Mike Wilner has been 'given the weekend off'. The National Post has a story about it here.
I don't know, I have a hard time even talking about this, it makes me just angry. Wilner dares question Cito, so they have to shut him up.
I know Cito takes offense to any questioning of his management. He always has. But I'm sorry, that's part of the job. Managers get paid a lot of money and part of what they get paid for is to deal with the press. You have to be able to take some heat. In this case there really was much heat. Wilner just had a question about how Cito used the bullpen:
During Gaston's daily media scrum Wednesday afternoon, Wilner raised questions about the way Gaston had used his bullpen in Tuesday night's 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay. A brief but tense exchange followed.
Later on his Fan 590 blog, Wilner wrote at length about the exchange, asserting that Gaston had "painted himself into a corner" by using relievers Shawn Camp and Scott Downs too early. Wilner also wrote that Gaston had "belittled" him in front of other reporters.
The Toronto Baseball Writers of America is standing up for Wilner, they sent a letter to Paul Beeston:
"The baseball writers association would like to officially voice its support of the right of Mr. Wilner or any other reporter to ask challenging questions," chapter president Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star wrote in the letter.
"Similar lines of questioning in the wake of difficult losses are not uncommon in all pro sports. The concern of the BBWAA is that this amounts to an attempt to either censor or intimidate the media coverage that the Jays receive on a daily basis in all four newspapers and the wire services."
What bugs me is, like they say, the Jays want to intimidate the media so that tough questions aren't asked. And it works. Last season it took a reporter from outside of the Toronto media to break the story of the player revolt. Then, when it did come out, most of the local media toed the company line that it was overblown. The only Toronto media person, that I heard, that didn't was Alan Ashby, who admitted there had been a problem.
I guess that is where we are lucky. We don't get any access to Cito or any member of the Jays front office (I know, I've tried). So we can say what we want, because they can't punish us in any way. I think that's the draw that blogs have, we can say what we think. We don't have relationships with players or team staff that we have to protect.
I know Cito doesn't like being questioned. I know, if he were to read this blog, he wouldn't be happy that we question things things he does. But he must know that part if the fun of baseball is questioning the manager. One of the reason we like baseball is that we can guess along with the manager and since it isn't a science, there are always more than one right answer to any situation. I've not yet seen a manager that I didn't sometimes disagree with.
That's the fun of this place, we can state our opinions. Honest, just because I, sometimes, disagree with Cito, doesn't mean I think I'd be a better manager than he is. My best friend is the smartest person I know and I disagree with him a lot. Part of being intelligent is that you understand you can disagree without it being a judgement on the other person's intelligence. I'm sure Mike Wilner doesn't imagine he'd be a better manager than Cito either. But no one is right all the time, all managers have strengths and weaknesses. And we are allowed opinions. Well, we are as long as we aren't employees of Rogers.
I've often said that Cito's strengths are things that happen behind the scenes, while in game moves are not his strong point. I think, we as fans, figure far more games are won and lost because of things done by the manager during the game than there really is, but they are fun to talk about.
I know Blue Jays blogs in general and ours in specific get complaints of Cito bashing. I don't think questioning is bashing. Sometimes, I'm sure we cross the line. I love Ghost Runner on First, but I'm not thrilled with the whole Clarence thing. I think playing with his name is crossing the line. And I've called him a statue on occasion, which is likely into the bashing realm, but it's kind of a short hand way of pointing out that he doesn't make many in game moves. And, well, he doesn't. He doesn't bunt much, or hit and run, pinch hit or any of those other in game type strategies. I'm pretty much ok with most of that.
Anyway, Cito and the Jay's little idea that since he has won two World Series rings he is above being questioned is childish. Punishing Mike Wilner because he dared as a question is totally and completely wrong. And stupid. The Jays should want an interested, engaged fan base. But what they want is sheep.
Bottom line, Jays, if I can offer you some advice, if Cito is smarter than Wilner, then have Cito answer the questions. Show us he's smarter. Running scared, avoiding his questions, makes it look like you are afraid to show that you don't have answers and you aren't smarter. If that is what you want to tell us, you are doing a great job.