by Neate Sager, Interim Blogger
There is one big takeaway from the Blue Jays press conference announcing Paul Beeston as the Jays quote, unquote interim CEO -- J.P. Ricciardi was not there.
(Digression: Lyle Overbay told his hometown paper in Washington state that with regard to A.J. Burnett, "My feeling is he won’t be back ... Hopefully they can reach an agreement. One thing in our favor is I know he has a great relationship with (catcher) Rod Barajas, and I know A.J. really wants to win, and he knows we’re close." Have any other Jays publicly weighed in on Burnett?)
Please try to get past the whole running joke that the term "interim" has become in Toronto sports. Beeston, by all accounts has an impeccable reputation in the game. His presence ought to attract good applicants for the president and GM jobs after the 2009 season. He has better judgment and is more baseball-savvy than any other president the Jays have had since 2000 (that's about the most polite way to phrase it).
Ricciardi is not that bad a GM, for all his personality quirks. The Jays, after 2009, will look like a pretty sweet gig for an upwardly mobile executive. They have a decent team, there are some Ricciardi draft picks who will be getting close to the majors and with the way Canada's economy will be relatively shielded from the global economic chaos, the Jays might have more financial largesse than some teams (those teams won't be the Red Sox and Yankees, sorry).
The point is, please try to get past the knee-jerk reaction to another Toronto franchise is making a nostalgia play. It would be nice if the Jays brought in someone to go Rick Pitino on the self-satisfied Southern Ontario types ("Devon White is not walking through that door ... Tom Henke is not walking through that door"). The bottom line is the Jays have a top executive whose opinion is actually respected in baseball circles, not in Toronto cocktail party circles.
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