Good news for some kids, if not Blue Jay fans
The good news is that there’s another big cheque coming to the Jim Proudfoot Corner of the Star’s Santa Claus Fund, courtesy of Paul Beeston.
More than a year ago, when he was named interim president of the Blue Jays, he vowed – and repeatedly – that he would be out of the job by Christmas. This did not sound right and I immediately bet him $500, payable to the paper’s Christmas charity for children, that he would still be in the job after his initial deadline. He paid up, and generously, and sometime after that, as his self-imposed deadline kept extending further outward, we went double or nothing for this year.
So now comes the word, which seemed increasingly more likely as time went on and Rogers kept begging him to stick around, that Beeston will indeed stay on as president and CEO of both the Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre. They say a three-year term, but let’s stop believing that he will ever set a date for the end of this particular run.
He has this business in his blood and the deeper he got into it, the more hollow sounding his vows to get out once he found the right man. I ultimately thought he would aim for his golf handicap over the daily trials and tribulations of a struggling team in a marketplace that has turned sideways, if not turned it back outright, on baseball. But such was not the case.
For the past year, while protesting that he was deep into the search for his replacement, Beeston has acted as if he was in it for the long run rather than the short haul, totally restructuring the business end of an organization. Because he has Rogers’ ears, or most of them, on this – plus a salary commitment of $120 million any time they need it and a chance for more – he caused the baseball end to start getting itself sorted out, too.
It was Beeston, always anxious to keep Canadians on the fast-track management path, who pulled the trigger on J.P. Ricciardi and installed Alex Anthopoulos in that job, lest the team lose Anthopoulos to one of the other clubs that had called asking about his availability.
Since he got the job, Anthopoulos has been hiring scouts and advisors – Mel Didier and Mel Queen, two more blasts from the past, joined today – and it simply didn’t make sense any more to assume the new GM was going to do all this rebuilding when a new president was going to come in on top of him and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute.’’
So Anthopoulos is Beeston’s guy and so, too, is Cito Gaston, who had one more year to go on his contract.
Beeston and Anthopoulos spent last Thursday having dinner with Roy Halladay and his wife in Florida, where Halladay has a winter home. Halladay holds the immediate key to the future of the team; if he wants out, Anthopoulos has a lot more on his plate than he first suspected. So, too, does the new – make that old – president and CEO, the one who couldn’t stay away. Good news for some kids at Christmas, at least.