* Paul Beeston flew to Montreal to help land C Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) with a five-year $82 million free-agent deal, he approved deals GM Alex Anthopoulos made to acquire 3B Josh Donaldson and LF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC). The off-season was going swimmingly … until a Rogers Communications employee picked up the phone and started dialing looking for Beeston’s replacement.
By Bob Elliott
SAN DIEGO _ The mystery man works for Rogers Communications.
He is not one the big shooters on the Rogers campus and he is not a member of the Rogers board.
He is above the rank of a Rogers cable repairman.
Yet this Rogers employee called Chicago White Sox vice-president Kenny Williams more than three weeks ago asking if he would be interested in becoming the next president of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Never mind that the Blue Jays have a sitting president and CEO in Paul Beeston.
Whether you like or dislike Paul Beeston is this any way to run company?
Whether the one-man search was authorized or not, word is out now.
How would you feel?
Insert the name of your job, your position and the name of your company where you work in the blanks:
“Hi I’m calling from Rogers Communications and we’ve been watching you as you do your work as a blank, we know you’re doing a good job as a blank at Blank Incorporated … would you be interested in being interviewed a position with us?”
Is this any way for Rogers to stay amongst Canada’s Top 100 Employers as it was on the 2015 list, as it did last month?
If I found out my boss, old what’s his name, was phoning around looking for a new ball writer to replace me I’d tell him to jam it where the Sun does not shine.
When the call came from the 416 area code came, Williams answered.
“No way I would have answered the phone if I didn’t think Paul Beeston was part of the succession process,” Williams told reporters at the Manchester Grand Hyatt on Monday. “I was flattered that Toronto reached out.
“I would assume that’s already been worked out on that end, that there’s some sort of transition planned.”
Beeston was aware when names like Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette and Williams surfaced Sunday. We’re told he was not aware of the call to Chicago more than three weeks ago.
Williams said he does not go after a position that someone already has. He said permission from the White Sox to speak with Jays about president job was neither granted nor denied.
Can White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf file tampering charges against the Blue Jays and Rogers?
Williams says he only considered resigning from White Sox for the Toronto job in context of “considering all possibilities.”
“(General manager) Rick Hahn and I work well together, but there are other possibilities in the game,” Williams said. “There has not been an African American CEO. So why would I not listen? It’s part of my responsibilities.”
His focus is on off-season, making the White Sox better and winning another World Series.
The White Sox executive said he would not have been prepared to run Chicago’s minor league system in 1995– before he became general manager in 2000 and guided the Sox to the 2005 World Series title.
“I would not be standing here today if not for my time in Toronto,” said Williams, who appeared in 62 games with the 1990-91 Jays.
After Williams went to the Montreal Expos (“I didn’t chose to leave Toronto, the Expos claimed me on waivers,”) he received a note from the SkyDome offices 10 days later.
“Paul Beeston and Pat Gillick sent me a not thanking me for my effort and wishing me well, I still have that letter,” said Williams. “It’s one of the classiest gestures I’ve ever seen in my years in the game.”
Williams made an excellent comparison to how he is now relating to the south side of Chicago and no longer Toronto.
“Often times I’ve phoned one of our guys at triple-A, a player not doing well thinking in his head that he should be with the big club,” Williams said. “I’d call and say the best thing for you is to have your head and your ass in the same city.”
An analogy like that should get through to the most stubborn, hard-headed minor leaguer.
While Williams maintains a fondness for Toronto as he said the other day “that ship has sailed.”
“That said, I love Chicago, too,” Williams said, “and that’s where my head and my ass is.”
Now, if we can find out where the head of the Rogers employee is with the dialing fingers.