Sports Outside the Beltway

Toronto Blue Jays fire Manager John Gibbons, bring back Cito Gaston

Another day, another MLB manager fired. This time a pink slip was issued north of the border.

PITTSBURGH — John Gibbons was fired Friday by the last-place Toronto Blue Jays and replaced by Cito Gaston, who led the team to World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

The Blue Jays began the day 35-39, having lost five straight and 13 of their last 17 games to fall 10½ games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

He is the third major league manager to be fired this week, following Willie Randolph of the New York Mets and John McLaren of the Seattle Mariners.

“The team just wasn’t doing what was expected of it, and maybe changes were needed,” Gibbons said in a conference call. “There was a lot expected this year, we came in riding high and speaking high. And that’s not the results we’re getting now.”

Gibbons, who became manager midway through the 2004 season, had a record of 305-305 with the Blue Jays. His best season was in 2006, when the Blue Jays went 87-75 to finish second in the AL East.

But that 2006 season was also when Gibbons challenged Shea Hillenbrand to a fight after the infielder wrote on a clubhouse bulletin board “play for yourselves” and the “ship is sinking,” and a month later had a physical altercation with pitcher Ted Lilly in a dugout tunnel following an argument on the mound.

The Jays, who were in Pittsburgh to open a weekend series against the Pirates, also fired three of Gibbons’ coaches — Marty Pevey, Ernie Whitt and Gary Denbo.

The 64-year-old Gaston becomes the Blue Jays’ first two-time manager. He previously managed the team from 1989 to 1997.

As Soccer Dad reminded me this morning, Gaston was very successful as Blue Jay manager after taking over the team in May 1989. Gaston taking Toronto to 4 division titles and two world series appearances. The Blue Jays were World Champs in both 1992 and 1993.

After 1993, the Blue Jays have been generally mediocre. Cito Gaston worked magic in his first takeover of the Blue Jays, I doubt it will happen this time.

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