Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
And on the 51st day of silence Rogers Communications did something really unique.
They actually communicated.
They went from Rogers Un-Commincations to Rogers Communications in a five-paragraph press release which arrived at 6:51 Monday night.
The news: president Paul Beeston signed an extension and will stay until his retirement at the end of the this season.
You mean the same Paul Beeston, who was being replaced according to reliable reports Dec. 7 at the winter meetings in San Diego … 51 days ago?
That Beeston guy who has been with the Jays since 1976, save for 5 1/2 years (1997-2002) when he ran Major League Baseball?
You mean the Paul Beeston — not his son David Beeston, a lawyer with the Boston Red Sox — that Ed Rogers phoned around looking to replace?
Ed Rogers called the Baltimore Orioles looking to interview Dan Duquette. And Ed Rogers phoned the Chicago White Sox asking to interview Kenny Williams?
Why? To replace Beeston.
Paul Godfrey, who orchestrated Ted Rogers’ purchase of the Jays from Interbrew SA, placed Beeston’s name onto the Level of Excellence? That Level of Excellence contains nine names. One belongs to a person who asked me Sunday what I thought if he asked to have his name taken down … if this shabby treatment of Beeston led to his dismissal.
The release even contained a statement from Rogers Communications deputy chairman Ed Rogers:
“Paul is one of baseball’s greats, whose passion for – and commitment to – winning is unparalleled. He is a proud Canadian and we’re proud to have him lead Canada’s team for the upcoming season. We have been in discussions with Paul about his future with the team since his contract expired in October. There were many rumors flying about, but it would have been inappropriate to comment on such matters publicly. Make no mistake – we are elated to have Paul continue to lead the team for this season.”
Is it a rumor when Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the White Sox, says on Dec. 8 and again last week, he received a call from Ed Rogers asking to interview Williams? That’s not gossip you hear in the lobby at the winter meetings.
When Reinsdorf tells Williams and Williams reacts as if the call from Toronto is old news — since he had been contacted by a “Rogers emissary” according to Reinsdorf — it’s not a rumor.
If they were rumors why not squash them like a start-up wireless company?
The other words about Beeston being a proud Canadian were accurate.
Yet, we were looking for something like: “I can’t tell the difference between Jeff Hoffman or Abbie Hoffman, but you can’t have either,” ending talks with the Orioles.
Will there be a story out of Baltimore Tuesday on Duquette’s future with the Jays.
Likely just the fact owner Peter Angelos will file tampering charges.
A friend of mine is a big shooter flying into New York and Heathrow to help companies in trouble. The job description is crisis management.
Ah, this would be crisis mismanagement.
This would be a for his how-not-to act file.
Phoning Reinsdorf to ask if they could interview Williams … and Reinsdorf, Beeston’s best friend, asking innocently “oh, for what job?” … and the answer coming back from Ed Rogers: “Paul Beeston’s job.”
Then, Reinsdorf phoning Beeston and it being news to the Jays president.
Send the news from the campus at 333 Bloor all the way to 1 Blue Jays Way … through Chicago?
Is that any way to run a company?
Beeston and his future hung in the wind for 51 days.
We couldn’t help but howl listening to radio and TV as well as reading how “the Blue Jays wanted Duquette,” or how that “the Jays didn’t want to part with Hoffman,” or the “Jays baseball people …”
This was not a Blue Jays production.
Beeston was not trading anyone to replace his own self.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos was not putting together a package of prospects to acquire Duquette and bump the man who hired him.
Neither were assistant GMs Tony LaCava or Andrew Tinnish, Hall of Fame scout Mel Didier or equipment boss Jeff Ross.
And director of security Ron Sandelli didn’t have anything to do with the prospective package to the O’s either.
It was all Rogers.
The press release didn’t come from the Blue Jays.
It came from Rogers Communications.
Now, front-office employees, ticket sellers, ushers, scouts, minor league coaches and every amateur coach from coast-to-coast who benefits from Beeston’s benevolence promoting Canadian baseball can stop worrying about the unknown.
Until the end of the season.
Now after 51 days of silence … Beeston is staying, as people told us he would that December Sunday in San Diego.
And now silence.
As the final line of the press conference reads:
“Beeston’s successor will start when he retires. We will not be commenting on the succession process or timing.”