Sports Letter: Mark Shapiro Must Go

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By Mike Caruso

I must admit that I’ve been a Tiger fan since forever.  That forever started in 1954 when I discovered baseball at the north end of James St.  That’s where the James St. ball field was located.  We played ball every chance we got, after mass on Sunday, after school Monday to Friday, and all day Saturday.

Very few people had TVs and I can’t really remember if the Tiger ball games were on, probably not.  Listened to all the games on WSOO Soo Michigan though, even while at work.  In those days, you were either a Tiger fan or a Yankee fan.  Al Kaline throwing strikes to home plate from right field or Mickey and Roger hitting those God awful home runs against us.

Well let’s move on to the present, the Blue Jays.

When the Blue Jays came to Canada, everything was Jays this and Jays that.  Tigers were ignored again.  If there was a ball game on TV, it was the Jays.  Eventually Canadians got on board and millions left the Yankee and Tiger stables to follow the Jays.

Their first season, as was expected, was a miserable one.  Their win/loss record was 54 and 107.  They had 6 losing seasons before they could muster up a decent win/loss record in 1983, (89-73).  Eleven winning season followed that year and the fans were coming out in droves.  The next two seasons were shortened because of a strike.  Due to the strike, both the 1994 and 1995 seasons were not played to a complete 162 games.  The Jays records for those two seasons were 55-50 in 1994 and 56-88 in 1995.  They didn’t start winning again until 1997 until 2001. 2001 was the start of a mixture of win and loss seasons that saw them with 7 losing seasons and 5 winning seasons.

This brings us to the end of the 2013 season when Anthopoulos was the GM.  He had brought a mediocre team to an exciting and beloved winning franchise again.  He had orchestrated  awesome deals that saw Justin Smoak, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, David Price and Troy Tulowitzki come to the Jays and back to winning again.  The only trade I question is the Gose for Travis deal, which I see a nothing for nothing deal.

During thos seasons the stadium was packed for every game.  I even got the feeling that the players enjoyed playing ball again.  They were there early for the game and stayed late after the game was over.  They were having fun playing the “game” that they grew up playing for fun.  The fans were going crazy.  They didn’t know what to expect next.  A bat flip, punches thrown at 2nd base, stealing bases, good old time baseball were the rule of the day, every day.

The Jays, in 2015, ended up in 1st place in the East with a record of 93-69. The starting line-up in that season went like this:

Catcher -Martin, 1st. Base – Edwin Encarnacion, 2nd Base Mix of players, SS – Troy Tulowitzki – 3rd Base – Josh Donaldson – OF’s – Kevin Pillar, Jose Bautista, Ben Revere*.

The second base and right fielder positions had several players playing in those positions.

Enter Shapiro:  Shapiro inherited a very good team with a winning record and quickly demolished what could have been great team.  He went from a 93-69 win/loss season to the 2017 season where they ended up with a 76-86 win/loss and 4th place in the East.

Last year’s team (2017) looked like this:

 1 C   Russell Martin

2 1B Justin Smoak
3 2B Darwin Barney
4 SS Ryan Goins*
5 3B Josh Donaldson
6 LF Steve Pearce
7 CF Kevin Pillar
8 RF Jose Bautista
9 DH Kendrys Morales#
   

2018 Jays

 

Curtis Granderson

Josh Donaldson

Justin Smoak

Yangervis Solarte

Kevin Pillar

Russell Martin

Kendrys Morales

Luke Maile

Aledmys Diaz

Now, the place is never sold out, the players are back to normal, as in it’s a job again, and not very many fans watching on TV either.  Shapiro is responsible for this.  I say again, he inherited a good, solid winning team and brought it to where it is today, mediocre.  Shapiro must go.

By the way, Anthopoulo is in Atlanta as their GM and senior vice president of baseball operations.  The Braves are having a fine season so far with a record of  27 – 17.

Shapiro’s record while with Cleveland from 1991 to 2015 was  12 Winning Seasons, 12 Losing Seasons with one season of 81 and 81.  I guess that that means he is a 50/50 Exec./GM.  Is that what the Jays really want at the head of their organization?