords as to why Atkins will return. But never mentioned the word "accountability", which has been top of mind for all Blue Jays fans and followers since Atkins' disaster of a press conference where he threw manager John Schneider under the bus.
Atkins denied having any part in Schneider's "pre-game meetings" and that the decision to pull Berrios was all the manager's. Is there anyone in Blue Jay Land who believes that the team's rigid analytics plan—led by Atkins—isn't the reason Schneider felt compelled (coerced?) to pull Berrios for the lefty Yusei Kikuchi after just one time through the order while tossing a shutout in an elimination game?
Well, certainly not the team president, who was clearly not 'reading the room' in Jays Nation, by reiterating that it was all Schneider's move to pull Berrios. It feels likely that the weight of yet another bus rolling over Schneider must be pretty crushing right about now. And once again, no accountability for the Jays front office.
But if both Shapiro and Atkins truly do believe that the decision was all on Schneider—like, really truly—then why is the manager keeping his job? This is the second year in a row that an analytically-driven decision to pull a hot pitcher too soon in a playoff elimination game was carried out by Schneider, and backfired in both cases, costing the Jays their seasons prematurely. If Shapiro and Atkins are "innocent", then who's guilty?
The only bone thrown to the wolves by Shapiro at his news conference today was to admit, "There needs to be a higher level of transparency and communication with our players in our planning process.”
After all of this, you can't blame Jays fans for any of their emotions: anger, confusion, frustration, or, for the more mild-mannered perhaps, even amusement.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to read the John Schneider 'tell-all' memoir that should be coming at some point in the future. Maybe then we'll get some closure on this disappointing era of Blue Jays baseball.