SBD/September 20, 2012/Franchises

Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston Sounds Off On The Team's Disappointing Season

Escobar will be required to participate in sensitivity training programs
The Blue Jays sit at the bottom of the AL East standings in what has been "the season from hell," according to Steve Simmons of the TORONTO SUN. Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston said, "It has not been fun. 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." Simmons writes the "list of everything of anything that has gone wrong assaults Beeston's regular rose-coloured approach to the club." Beeston: "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." Simmons notes the Orioles and A's, "perennial doormats, may go to the playoffs." Beeston said, "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." Asked about the lost opportunity of this season, Beeston said, "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" (TORONTO SUN, 9/20).

FACING THE CONSEQUENCES: The GLOBE & MAIL's Robert MacLeod noted Blue Jays SS Yunel Escobar was "suspended for three games" by the team after he "displayed on his eye black a homophobic slur written in his native Spanish" during last Saturday's game at Rogers Centre against the Red Sox. The phrase "Tu ere maricon" was written on Escobar's eye-black stickers. Escobar will "lose roughly $90,000 (U.S.) in salary," which will be "donated to organizations that deal with gay and lesbian causes." Escobar also will be "required to participate in sensitivity training programs" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/19). In Toronto, Steve Buffery asked, "How dumb were the Jays not to notice the writing under Escobar's eyes before he went on the field?" This is a "multi-million dollar organization, owned by billion dollar corporation and no one notices a homophobic slur under their starting shortstop's eyes?" (TORONTO SUN, 9/19). The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Blair wrote of the incident, "The stupidity and arrogance of Escobar and his teammates have done more than torched currency with the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community; it has given other peoples of diversity cause to second-guess, and that is deadly in this age of social media and high-tech marketing in a city as diverse as Toronto" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/19).
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