Friday, September 19, 2008

Yapping So Much While Accomplishing So Little

  • Admitting mistakes is not a sign of weakness:
With the way Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi is treating a two week hot streak as a validation
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of his handling of the organization, one would think he not only had two World Series titles in his trophy case, but that he was somehow treated unfairly on the road to those two titles. Now that the Blue Jays have secured a record above .500 for the season and Ricciardi's job has likely been spared (again), he's seen fit to start defending his record not in a matter-of-fact way, but by blustering and crowing about all the good things he's accomplished during his mediocre seven year run as the team's architect.
In an article on isn't shy in crediting himself for the relatively few big league players his drafts have delivered; that the team hadn't "had to go the route [like] the Minnesotas or the Tampas, lose those 100, 90 [games]; eight, nine years of losing in a row" (as if that's some great accomplishment); and deflects the
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blame for the team's relentless status as an also-ran by citing "circumstances" (whatever that means).
If the team had spent eight or nine years losing 100, 90 games, then Ricciardi would absolutely have reason to say that things are improving and the future is promising; but they haven't. This is the third year in a row in which they were expected to finally jump into contention and the third year in a row that they were an average team with an average record before a late-season hot streak made them appear as if they were on the rise. I'd say that it's a safe bet that the same thing's going to happen next year; the one question I keep asking is how long before the Blue Jays ownership wises up to this fact.
Perhaps Ricciardi's obvious and insistent attempts to depict himself as an alpha-male are preventing him from looking at the team and his mistakes objectively and saying that he screwed up, but it's no sign of strength to continually flap one's mouth without reason and expect those that know better to buy it. After seven years and repeated embarrassments and mistakes on and off the field, Ricciardi's still displaying an arrogance that is beyond comprehension; a record of 86-76 is not an accomplishment for someone who claims to have all the answers, it's a failure; what's worse, it's a failure that he repeats over and over again without anyone willing to pull the plug. And next year, with the Red Sox being as good as they are; the Yankees going to spend tons of money to fill their holes and the Rays still young and supremely talented, the Blue Jays aren't going to be in any better position than they're in now unless they make some drastic changes in the front office, but that's not going to happen because a bad start and solid finish only gives the illusion of success and it's an illusion that is going to happen again and again until the organization wakes up and sees it for what it is, much to their detriment.
  • Marlins 8-Astros 1:
The Astros have a legitimate gripe with the way the hurricane-induced cancellations were handled essentially taking two home games away from them and sending them to Milwaukee
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to face the Cubs in a stadium loaded with Cubs fans, but that can't account for them continuing to lose after they went to Florida to play the Marlins. Anger is one thing, but once the game starts, the players aren't in the batter's box or on the mound thinking about how they were wronged. Their hot streak that launched them back into contention had to end sooner or later and it just happened to end at a time in which they had a convenient scapegoat. The three losses to the blazing hot Marlins aren't accountable to anything that happened over the weekend.
Speaking of the Marlins, is Fredi Gonzalez going to steal the Manager of the Year award from other deserving candidates like Tony La Russa, Lou Piniella and Joe Torre as he leads the Marlins on this eight game win streak and onto the outskirts of contention? I don't see the Manager of the Year award as one in which the voters are doing too much deep thought, so La Russa's peformance in keeping the Cardinals in contention as
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long as he did; Piniella's underappreciated work with the Cubs (every Lou Piniella team from the start of his managerial career has played the game the right way, advancing runners and performing the fundamentals----it's no accident); and Torre's calm leadership of the Dodgers, might be forgotten as the Marlins end over .500 with a bargain basement payroll. With each passing day, the job Gonzalez has done with the Marlins, along with the growing pains Joe Girardi is having with the Yankees and their $210 million payroll, diminishes Girardi's 2006 season all the more and lends credence to the Marlins claims about the organization being more responsible for their success than any manager could be. (I'd give the Manager of the Year to Piniella.)

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