We don’t know each other, but given that my emotions have been at your whim since you became the GM for the Toronto Blue Jays in December 2015, I feel like we’re chummy enough to be honest.
I haven’t always liked your decisions, but I have always done my best to accept, if not understand, them. I was crushed when Bautista’s tenure ended unceremoniously, and then when Donaldson was traded. I’ve stood by while (mind you, with crossed arms and a some serious side-eye) you have made all the roster decisions that you thought necessary, because hey, WTF do I know about the business end of baseball? I mean, I’ve seen Moneyball so I could probably do it, but whatever; you’re the expert, right?
Except…on Tuesday you did something that made me want to kick you in the shins, really really hard.
You traded Kevin Pillar.
I mean, again, I don’t know anything about the money side of baseball, and I like it that way. So, even though I was heartbroken, and still am, I still believed you had some kind of ridiculous (to me) reason for trading the (current) longest- tenured Blue Jay. He certainly wasn’t costing you the most, because you went on to hand Grichuk the keys to the Dome by way of $52M over 5 years.
Not that Grichuk is not worth it; I definitely have your back on that one. It’s not even so much that you traded Pillar–I need to believe that you have a plan (yeah, yeah, rebuilding, blah blah) that didn’t include a place Kevin Pillar.
But here’s the thing, Ross: the fans don’t understand why we didn’t need Pillar. He wasn’t costing the most (4.93% of your total salary cost, and you freed up 22.46% on top of that by trading Morales and Martin). Maybe his bats were cracking but we’re only a week into the season. With all the new blood coming up from Buffalo and from other teams, the Blue Jays were in dire need of a seasoned veteran or two.
We don’t see the reasoning behind it. And when you were asked for the reason behind trading a star player and a fan favourite, you kicked us all in the gut again with this gem: “We’re not here to win a popularity contest.”
Talk about kicking a fan when she’s down, Ross.
We, as the fanbase (hell, the entire COUNTRY) that supports the team, buys your merchandise, and is very vocal about the love we have for the Blue Jays, were delivered a one-two punch that hurt. A Lot.
The arrogance that came across in that statement not only compounded the heartbreak for many fans, but showed us that perhaps we’re not as important to you as we think we are.
I just wanted to mention though, Ross, that it kind of *is* a popularity contest. Really. Look what happens to teams that slash and burn their rosters in the name of cost-cutting (think Montreal Expos), and effectively lost a huge majority of their attendance.
So, you really do need, us, and you need us to like you. That is kind of the essence of a popularity contest, no? I surely never won any, so I could be talking out of my ass here; but am I really, Ross?
Popularity is important to keep the wheels of commerce greased, Ross. Even in baseball.
It’s not for you, it’s for US. The “us” that you kicked in the teeth on Tuesday with your arrogant and glib comment.
I hope you can see where I am coming from, Ross. We’re trying hard to see your plan, but when the hammer-dropper drops said hammer on it’s fanbase, well…. I’ll just leave you with this, noting again that you joined the organization in December of 2015:
Maybe the players aren’t the problem, Ross.