Shapiro sympathizes with Blue Jays fans
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.”