“That is one thing I’ve at all times needed to do.”
John Schneider achieved the purpose he had been working towards for the final decade and a half when he was launched because the thirteenth totally different supervisor in Blue Jays historical past on Wednesday afternoon (each Cito Gaston and John Gibbons held the job twice).
The 42-year-old baseball lifer, drafted by the Jays in 2002, has coached or managed within the Toronto group since he retired from catching, after splitting the 2007 season between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse. Even earlier than he stopped taking part in, he knew his future was in teaching — he was a profession .206 hitter over six skilled seasons that included again surgical procedure — and labored laborious to earn the chance to handle within the main leagues.
“Not on this precise method,” stated Schneider, “due to the quantity of respect I’ve for Charlie (Montoyo, who was fired Wednesday morning), however that is what I had hoped to do. That is the tip purpose for me as a baseball coach once I stopped taking part in … one thing I don’t take calmly.”
The daddy of two rambunctious boys, five-year-old Gunner and three-year-old Greyson, takes over an underachieving crew that went into Wednesday evening in a digital tie for the ultimate playoff spot within the American League, but additionally solely a recreation and a half behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the highest wild-card spot.
The brand new skipper is main a gaggle with which he’s intimately acquainted.
Schneider had been the Jays’ bench coach for the primary half of this season. He’s been on the teaching workers since 2019, the primary three years as major-league coach, although he was the de facto bench coach final yr as Dave Hudgens began to do much more work with the hitters. Earlier than that, he managed the Dunedin Blue Jays and New Hampshire Fisher Cats to minor-league championships in 2017 and 2018 — groups that included Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, Santiago Espinal and Jordan Romano.
Whereas it was a bittersweet day to make sure — nobody celebrates when a very good man loses his job — Schneider’s as soon as and future prices had been excited to see him get the chance.
“When he was my supervisor,” stated Bichette, “he was in a position to maintain individuals accountable, ensure that we had been ready, make sure that we labored laborious, and I feel he did a fantastic job with speaking. I’m blissful for him. It’s a fantastic alternative for him, and hopefully these issues that he did so effectively within the minor leagues he can do right here.”
Biggio appreciated the surroundings Schneider created, one which helped him on the way in which to an Japanese League MVP season with the ’18 Fisher Cats.
“As a pacesetter he made all the pieces enjoyable to come back to the ballpark each single day,” stated Biggio. “It was good to have, from a pacesetter side, to encourage issues like that and to ensure we acquired our work in and ensure we had enjoyable taking part in the sport. The primary purpose was to win the sport. That was at all times a very powerful factor that was expressed from him and from our entire crew.”
Romano, now the Jays’ nearer, was Schneider’s ace starter in each championship seasons.
“It’s superior,” the Markham native stated about his former skipper’s promotion. “There’s undoubtedly a degree of consolation as a result of he’s coached a variety of us all the way in which up and we constructed that relationship. I’m comfy going into his workplace, speaking about no matter points I’m having, or I feel the crew’s having.”
Whereas Schneider tries to maintain the environment enjoyable and relaxed, he doesn’t draw back from the robust conversations.
“Within the minor leagues typically,” recalled Romano, “I’d be on the mound and I didn’t have that fireside. I used to be making an attempt, however I didn’t have that mentality — the mentality that I do now — and he would see it, acknowledge it and get in my ass somewhat bit. That was one thing I actually wanted. I felt like if it was somebody totally different they’d let me undergo the motions a bit, however Schneider actually held me accountable to that stuff, and that’s what he did for everybody.
“He retains it actually mild, however he is aware of when to get into you when he sees the trouble’s not there, in order that’s what I’m excited to see up right here.”
Centre-fielder George Springer wasn’t one in all Schneider’s minor-league prices, however the former World Sequence MVP likes what he’s seen of his new supervisor in his yr and a half with the Jays.
“He’s enjoyable, he communicates, he is aware of the sport,” stated Springer. “There’s by no means actually a boring second with him, so hopefully who he’s as an individual will form of ooze on to us as gamers and permit us to chill out somewhat bit, have somewhat extra enjoyable and benefit from the day.”
And who’s Schneider as a supervisor?
“I prefer to be aggressive,” he stated — and it confirmed as Schneider put the hit-and-run on twice in Wednesday evening’s recreation, each instances with Espinal on the plate; Espinal singled every time. “I prefer to have enjoyable. I at all times assume that when the blokes are comfy, that’s one of the best model of the participant you’re going to get.”
The 8-2 win in Schneider’s debut put the Jays right into a three-way tie for the second wild-card spot with Boston and Seattle, nonetheless a recreation and a half behind the Rays.
He’s acquired 72 video games to get them securely into that high spot and in good place for what might very effectively be an extended post-season run. If he can, he’ll change into the second Jays supervisor to take over at mid-season and lead the crew to the playoffs — becoming a member of Gaston, who did it in 1989.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION