Saturday, October 03, 2009

Arrivederci Ricciardi

I was ready to write a whole diatribe on the Cito Gaston mutiny story being a symptom of a terrible organization...but then this happened, and yeah, it's a much bigger deal.

J.P. Ricciardi is no longer with the Blue Jays, and as much as I'd like to rip the man for fucking this franchise eight ways from Sunday, I can't bring myself to do it.

Fans and members of the media have short memories, and I recall the early days of J.P.'s tenure as being ones of unbridled enthusiasm and optimism. We gave J.P. plenty of rope, and instead of lassoing a playoff berth or two, he ended up hanging himself with it.

There's no question Ricciardi's last years with the club were an unmitigated disaster; from the ludicrous signings of B.J. Ryan, Frank Thomas, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, to the Adam Dunn fiasco, to the poor handling of the Roy Halladay trade deadline situation, and finally the reported team mutiny towards manager Cito Gaston.

But now is not the time to kick a fired man's ass out the door. What needs to happen going forward for this team is a change in culture, similar to what is happening with Brian Burke and the Leafs (never thought I'd use the fucking Leafs as an example for how to improve management).

If it takes completely cleaning house, then I'm all for it. Paul Beeston will pick a successor soon, and that person should promptly start from scratch. There needs to be an attitude of winning, not one of complacency for being in a ball-busting division. No excuses, just play ball, all that sort of thing. It sounds simple, but for this franchise it would mark a significant shift in its outlook.

With the Jays' parent company Rogers losing money, the task will be a difficult one. The days of outspending the Yankees and Red Sox ended 15 years ago. But it has to happen. Fans are disillusioned and are making their voices heard by not showing up to the ballpark in droves. With the Leafs and Raptors improving, the Jays simply cannot afford to wallow in mediocrity any longer.

J.P. Ricciardi let the pressures of working in a seemingly no-win environment get to him, and it got him run out of town. I would be surprised if he ever got another GM gig, and he's got no one to blame but himself. Getting fired just two days before the end of the season puts a fitting bow on one of the worst Blue Jays seasons in recent memory, especially considering how promising it all started.

Something has to change. Undeniable dilemma.

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