Blue Jays' Shapiro Defends Team's Recent Struggles, Future Direction
Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro believes that recent criticisms of the team are not a "fair representation of the progress" they have made over the last few months, according to Gregor Chisholm of the TORONTO STAR. Shapiro, meeting with the media on Thursday, acknowledged the "recent negative 'tone, tenor and frustration'" surrounding the club, but made it clear he thinks that the Blue Jays "have turned a corner." Shapiro's remarks were a "sign of a man playing defence by going on the offensive, perhaps an indicator that he’s starting to feel the pressure" from team owner Rogers Communications, which has been "hands off since Shapiro entered the fold" in '15. Shapiro said, "They’re my boss and we ultimately need to deliver results. So, I feel like we’ve made tangible, objective progress towards that result in a short period of time, but we need to continue." Moving forward, the Blue Jays have "more payroll flexibility than any team in the league but there’s no guarantee that Rogers intends to spend that money" (TORONTO STAR, 8/9).
MASTER PLAN? In Toronto, Rob Longley writes no one is "suggesting current management is on the clock, but an acknowledgement from Shapiro that 'repercussions' are a possibility is certainly revealing." Attendance is "down at a building owned by Rogers and TV ratings have taken a dive for a network also owned by Rogers." That happens when a team "spends the first half of its season on pace to lose more than 100 games." Shapiro called the decline in attendance and TV ratings a "pretty common occurrence with every major league team" (TORONTO SUN, 8/9). The GLOBE & MAIL's Cathal Kelly writes if execs on other teams are "backroom wonks, Shapiro is the Robert McNamara" of MLB. There is a "plan," and he "does not deviate from it, even as the losses pile up." This would have been a "good opportunity to give people an estimate of when all that is solid really does melt into air." Shapiro’s "vision for next season is to 'continue the progression of our core competing to win.'" Kelly: "In other words, to continue losing on the steady" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/9).