Stats boost for Gibby and Opening Day line-up
Jays manager John Gibbons takes his lumps in the press. He gets battered on talk radio (but doesn't everybody?). Generally, he absorbs the criticism with a smile. The few fans who've gotten hold of his email address and berated him, get a polite response from the Texan. Then they usually write back and apologize.
So it was nice to point out to Gibbons this afternoon a ranking of baseball's managers in the Wall Street Journal. Based on trio of numerical formulas, Gibbons is ranked sixth, tied with Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox.
Gibbons seemed surprised and pleased when shown the list.
"Where'd I come? Sixth?" Gibbons asked.
"In the AL East," a wisenheimer in the room cracked, which got Gibbons roaring.
But the Toronto manager was obviously pretty pleased at the ranking, which saw him way ahead of the Terry Francona's and Joe Torre's of the world.
Later, he called in Jays Assistant Manager and numbers guy Alex Anthopoulos to explain the statisical measurements to him.
"I'm renogiating," Gibbons declared as he came out of his office. Then he pointed to Jeremy Sandler of the National Post and myself and said, "Now I hope you have the guts to print that in tomorrow's paper."
Well, that would be plagiarism, we explained. But we're happy to point you to it.
Should also note that it's looking threatening here in Philly as of 4:46 p.m. But one of the hospitality workers assured me, "They'll play in the snow." We'll soon see.
OPENING DAY LINE-UP
Oh yeah, there's news.
Gibbons also tipped his Opening Day line-up
1 - David Eckstein
2 - Matt Stairs
3 - Alex Rios
4 - Vernon Wells
5 - Frank Thomas
6 - Lyle Overbay
7 - Aaron Hill
8 - Marco Scutaro
9 - Gregg Zaun
Overbay and Hill will switch spots when facing a leftie. Shannon Stewart will drop in Matt Stairs' second spot against lefties. Gibbons said he debated about batting Wells third, but decided to leave Rios in that spot.
The only thing left undecided is if Stairs will actually play on Monday, what with his sore hip, which appears to be in doubt.