Some managers are fire-and-brimstone types, yelling and screaming, breaking down before building up kind of guys. Some guys are nurturers, building a cooperative atmosphere through keeping self-esteem levels high and promoting cameraderie. And then there’s Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who just wants to beat your ass.
Back in July, Gibbons challenged Shea Hillenbrand to a fight, and last night, apparently got into an actual fight with pitcher Ted Lilly. Gibbons went out to the mound to pull Lilly from the game, an argument ensued, Lilly screamed at Gibbons, and Gibbons screamed at Lilly, and Lilly refused to give him the ball. Lilly eventually went to the locker room, and Gibbons followed him. Gibbons was seen pushing Lilly first, and Gibbons later had a bloody nose. What happened in between there, I couldn’t tell you.
I think there have probably been a few situations where a manager would be justified in punching a player. I don’t think it’s impossible for a situation like that to occur, but it’s probably rare. Lilly was probably out of line, but still, when it happens to the same manager twice in one season… well, that’s not a good sign. At some point, you have to show some restraint. If Jack Johnson and Tom O’Leary are your most effective way of managing your team, you’re in trouble.
I hope it happens once more this season before he’s fired, and I hope someone just beats him unmercifully. Not because I dislike him or anything… I probably wouldn’t know who he was if he walked in my door right now (though the Blue Jays uniform and bloody nose might tip it off). But if your managerial style can be best described as first-option violence, you deserve to get your ass kicked in public, at least once.