The official website of the Toronto Blue Jays reports that the Jays are close to agreeing on a two-year contract extension with team president Paul Beeston. While some may question whether the Jays should consider cleaning house in Toronto after a disappointing 2012 season, Beeston's presence with the franchise goes a lot deeper than wins and losses, and keeping him in the fold is undoubtedly a great move going forward.
Beeston was the first-ever employee in the Blue Jays' history as he was named vice president of administration in 1976. He worked his way up the ladder in the organization until being named CEO of the team in the winter of 1991, a position he maintained through two World Series championship seasons in the 1990s. He then left the team in 1997.
After an 11-year hiatus, Beeston returned to Toronto in 2008 as the then-interim CEO, before agreeing to sign on full-time. Although many might bellyache that the Blue Jays' performance on the field since Beeston's return in 2008 has left much to be desired, it would be shortsighted to think that keeping Beeston at the top of the organization is not a great idea.
For starters, Beeston's main job goes further than merely putting together a team on the field. That is what general manager Alex Anthopoulos is on board to do. When it comes to on-field moves, it is generally the job of the president to merely oversee the moves of the general manager. And, notwithstanding the poor results in an injury-marred 2012 season, Anthopoulos has not done anything that would come close to warranting Beeston removing him. To the contrary, Anthopolous has done a great job of keeping things moving forward even with all of the injuries, including locking up power hitters Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to anchor the lineup in 2013 and beyond.
At the same time, a team president needs to be someone who advances the interests of the team off of the field. Beeston has done just that in his time back with the franchise, firmly establishing the Jays as Canada's team. Since returning to Toronto in 2008, Beeston has been integral in making Blue Jays baseball matter again in Canada as the team has strengthened its bonds to Baseball Canada, and has run various clinics across the country with Blue Jays legends like Roberto Alomar to increase interest among Canadian youth.
Additionally, Beeston was the driving force behind Toronto returning to its spectacular blue uniforms and away from the misplaced black and silver threads of the recent past. That alone would have been worth the contract extension.
All things considered, keeping Beeston in the fold is a great decision by the Blue Jays that should be applauded. The Jays will continue to gain popularity under his vision, and the team on the field should only keep getting stronger under his watch.
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Del Pearson has been a big Blue Jays fan since seeing the team's best prospects come through Auburn and Syracuse as a child. You can follow Del on Twitter @DelPearson2.
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