Lots of reaction and comment, as expected, out of yesterday's news:
Rich Griffin says fire the manager. Over at the Sun, Bob Elliott says keep him, but the most cogent nugget has to be this priceless quote from A's manager Ken Macha: "That's that type of situation when no one is in touch with reality." (my take: That was nothing. Ken ought to come up here during Leafs season.)
Dave Perkins and Stephen Brunt (reg. required) suggest that this might affect the Jays adversely next season (my take -- This stuff is overrated. Throw enough money in front of free agents and it's amazing how their glasses turn rose-coloured and they start talking about "joining a new family" and "core values" and "this was my first choice all along").
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|Sometimes, you know, it just happens.|
The Jays' spin, contained in a Globe news story, that the Lilly-Gibbons confrontation and the Hillenbrand-Gibbons confrontation were "two different situations." (my take -- obviously they are, but isn't that something of a cop-out? Two different situations, yes -- everything in life is about different situations -- but there's one common denominator, a manager going through his first real pressurized situation and reacting by getting physical instead of taking a more measured approach. As commenter Rich said in the blog so well yesterday, "Lilly's job is physical. Gibbons' job is mental. Last night both performed pathetically.")
And oh yeah, the Jays won a game, getting their fourth successive quality start out of A.J. Burnett, surely the teasingest of contemporary major-league pitchers with his combination of stuff -- a humming fastball, and a sharp curve that got him through the middle stages last night -- and trips to the DL.
And thus, how different the world of pro sports is from the one outside. No offence taken, no resulting discipline, no apologies from either side, all because "it happens". What's lacking in just about all this fallout was the sense that here was a situation completely out of control -- as Macha pointed out so neatly -- now being spinned as something that just, you know, happens: A pitcher who refuses to give up the ball, and a manager who chases him down the tunnel to wrestle.
Best piece I've come across ran in the National Post, John Lott and Jeremy Sandler with a neat summation of this fantasyland/realityland divide:
In a conventional workplace, John Gibbons might well be seeking another job today. So might his latest public adversary, Ted Lilly, a man who dared argue with his boss in front of 28,000 people and a national television audience.
But these men do not work in an office tower, where civility is expected -- if not always observed -- when friction flares between supervisor and staffer.
Gibbons, the boss, and Lilly, the employee, are Toronto Blue Jays. They have guaranteed contracts. And they work in professional baseball, where the showdown is a cultural norm.