Toronto Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons Gets His Props With Selection To All-Star Staff

By Thom Tsang
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

So … is the #FireGibby thing still on?

For John Gibbons, manager for the Toronto Blue Jays, the news that he’d been selected by Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland to join the coaching staff for the AL All-Star team was certainly a dose of the unexpected, especially among those in the fan base who have been campaigning for his premature dismissal amidst a disappointing season.

Now, considering that Leyland and Gibbons are good friends, it’s maybe not totally out of the blue that the selection happened. That said, it’d be taking away from Gibbons to say that it’s the only reason why it happened.

Which is to say that this manager of the last-place, 29-36 Blue Jays team might actually be — gasp — doing a good decent job?

It’s definitely not going to look like it from a performance standpoint; it doesn’t really bear too much repeating, but let’s just summarize that the team has been all sorts of awful. The thing is though, not all parts of the team have all been awful at the same time, which makes this team even more frustrating to watch.

However, that also means that for all that has gone wrong, there’s also been plenty that’s gone relatively well.

For one, there’s the revival of Adam Lind — platoon and all — that no other manager has coaxed out of him (mostly because he wasn’t properly utilized) over the last few years, and while his bullpen management isn’t necessarily fantastic, it’s certainly less baffling than that of his predecessor John Farrell‘s.

He’s also done his job of putting folks in line and needed (looking at you, Brett Lawrie), demonstrating a leadership that was apparently lacking in 2012.

Moreover, the fact is that much of the team’s issues simply haven’t had to do with what manager is responsible for — namely, injuries to key players like Jose Reyes and a decimated starting rotation that’s being led by a still-injured R.A. Dickey.

In fact, if you were to look at the tangible improvements — the team’s 20th ranked offense in April now sitting at 13th with 289 runs, for example — and you might even say that he’s getting more and more out of this lineup by the day.

Sure, this is still a team that’s just playing .500 ball at 19-19 since the disastrous 10-17 opening month, and it admittedly an apologist’s view, but the matter of the fact is that Gibbons is often maligned as someone who doesn’t care simply based on his relatively laid back attitude, which is more than a little ironic, considering that his problem the first time around was that he got juuuust a little too fired up with players.

It’s hard for a manger to get any credit when things are going well, and even harder to give props when the team isn’t performing as expected. Fortunately, at least one of his peers didn’t think that the record accurately reflected the quality of his work.

Whether it’ll be enough to sate the anger of a disappointed Blue Jays nation, however …

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