Tears may be shed tonight.
I will be in attendance for Cito’s final home game as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. I am moving down from my accustomed 500 Level seats so I can get a better, clearer view of the man, the myth, the moustache that has lead the Jays on the field for the past two-and-a-half seasons, and so many before that.
I hear many negative things about Cito. People criticize his treatment of young players, especially Snider and Arencibia. People say he can’t run a pitching staff. Even in the glory years, people discounted his managing, saying anybody could have won the World Series with those Jays teams.
Those all may or may not be valid, depending on your point of view.
But there is one thing that can’t be argued when it comes to Gaston. He wins. Sure he had a rough patch starting in ’94. Sure last year’s team faded down the stretch. But he won two World Series here. That is two more than any other manager in Blue Jays history. In his second stint as manager he has gone 207-200, in 2008 with a broken and demoralized team, and in 2010 with a team predicted to finish dead last.
But for me Cito represents much more than an on-field manager. He represents calmness. He represents class. He represents dignity, composure, and respect.
Most of all he is our last link to the good ol’ days, to times when Toronto was at the top of the baseball world.
So win or lose tonight, after the final out is recorded and Cito steps out to wave goodbye, I will cheer, I will applaud, and who knows, maybe I’ll cry.
Cause love him or hate him, you have to admit we will never see a man like him in our dugout again.
For more Cito nostalgia please read his goodbye letter to fans here.
For even MORE Cito nostaliga, please read a sports writing piece I entered in a Globe and Mail competition. Though I didn’t win, finishing in the top-50 was more than I expected. Thanks Cito.