At $500,000 US, John Gibbons is tied with two raw rookies as the lowest-paid manager in the major leagues, according to a veteran baseball writer who is ripping the Blue Jays for being so tight-fisted.


Bill Madden of the New York Daily News dug up the skippers’ salaries and discovered that Washington’s Manny Acta and Oakland’s Bob Geren, neither of whom has managed a big-league game yet, share the bottom of the pay scale with Gibbons.


Madden writes, “In the past two years, (general manager) J.P. Ricciardi has raised the Jays’ payroll nearly $40 million to over $90 million, only to entrust it with a manager, John Gibbons, he’s paying $500,000, lowest in baseball. That’s barely $100,000 above the minimum players’ salary. Should anyone have been surprised at all the respect problems Gibbons had last season?”


•A former clubhouse attendant with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays has become one of the Jays’ top farmhands.


His name: Jesse Litsch, a right-handed pitcher.

•The CFL is at war with the Arena Football League.

Sources say the CFL is demanding the AFL stop signing players who are under contract to Canadian clubs. An AFL source, however, tells Metro his league has been signing CFLers for years and has no intention of discontinuing the practice now.

In addition to demanding the AFL refrain from signing their players, CFL executives are threatening legal action if the Arena League refuses to release players it recently signed who are under CFL contracts. Among them are quarterbacks Michael Bishop and Ryan Dinwiddie of the Argonauts and Blue Bombers, respectively. Another CFLer who recently signed an AFL contract is Winnipeg defensive lineman Ron Warner.

CFL spokesman Perry Lefko acknowledged clubs in his league “are concerned” about the AFL’s recruitments, adding there are “ongoing discussions” aimed at reaching peace.

Any CFLer who joins the AFL wouldn’t be available to return to Canada until after the indoor season. And that’s troublesome because, this year, the AFL is delaying the start of its season so that its champion­ship game isn’t played until late July. By that time, a third of the CFL season will be completed.

Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman said the war “is on the front burner” in the CFL and told Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ed Tait that Bombers president Lyle Bauer is challenging the AFL signings “like a dog on a bone and won’t be backing down.”

Taman added, “Obviously, there’s a disconnect between the Arena League and us in terms of honouring our contracts ... This is a serious issue ... We’d better get an arrangement with the Arena League, and we’d better get it quick.”