It wasn’t that long ago that Mark Shapiro said this about the type of culture that the organization is trying to build:
We need to have a culture that is built upon some very clear and defined values: that the identity and the traits and attributes of what a Blue Jays player is; and what a Blue Jays teammate is; and the way we go about playing the game; and the way we treat each other; the way we treat the people around the team, media included, would be different.
So, I guess, I’ve got to ask: Why Bud Norris? In a terrific piece by Rachael McDaniel over at Vice, which you should read if you haven’t yet, McDaniel looks at why ‘Bud Norris is bad for baseball’ (also the title of the piece).
I’m not about to copy and paste the entire article here because you are fully capable of reading it on your own, but I do want to share this bit:
Using the royal “we” in reference to either American players or America writ large, Norris declared that if players were “going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years.” In short: players coming from different baseball cultures, with different modes of expression and styles of play, had to either assimilate into the imagined monolith of American baseball—with its unwritten rules and codes of conduct—or find themselves unwelcome in the game.
The truth is that not only does baseball need less Bud Norris’, so does the world, which is why I am having a difficult time trying to understand why Toronto’s front office would sign someone who makes Kenny Powers from the show Eastbound And Down look like a paragon of virtue.
If the Blue Jays want to have an exceptional culture that has clear and defined values, why would they bring in a racist? In an America filled with swastika saluting trash, it’s become ever more important to rise against something that isn’t ethically right.
I’m not suggesting that Bud Norris is some ‘Alt-Right’ Dick Spencer loving white supremacist, but I am saying that the Jays’ front office signed a racist baseball player who said some vile and offensive words. And words do matter.
At this point in time, every Jays fan is well aware of the odious behaviour of Bud Norris; his ‘old school mercilessly riding rookie’ ways. So, with all of this information out there from the racist ‘Merica comments to the Jordan Hicks story, wouldn’t Toronto’s front office want to stay as far away from that kind of person – that kind of culture.
In a great piece over at SportsNet, Shi Davidi asks if this is the type of old-school leadership that the Blue Jays want in the clubhouse – referring to Bud Norris, of course. And I think that is a question that I would like to hear Mark Shapiro or Ross Atkins answer.
I think that Blue Jays fans have every right to take to Twitter and be disgusted with the Bud Norris signing because we expect more from our organization. I’d like to think that even though we sometimes disagree with each other, we can all agree that the Goose Gossage ‘old school’ and ‘racist’ Bud Norris’ out there need to leave the game of baseball forever.
Shame on the Blue Jays front office for bringing in a Bud Norris. This was a poor decision by everyone involved. Even if Bud Norris had vintage Tom Henke numbers, I still wouldn’t want the team to sign him to any kind of deal – minor or major. This was a major mistake. And one that I’m sure has left Jays fans questioning the ‘values’ of the front office.
Now, the major reason that the organization brought in Bud Norris is because they were able to sign him to a minor-league contract, otherwise wouldn’t it make sense to sign a veteran pitcher like Adam Warren? I mean, I guess, these days the San Diego Padres are doing everything right, so I don’t want to compare Toronto to an in impressive organization like that because that wouldn’t be fair.
Mark Shapiro said that he thinks for the Jays to be successful in the American League East that not having a bad culture is not good enough, and that they need to have an exceptional culture. Unfortunately, there is nothing exceptional about Bud Norris. Jays fans don’t usually boo or hiss their own, but I won’t be surprised when that happens to Bud Norris. Maybe it will send a message to the front office that we expect exceptional culture, too.