There were a lot of skeptics when Mark Shapiro arrived in Toronto as the new president and chief executive officer of the Blue Jays.
Alex Anthopoulos, the popular Canadian-born general manager who laid the groundwork that resulted in Toronto's first playoff appearance since 1993 last year, created much of that consternation when he abruptly decided to jump ship after Shapiro's arrival.
Shapiro was stepping into the executive shoes that had been filled by day-one employee Paul Beeston, another Canadian who was retiring at the end of the 2015 Major League Baseball season. It was a tough act to follow.
Now, in his first year in charge in Toronto after coming over from the front office of the Cleveland Indians, the Blue Jays have made the playoffs and will advance once again into the American League Championship Series, which begins Friday.
Shapiro was beaming within the raucous Blue Jays clubhouse late Sunday night after Toronto swept the Texas Rangers from the AL Division Series in three games.
But he brushed aside any suggestions that the baseball team's success was a personal notch on his belt after a rough beginning in Toronto.
"It's nothing to do with personal," Shapiro said. "I mean Alex and so many other people have a lot to do with the team today. Any time a team wins it's a reflection of hundreds of people – scouts, player development staff, trainers, strength coaches.
"I always look at moments like this, they're celebrations but they're a reflection of people all over the country, all over the world, who have contributed to the Jays being in this position. So it's a celebration for a country and by an organization."
The Indians, Shapiro's former organization, are currently enjoying a 2-0 lead over the Boston Red Sox in the other ALDS, with the winner to move on against the Blue Jays.
Shapiro was asked if part of him was rooting for a Cleveland victory over Boston that would set up an ALCS matchup against his former employer.
"A little part," Shapiro responded incredulously. "I'm pulling for Cleveland.
"Up until the time and moment they play us I pull for those guys. So yeah, that would be very cool."