Baseball operates by its own rules. It has no time clock. The coaches all wear the team uniform on the field. And, apparently, you can go home again to manage.
How else to explain the Toronto Blue Blue Jays recycling former manager John Gibbons as their 2012 skipper? What other sport recycles managers like beer bottles except for baseball? Remember Billy Martin? He managed the Yankees five times. The hometown heroes, the Blue Jays, tried to bring back Cito Gaston (and by extension, his magic) a second time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
Which brings us to Gibbons. Last season was all about kid gloves for kid prospects. It was soon apparent that the touchy-feely HR style of John Farrell was not the solution for a roster of young dudes who thought heading out for third base was a constitutional right. That has now changed.
With the approval of his Miami heist and the Melky Cabrera signing, general manager Alex Anthopoulos has assembled a team that needs to win now. Hence, a manager who will take a dim view of callow youth.
Will love be great the second time around with Gibbons? The Gaston rewash was less than stirling. It will be interesting. But make no mistake, with all these moves, Anthopoulos is now working without a net.
It’s the final minute of play in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Who do you send over the boards? Your best players or your fourth line? Of course, you want your best players on the ice.
That’s why both sides in the NHL lockout are wondering why the other side isn’t putting its best players forward as the clock ticks down to cancelling the season. NHL teams are frustrated that when they get into small groups, they are confronted by journeymen players such as Chris Campoli (currently unsigned) or Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg).
Teams believe that there should be a greater representation of the players making large salaries and who therefore have the most to lose. Where are the voices in meetings of players who lost millions in 2004-’05? Until they see those players more fully represented on the negotiating committee, management feels they’re not getting the real voice of players, only the militants.
They feel Don Fehr, the executive director of the NHLPA, is stacking the deck against them or not communicating their messages to payers.
Players have the same concern. Why, they ask, is it that only mediocre teams that have run their business poorly have the biggest voices in prolonging the lockout? They point to Calgary’s Murray Edwards, Henry Samueli of Anaheim, Craig Leipold of Minnesota and similar teams as those supporting the militant stance of commissioner Gary Bettman and Boston owner Jeremy Jacobs, chairman of the Board of Governors.
Without the strong presence of successful franchises such as the New York Rangers, Toronto, Vancouver, Detroit and Montreal at the table, players believe there’s a rift on the owners’ side. They point to the fact that management figures with experience on the players’ side - such as former agents Peter Chiarelli (Boston) and Mike Gillis (Vancouver) - are absent from the process.
So, not only do the sides need to bring their best offers, they need to bring their best messengers, too.
DELAY OF GAME
And don’t even talk to the owners’ side about punctuality. The casual approach of Fehr to arrival times, the duration of breaks and presentation of documents has left Bettman and the owners steamed. Some of the owners’ current anger with the NHLPA is directly attributable to Fehr’s fitful approach.
The Blue Jays signing of Melky Cabrera was made official Monday. It’s a two-year, $16 million contract for the man who was headed to a shot at the National League MVP till he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). After the Blue Jays’ vigorous defence of Jose Bautista (and any other Blue Jays) against allegations of PEDs it seems strange that Toronto is the team that give drug-assisted Cabrera a second chance.
It’s also a risk considering the record of some players post-drug suspension. How much of Melky’s surge the past two years was PED-assisted? Toronto's about to find out.
“bruce dowbiggin @dowbboy Love Bill Daly. I do. But he uses word "compromise" in CBA talks. Like Sitting Bull compromising w/ Custer by using fewer arrows.”
Former NFL referee in chief admits what we all believed for a long time. “Mike Pereira @MikePereira Sorry about the fact that I didn't know what was happening. It’s is very loud (and fun) here and I missed it. Really cant comment.”
Well, Expos fans at least have this: “Mitch Melnick @HunterZThompson Former Expo Jose Macias left in on deck circle as Panama is shocked by Brazil. Panama managed by another former Expo Roberto Kelly."
Not sure what Argos coach Scott Milanovich or Stampeders coach John Hufnagel will say to their teams before the Grey Cup game on Sunday. We just hope it’s something like LSU coach Les Miles’ epic rant after his team’s win this past weekend. Wow.
In case you missed it this weekend, Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Hong Kong Open golf event, the oldest man to ever win a tournament of this stature. Ryder Cup fans love the man affectionately known as "The Mechanic". With his ponytail and cigar, the 48-year-old Spaniard is golf’s version of The Dude from Big Lebowski.
“I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. That, or His Dudeness … Duder … or El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing.”
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