Buckle up. This one may get messy.....
Dear: The Cito,
I have been an avid Blue Jay fan since I began walking. Your face was in the dugout for as long as I can remember. You started as the hitting coach in 1982 at the tender age of 38. You then took over the managing duties in 1989 and we started winning games in our new stadium. You did that. I love you for it. You had the horses and you let them ride. You played your veterans and hit the rookie 9th in the line up. It was what needed to be done with those World Series Champion caliber teams. The strike came in 1994 and everything changed. It wasn't your fault. MLB realigned the divisions and started the wild card. Management took away your horses and replaced them with guys like Erik Hanson, Bill Risley, Orlando Merced and Alex Gonzalez. By the time 1997 rolled around we were a bottom of the division type team. You were fired with 5 games to go in that season and it got messy. We heard your name mentioned for a while in the papers. You were turned down for the manager job by Cleveland, Detroit and the Dodgers. I'm sure there were many others as well. After a few years had gone by we stopped hearing your name. In 1999 you came back and were recognized in the Level Of Excellence. It is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Toronto Blue Jays. Rightfully so I might add. You then returned as the hitting coach for us in 2000 and 2001 under Jim Fregosi and Buck Martinez. It was good to see you back in the dugout where you belonged. But it was short lived and you were let go again. I was pretty sure it was for good this time.
I have absolutely nothing bad to say about anything you did for the Toronto Blue Jays organization up to this point.
I wish you had left it that way but you came back as Club Ambassador and Special Assistant to the President and CEO which to me sounds like a glorified Walmart Greeter. Then at 64 years of age you made your return to the dugout as the manager in 2008 replacing Gibby. At the time we were off to a slow start, 35-39, and things seemed bleak. Our hitters were being taught to work the count and take walks by new hitting coach Gary Denbo. It wasn't working. Management cleaned house for you, allowing you to bring in your own guys and your own philosophy. You had an immediate impact on the season and we went 51-37 the rest of the way under your tutelage. You unleashed your hitters and told them to swing away at the first pitch if it was in their zone. It worked. Everyone was happy with the results. We started thinking about what kind of damage we could do if we had you as the field manager for a whole season. At first glance things looked wonderful with you back in the dugout. But underneath it all, you were the same guy. You managed the same way as you did before because it was the only way you knew how.
One slight problem, the team is very different now.
Back in the day, your championship winning teams policed themselves. We spent more money on salary than any other team in baseball in 1992 and 1993. You had Hall of Fame players you could lean on. You had clubhouse veterans that were productive players. You had a team full of pros that came to Toronto to win. Managing in that type of environment must have been a dream come true. I'm sure it was easy to push the cruise control button, sit back and watch the boys play. Your line up card pretty much wrote itself and there was no need to change it in game because it was awesome. You basically sat on the end of the bench and kept out of the way. The only real decisions you had to make in game were with respect to pitching changes and your starters pitched deep into games for you. Everyone had a defined role.
This is the type of team you exceeded at managing.
This in no way resembles the current group we have now. I fully recognize you have very little control over player personnel. You are given 25 guys to work with and you are forced to go with what you got. I'm sure your input is valued and respected but at the end of the day your players are the players you are given. Your current guys are mostly young, inexperienced kids. They don't understand what it means to be a pro. Take Travis Snider for example: young stud, can't miss type guy. He made the team out of camp to start 2009 with so much promise. You were tasked with making sure he was able to make the adjustment to the majors. You hit him 9th in the order and refused to let him play against left handed pitching. He made it till mid May and then was sent down to AAA after you deemed him uncoachable. You had Roy to show the pitchers what it took to win. He led by example. They followed and made great strides. He's gone now. For the everyday players it is safe to say that Vernon is your guy. He is the team representative and clubhouse leader. But he was the one that called you out early October in the media. There were whispers of clubhouse unrest. The term mutiny was being used in the news to describe the team. Vernon was the one who stood up and faced the music, not you. He did little to calm the rumors down and actually sounded like he agreed with the idea of you being a problem. You responded by saying you were surprised and unaware of any issues. The GM was fired. About a month later you signed a four year consulting deal with the team that is scheduled to start in 2011, all but eliminating any chance you would not be back as manager for the 2010 season.
People stopped asking questions but the damage was done.
This off season you were not heard from for quite a while. Then you took part in last month's State of the Franchise event along with the GM and President. You were quick to contradict yourself and your new boss. You talked about how you could have as many as seven 25 homerun guys in your lineup but also said you may need to play some small ball to score runs. You lobbied for the return of fan favorite Carlos Delgado even though your boss had already gone on record saying there was no interest only a week before. You said: "If there's some way to bring Carlos back here, I'd love to see him back here, because he can do a lot of things as far as helping the young kids about knowing about hitting." On top of all that you found the time to mix up some of your bullpen guys and make everyone aware of the fact that you had no idea Brandon Morrow was brought over here to be a starter.
What I'm about to say is with all due respect sir:
I think you are a fucking joke!
I can't stand by and watch you fuck up this once proud team any longer. You do not have the type of players on your team that you need to be successful. Deal with it. Try something new. Engage the rookies. Teach them something. Don't rely on your players to do it for you. Writing the name Kevin fucking Millar into the clean up spot of your line up at the end of last season should have been grounds for your immediate termination. Platooning him with Lyle Overbay was another one I have to question. Not so much the fact that you did it but the fact you didn't talk to Lyle about it first. Refusing to pinch hit for guys like John MacDonald in a close game late is pretty much negligence on your part. Running Jose Bautista out there against a bunch of AAA pitchers in September only assured his return for 2010. Now you think he is your early candidate to lead off? What does he have to do to lose it.....hit below .200 against right handed pitching? Let me just briefly talk about the pitchers. This group of guys had been brought along quite nicely by former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg. He was able to make great strides with the young guys and things on that side of the house seemed fine. But he wasn't your guy. You two didn't seem to get along and at the end of last season he disappeared to the NL. He was a great asset to this organization and well respected amongst his peers. You sent him packing. Very, very bad call.
Look for the pitching staff to take a major step back this season.
I could literally never stop writing this letter to you sir. On a daily basis during the season you do or say things that blow my fucking mind. I have no doubt that trend will continue this year. I want to be one of the sheep that follow you blindly based on the fact that you led us to the promise land before. I want to believe that you know more than us and you are always one if not two steps ahead because that is the way it use to be. I want to, but I can't.
The game has changed and you have not.
So to you our fearless leader I say this in closing: Get whatever the fuck it is you need to get out of your system this year. Consider it your season long retirement party. Bask in the glory. It is your time to shine. But always know this, we will be waiting and not so patiently I might add, for you to leave the dugout once and for all. And we worry dearly about the carnage you are destined to leave behind.