Tonight is the last home game of the year for the Toronto Blue Jays and barring the unforseen, the last home game ever as manager for Cito Gaston, who is retiring at the end of the season.
Tonight is being celebrated as thank you Cito night, which is awesome. I wish I was going to be there, but I’ll be listening to the game here instead. It would have been nice to be there to say thanks to him for everything he’s meant to the team and to the fans. You can say what you want about some of the decisions he’s made or hasn’t made, about his tendency to not play young guys who need more experience at the big league level even though it’s September and the team isn’t going to the playoffs, the way he handles pitchers or the sometimes strange way he puts his lineups together, but no matter what you think of him, you have to admit that more than almost anybody else, Cito Gaston is Blue Jays baseball. Through the most successful years the Jays have had, he’s been there as a coach and manager. Even this year, when everybody thought the team would shit the bed and finish dead last in the division with an awful losing record, they can’t finish any worse than .500 when it’s all said and done. He can’t take all the credit for that of course, but using the sports logic of teams living and dying by the manager, you have to give the man his due.
I’m looking forward to next season and the new manager, but I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a small part of me deep down that wouldn’t mind seeing old Cito come back again. It’s for the best that he’s moving on, but it’s hard to let go of the guy who gave you the greatest years in your history.
Thanks for the memories Cito, we’ll never forget you.