TORONTO – Alex Anthopoulos is always grateful for Don Cherry’s support, but the Blue Jays general manager was reluctant to second Cherry’s belief that Major League Baseball is conspiring to keep Toronto out of the post-season.
Cherry spoke at length on Saturday during his Coach’s Corner segment of Hockey Night in Canada about officiating and game operations decisions made by MLB that he believed were biased against the Blue Jays.
“Can’t say enough good things about (Don Cherry),” said Anthopoulos at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. “We’ll let him have his opinions. The guy’s earned the right to think or say whatever he wants. He’s certainly earned that right.
“I just appreciate that he’s a big fan of the team, I really do. I think it’s great for us.”
Cherry spoke on Saturday night after the Blue Jays were defeated 6-4 in 14 innings the Texas Rangers in Game 2 on Friday.
“I think they’re getting stiffed. Nobody will say it,” Cherry said before specifically pointing out the fact that Roger Centre’s retractable roof remained closed for Game 1 despite fair weather in Toronto. Cherry also made note of home plate umpire Vic Carapazza’s controversial strike zone.
Cherry also had an issue with a replay review that was upheld in the 14th inning that eventually led to Texas’ winning run.
Replays showed that Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had applied a tag to Rougned Odor as the Rangers second baseman slid back in to second base. But Odor’s foot appeared to bounce off the bag as Tulowitzki tried to get his glove down. Whether or not Odor got his foot back on the bag fast enough or if Tulowitzki tagged him in time was debatable.
“The guy off second base, he’s off that far,” Cherry said, motioning a couple of inches with his fingers. “They go and look at it and they say it’s all right.
“We’re getting stiffed. You know why we’re getting stiffed? Because they do not want a Canadian team in the final. That’s my opinion.”
When asked if he believed in such conspiracy theories, Anthopoulos deflected the question.
“Well, I can say I love Don Cherry. Big fan,” said Anthopoulos. “I thought what he did for Josh Donaldson (supporting his MVP candidacy) was tremendous. I don’t follow a ton of hockey but if it’s a Saturday night and I’m at my in-laws and Coach’s Corner is on, I want to watch.”