I’ve reported this here before (on April 23) and I’ll report it again now.
John Gibbons’ days as manager of the last-place Toronto Blue Jays are numbered.
This team is in serious, serious trouble, and that's not telling you something you don't know. Even their ace, Roy Halladay, has lost two consecutive games, both in ugly fashion. He was hammered last night in Toronto by the Boston Red Sox as the Jays lost their ninth consecutive game.
Sources in the Jays' front office are saying general manager J.P. Ricciardi plans to dump his long-time friend, Gibbons, any day now, probably before Monday.
Gibbons is sensing it, too.
And he insists he isn’t perturbed about it.
“There have been a lot better men than me fired,” he said, "so I can’t let it consume me.”
•While the Jays struggle on the field, they have concerns off of it, as well.
Attendance figures will plummet at the Rogers Centre, with the team virtually out of the pennant race already.
Television ratings on the owner’s network, Rogers Sportsnet (as in Ted Rogers), also will plunge.
• Meanwhile, investigators involved in baseball’s steroids probe are after the Jays to co-operate as they try to determine if any of the team’s former players used performance-enhancing drugs.
The investigation is being led by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. He’s seeking medical records and files from the Jays.
• Toronto centre fielder Vernon Wells generally has been perceived as one of baseball’s nicer stars, but his reputation certainly has been tarnished now that word is out about a signed ball he gave to a heckling fan in Cleveland recently.
Here’s what Wells wrote on the ball:
“Dear Mr. Dork. Here is your ball. Can you please tell me what gas station you work at so when you are pumping my gas I can yell at you. Now sit down, shut up and enjoy the game. Your favourite centre fielder.”
What Wells wrote was nasty and mean-spirited and reminiscent of something Barry Bonds or Albert Belle would do. Baseball doesn’t need public relations like this. Fans are paying customers and are entitled to heckle. There’s no way a player should be deriding a fan in this fashion. It makes Wells look snobby and it’s downright inexcusable. He ought to be ashamed of himself.
• It wouldn’t be surprising, by the way, if the Jays started to dismantle their highly paid roster.
They may start by trading third baseman Troy Glaus. He has a no-trade clause and another year worth $12.75-million U.S. on his contract, but insiders believe there is plenty of interest in him and he could be persuaded to waive his clause.
• Both the Jays and the Baltimore Orioles are trying to trade for pitcher Jason Davis, designated for assignment recently by the Cleveland Indians.
• Here’s something that will make the Jays feel worse:
Their ex-second baseman, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Orlando Hudson, hit his fifth home run of the season Wednesday night. And he leads NL second basemen in batting average (.328) and on-base percentage (.390) while ranking second to Philadelphia’s Chase Utley in runs batted in (27) and doubles (nine).
Hudson has missed exactly 1 1/2 innings of the 324 1/3 innings the D-Backs have played this season, when he was removed in the last of the eighth inning in a blowout victory at Los Angeles on April 30.
“That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way I like it. I’m too young to be out of the lineup,” said Hudson, who missed only five games last season. “I’m not here on vacation. I’m not here to enjoy the Arizona sun. I’m not here to play three days and take two days off. I’m here to play baseball.”
Hudson is one of 24 NL players to have started every game this year.
• Canadian Doug Melvin, general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, is the leading candidate to become baseball’s executive of the year.
Along with his assistant GM, former Jays GM Gord Ash – another Canadian – the Brewers are soaring with baseball’s best record.
On Wednesday night, they improved their record to 24-10 for a .706 winning percentage. That marked the first time that any Milwaukee team has been at or above .700 this late in a season.
Previously, the latest that any Milwaukee team had a winning percentage of .700 or higher was exactly 20 years ago, when the 1987 Brewers had a 20-8 record (.714).
Six different franchises have played a total of 55 seasons in Milwaukee: the current Brewers (since 1970) and Braves (1953-65), and four teams that played only one season there more than a century ago.
• When the Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson faced the San Diego Padres David Wells two weeks ago, it was the first game in major-league history in which both starting pitchers were 43 or older.
On Wednesday night, 44-year-old Jamie Moyer of the Philadelphia Phillies trumped the 43-year-old Wells by facing Johnson.
• Barry Bonds will soon become MLB’s home run king, but he has a way to go to become the San Francisco Giants' career home run leader.
Willie Mays, Bonds' godfather, hit 646 homers with the Giants while Bonds, who spent his first seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, entered Thursday night with 569 in a Giants uniform.
• Baseball types are beginning to think it’s time for MLB to introduce video replay.
“I think for fair-foul calls, that’s maybe one where you’d say it would be a good idea,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “I don’t think you could tell totally, on replay, safe or out.” But Torre added that he doubted baseball would ever adopt replay technology. “The games would go on forever,” he said. “There’s a difference in getting your money’s worth and being able to get up in the morning, too.”
• St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, the former Jay, underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow Tuesday.
The Cards said there were no unexpected ailments found when doctors performed the arthroscopic procedure to clean up the joint. Club doctor George Paletta performed the operation.
Carpenter, who made two attempts to overcome the spurs and pitch this season, is expected to miss three months as he recovers.