Blue Jays president Paul Beeston: 'I'm actually pissed off' 0
Blue Jays president Paul Beeston says the team's frustrating season has kept him awake at nights.
Words you don't normally hear from Paul Beeston: "I'm actually pissed off."
And he wasn't, in this case, talking about Yunel Escobar, who has given him and the Blue Jays every reason to be.
This has been, in truth, the season from hell for the Jays, although club president Beeston, ever the optimist, calls it the "half season from hell." The list of everything of anything that has gone wrong assaults Beeston's regular rose-coloured approach to the club.
Where and how do you even begin to take stock of this team, from Escobar's stupidity, to Ricky Romero's meltdown, to manager John Farrell's status, to a pitching staff lost to the disabled list in a matter of days, to lost second-half games to injury by Jose Bautista, J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie, to a lack of delivery from the farmhands, to a first-round pick testing positive for a banned substance, to a Rogers Centre roof that couldn't open and close when it needed to?
"It has not been fun," said Beeston.
"I've never experienced a year like this one, where so many things have gone wrong. You go back to the beginning of the year, even into the season, attendance was coming back, our TV numbers were great, there was a good buzz about the team. But once the team started to go south, it just seemed to be one thing after the other. And it never stopped.
"It's the one thing that keeps me up at night. When you build something and you don't deliver, there is a feeling of emptiness. It's felt by fans and players and by the front office as well. We all want to win. We have to learn from it. The hard thing is, it was almost like interest was spiking up instead of drifting up, and we were going on this 90-degree angle, a huge spike of interest, and then all this...
"I don't believe you make excuses. We have to deliver. You can't lose the pitchers we lost. You can't lose the position players we lost. That said, no one cares about excuses, no one wants to hear that. They care about results. And believe me, our expectations were high when this season began."
Beeston addressed a number of issues surrounding the Jays with his usual candour, and maybe with a bit more edge than usual for the longtime executive:
ON THE ESCOBAR CONTROVERSY AND SUSPENSION
"This is serious. We have to learn from this. It's not something we're happy about. It's not something we can ever be proud of. We can't look back and this and say it didn't happen. We can't ignore it. But it's a punch in the stomach for the Blue Jays. Even if everything had gone well all season, this would still be a very serious mark against our organization. It's not our values. It's not our way.'
ON WHAT YOUNG GENERAL MANAGER ALEX ANTHOPOULOUS MIGHT TAKE FROM THIS SEASON
"I think everyone learns from this. Alex is a very smart person. Alex is a very intelligent person. I'm sure he's aged a lot this season. (Anthopoulos says, not necessarily joking, that he's grown 40 years in one). You may get kicked but it doesn't mean you stay down. You get up. If I worry about anything with Alex, it's how he goes over everything so intently. He second-guesses himself. He asks, what could I have done differently? That's one of Alex's strength. He'll come out of this a better GM.
ON THE MATTER THAT BALTIMORE AND OAKLAND, PERENNIAL DOORMATS, MAY GO TO THE PLAYOFFS
"I'm actually pissed off about it. And the reason being: Can you tell me who the favourite is in the American League? There isn't one. I was talking to (White Sox owner) Jerry Reinsdorf about this today. There's no one team to beat. Everybody's got a shot. Getting into the playoffs gives you a chance to win. A lot of teams can with the World Series, starting with the play-in game. I'm more pissed off because that could have been us."
ON WHERE THE TEAM IS AND WHERE IT IS GOING
"We still have high expectations. There's a core group here than we can contend with. We've seen what the other teams have. We have to build a better team around them. We need some pieces to add it but there is a core of players we can build around. Players we can add through trades and free agency. The question now is going out and getting them."
ON THE LOST OPPORTUNITY OF THIS SEASON
"We had something going here. You could feel it. The way people were returning to baseball. The way interest was increased. There are angry people out there and I understand why. We're angry too. And it's hard to get to the place where people are excited about your team. We started to get there and then everything fell apart."
ON THE RISE OF EDWIN ENCARNACION AND THE FALL OF RICKY ROMERO AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE FUTURE
"We didn't know what Jose Bautista was until he started playing every day. Look what happened to him. He had a great year, then another great year and was heading that way this season. I think it's a little bit the same with Edwin. It's not like he has new-found power. He hit 26 homers years ago in Cincinnati. I think he got an opportunity here and, like Bautista, he took advantage of it. As for Ricky, I was talking to Cito Gaston the other day. He told me about a pitcher who lost 21 games one year and came back and won 21 the next. We're still counting on Ricky for the future. That's why I'm hoping he has a strong finish to the season so he can have something to build on. We're not ready to give up on him. We still see him as a core piece of our team."