We may have had our differences over these past few years … but thank you, Cito.
It was an honour to be in attendance at the Rogers Centre last night among the other 33,143 who came out to pay tribute one of the most beloved managers in the history of Toronto professional sports.
This was the perfect way to send Cito off as he didn’t really get a chance to say a proper goodbye last time with the Blue Jays. His departure back in 1997 may have left a bitter taste in his mouth, so I’m certain Cito was happy to leave on his own terms.
I may not have necessarily agreed with everything that Cito did and the way he did it, however I definitely admire his character. There’s no question that Clarence fought for his veteran players day in and day out, and gave his pitchers exorbeted amounts of rope to help them grow.
There is no question that the Blue Jays squads managed by Cito may not have been a great breeding ground for young players looking to get playing time. The loyalty to his veterans was definitely one of Clarence’s strong suits, but was also one of his biggest downfalls.
When I think of Cito Gaston, I think old school. I think he’s the kind of manager that makes the younger players earn their roster spots, and they aren’t entitled to play every day: instead they have to prove they have the hustle and heart to get that roster spot.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was elated to find out they were bringing back Cito Gaston to manage the Blue Jays after John Gibbons was ousted mid-season in 2008. Like many fans, I associated Cito with winning and thus the golden era was set to turn to Toronto.
Last night rekindled the feeling from that golden era in which Cito managed this team to two World Series Championships and three division titles. This was Cito’s swan song, and this time he left on his own account.
No matter what you think of his managerial style, you have to respect what Cito Gaston did for this team and the city of Toronto.