In what will be almost certainly the final weeks of John Gibbons’ tenure as the manager of the Blue Jays, the team hasn’t quit on him for a second.
This year we’ve watched the Blue Jays flip the switch from contender into rebuilding mode, and with that decision has come a lot of decisions.
Gone are plenty of veteran faces, traded to contenders before their current contracts expired. The majority of the seats at the Rogers Centre are pretty empty these days as well, and you can hardly blame the fans for losing interest in a year that the team is now just 70-83. One thing that hasn’t changed yet is John Gibbons‘ presence, and his influence on his young team.
One of the worst kept secrets in baseball is that Gibbons will be done his second tenure in Toronto at the conclusion of the regular season. After a second straight disappointing season, even Gibby himself admitted that he wasn’t sure he had the patience for a rebuild at this stage of his career, so the timing of the divorce makes a great deal of sense.
There have been plenty of times earlier in the season when fans and writers wondered aloud if Gibbons would be around to see the end of the 2018 calendar. It’s not uncommon to make a change during the season for the sake of getting a look at another manager in the hot seat, and also to give the roster a bit of a shakeup and hopefully keep the team competing through the end of a 162 game schedule.
The Blue Jays chose not to go that route, and personally I’m thankful they haven’t. First, it allowed the franchise to honour Gibbons by letting him leave on his own terms, making for the most amiable split they could ask for. Secondly though, this fresh-faced roster hasn’t quit on the final season for their veteran skipper, as evidenced by last night’s come from behind victory.
The kids have a lot to learn, but there’s no doubt that they’re out on the diamond fighting for pride in September, their future in Major League Baseball, and almost as importantly, for their manager.
This is an incredibly important time in many young player’s development, and the Blue Jays have entrusted Gibbons with the task of introducing them to the game at the highest level, and setting expectations for them as pros at the highest level. If the front office believed for a second that Gibbons had checked out at all, he wouldn’t still be in the manager’s seat. Obviously, the faith in him is still there.
For the players that motivation is still obvious, even with just nine games remaining in the schedule of a lost season. It may not be perfect, but at least they’re sending Gibby off in proper fashion, by fighting right until the end.