JP Ricciardi has been fired as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Alex Anthopoulos takes over, at least until a new president is named and starts making whatever changes he sees fit.
“This was a tough decision and a difficult one for me personally as I have enjoyed J.P.’s friendship and his perspective on the game,” said Paul Beeston, acting President, and CEO, in a release. “J.P. has put an incredible amount of effort into improving the team and he has brought along a number of great young players. However, I feel that it is time for a change and accordingly we have decided to move on.”
This, as has been obvious for months, is a move that had to happen. From a consumer relations perspective, carrying on into next year with Ricciardi would have been disastrous for the club.
While the relative merits of the job he’s done over the last eight years can be debated– and have been, endlessly– what can’t be debated is how completely any faith in Ricciardi’s abilities has been, rightly or wrongly, destroyed in the minds of much of the fan base. The team simply couldn’t go on with this man at the helm and expect fans to keep buying tickets and lapping up their bullshit.
It’s really that simple– as much a PR move as a baseball move– and what’s most surprising, and dare I say negligent, about it is that it took so goddamn long. We’ve known for months that this was coming, but Rogers and Paul Beeston allowed the fans to grow more and more disillusioned, more and more disinterested in the team, when this one simple act, performed in early September, could have spared so much ill feeling towards the club.
Still, they ultimately did the right thing for the franchise– the first thing that had to be done as they begin to repair their shattered image in the local consciousness. So… yeah… that’s it. It’s over. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.