Toronto players appreciate Gibbons' approach

The SportsXchange

John Gibbons isn't one of those growing number of managers who micromanage a game. And there are some Toronto Blue Jays players who will be glad of that.

"Nobody likes to be dictated to everything they do. I mean, that's not baseball," Gibbons said. "The problem with it is that it starts in the beginning when they get to pro ball. Then they get up here (to the majors) and they're not used to doing it (acting on their own), and some of them are going to say, 'What do I do now?' And I think that's hurt the game. But they're kind of programmed that way."

Under Gibbons' predecessor, John Farrell, who is now managing the Boston Red Sox, there was more micromanaging, from setting up defensive alignments to telling batters what their approach should be.

Gibbons will offer some on-field directions. However, he feels that players should be able to bend to what is happening in the game.

"You have to adjust off what's happening at the plate, if a guy's late on every pitch, use your instincts," he said. "I tell the catchers the same thing. If you're back there and we don't call a throw over and your gut tells you we should, then feel free to do it because you've got a better feel than we have (in the dugout), no doubt."

Designated hitter-first baseman Adam Lind said, "You've got to let us be players because we're at this level for a reason. We read swings, we read pitches, we know what a pitcher has been trying to do to a guy. You've got to let us play the game. There's a reason we're in the big leagues.

"I think that's why our team might have lost interest last year sometimes because our minds were taken out of the game. There was some thinking done for us, which can be good, but when it's over the course of a lot of games like a baseball season is, it starts to wear on you and you lose interest in the game because you don't get to play the game the way you feel. You're stuck in a spot. Especially a guy like Omar Vizquel (who ended his career with the Blue Jays in 2012). I mean, the guy's got 11 Gold Gloves, or however many, and you're trying to tell that guy he has to play in a spot? I think he has those Gold Gloves because he knows what he's doing."

Center fielder Colby Rasmus noticed it most after the Blue Jays had three starting pitchers get injured last June.

"When our pitchers got hurt, that hurt us a lot overall, and it kind of lowered our confidence as a team," Rasmus said. "After those things happened, they started to maybe put too much information in our brains, but before the injuries came along, we were just going out there and banging the ball and weren't thinking about things and were doing pretty well.

"When you're going well, nobody says anything to you, but as soon as you have a little hiccup, everybody wants to give their input because they think they know better, they know this or that. Not to put anybody down, but Farrell last year felt some pressure with the injuries and things that happened. We were trying to win because we came in with such high expectations last year and we were good, but those injuries changed everybody.

"It changed the whole feeling in the clubhouse. We got tight and hit the panic button, and it just made it an unpleasant place to be. There's no need to try to change the whole mindset of the team because we had some injuries, and nobody could control them. Farrell couldn't control them, so for me, hitting the panic button and just kind of letting everything go to the wayside, it was a bad place to be."
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball
View Comments