Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins made some surprising statements during his post-season press conference on Saturday morning. Many followers of the team were eagerly awaiting his words after the controversial and whimpering end to the season.
The meeting with the media provided more insight than expected, and Atkins dropped a bomb that could have wide-reaching implications. He said that pre-game meetings are manager John Schneider's meetings, and the front office staff are uninvolved.
He went on to say that no pre-planned decisions are 100 percent locked in. That was an unexpected admission by Atkins, who most thought was the mind that spearheaded the contentious choice to remove starter Jose Berrios after just 47 pitches in Game Two.
To recap, Berrios had just walked the initial batter to open the fourth inning but had allowed just one run with five strikeouts up to that point and was looking as sharp as he had all season. Yusei Kikuchi was summoned into the game and promptly surrendered a single, walk, and another single to break the scoreless tie. He did get Willi Castro to ground into a run-scoring double play and induced a Ryan Jeffers ground ball out, but the damage was done.
Of course, the other part of the story is the inability to generate any offense, aided by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s inexcusable pickoff at second base with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Most around the team seemed to think that the call to yank Berrios so early came from the top, perhaps supported by information from the analytics department.
Atkins’ somewhat shocking explanation and subsequent finger-pointing at Schneider will only add fuel to the fire of the legions of Blue Jays fans who have been calling for the dismissal of the GM after another colossal postseason failure.