Shapiro sym­pa­thizes with Blue Jays fans

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - John CHI­D­LEY-HILL

TORONTO — Mark Shapiro can sym­pa­thize with frus­trated Toronto Blue Jays fans – he’s un­happy too.

The Blue Jays pres­i­dent and CEO spoke with me­dia on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, and be­fore tak­ing ques­tions he ac­knowl­edged that a siz­able por­tion of Toronto’s fan­base is un­happy with a se­ries of moves that have cleared out most of the play­ers from the team’s 2015 and 2016 post­sea­sons runs.

Shapiro was also clear that there was only one so­lu­tion to the dis­con­nect be­tween the Blue Jays’ front of­fice and its fans.

“Win­ning will fix ev­ery­thing, with­out a doubt. There’s no ques­tion in my mind. Ul­ti­mately that’s the only thing that will sat­isfy peo­ple,” said Shapiro in a Rogers Cen­tre board­room. “I sym­pa­thize with the frus­tra­tion. No one likes to go through any pe­riod other than win­ning, par­tic­u­larly when it means chang­ing play­ers who peo­ple build a strong at­tach­ment to.”

The de­par­tures of start­ing pitch­ers Mar­cus Stro­man and Aaron Sanchez ahead of Ma­jor League Base­ball’s July 31 trade dead­line were par­tic­u­larly con­tentious. Al­though some fans un­der­stand the need to re­build Toronto’s lineup around rook­ies Vladimir Guer­rero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Ca­van Big­gio, many felt that Stro­man and Sanchez – 28 and 27 re­spec­tively – still had a place on the team.

When Shapiro was asked di­rectly if he was frus­trated with the back­lash, he said he also wanted the team to get back above .500.

“I just want to win,” said Shapiro. “It both­ers me to lose. Ter­ri­bly,” he added. “As far as any­thing else, you just turn that to­ward how much more can we do, how much harder can we work, how much more ur­gency can we have to get back to a win­ning team? That’s where my en­ergy is fo­cused.”

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