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Blue Jays manager John Schneider realizes the fruits of his life’s work

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No one knows when manager John Schneider and the rest of the Blue Jays will make a full recovery at the end of a career slump for many in the 2022 season.

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For Schneider, who was provisionally untagged from the title two weeks after losing Game 2 to the Seattle Mariners, the removal of replays from airing at his home may have speeded up his recovery.

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And perhaps the gallows humor, innocently conveyed by his five-year-old son Gunner, aided the process.

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“Ganner’s move is to look at the highlights of the next day. So he watched Game 2 for about five days in a row, reminding me every time how the eight ended,” he said. of two boys. “A few times he said, ‘Dad, this is where George[Springer]and Bo[Bichette]collide’… Thanks Gunner.”

Despite protests by an irrational minority of the fanbase, no decisions made or not taken in the two-game series against the Mariners did not determine Schneider’s future.

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In fact, the 42-year-old from New Jersey has been striving for this position since the day he admitted his baseball talent was no match for his baseball brain. In the process, he was groomed for the ultimate managerial position within the organization.

One win or one loss doesn’t define him, but Gunner’s cuteness aside, of course his 10-9 loss (after taking an 8-1 lead) left an imprint on Schneider. his heart loop.

“It took a while,” Schneider said. “You relive it, you ponder it, you learn from it, but still… there were some things that really didn’t go our way.

“There will be some decisions that will be questioned, and it’s part of the work that I can’t wait to keep diving into for the next three years. There were a lot of moving parts in that game.

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“It sucks, it sucks for the players more than anyone.

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Schneider felt the same way, even though he was a little surprised by the fanbase that general manager Ross Atkins didn’t rip interim Schneider off immediately after his ouster.

And that’s good.

“I’m a competitive person and in my heart I wanted to do it,” Schneider said. “But at the same time, from July 13th[the day he replaced his fired predecessor Charlie Montoyo]we’ve spent everything we’ve been doing to win every game. You’re kind of trapped in it and we should really talk about what makes us better once it’s settled down and the season is over.

“That’s when you can take a step back and have a very honest conversation, which I love and can be pretty productive.”

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The fact that Atkins and the team have given Schneider a three-year deal (plus a club option for a fourth year) speaks to the strength of their relationship. During the final months of his term, there was certainly a disconnect between Montoyo and his office at the front.

A fresh start and long tenure will allow Mr. Schneider to move forward with clear plans and authority.

“Even if you get positive feedback from players and staff and feel like you’re doing a good job, it’s always a little awkward in the middle,” Schneider said. “Until you know, you never really know. If[provisional removed]there will be a few more buy-ins from players.

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“But the way we build relationships never changes. It definitely hasn’t changed in the last few months.”

Schneider certainly has its own management style. That style developed in his minor leagues and nurtured many of the team’s current stars, including Vlad He Guerrero Jr., Bo He Bichette, and Jordan Romano, but has also evolved in the majors.

Working in the dugout and clubhouse, he’s never shy about having his voice heard.

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It may have been the seventh concussion recorded in his playing career—Schneider isn’t exactly sure—that imbued the catcher with a sense of baseball.

“I was a double A, had a[concussion]on the DL and started talking to some coordinators and farm manager Dick Scott,” Schneider said. Knocking out triple A, going up and down, I realized that if other people see me this way, it might be smart to start thinking outside the box.

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“At that point, I realized that I like helping people, communicating with people, and trying to get the best out of people.”

Even if it was a minor league game in the backfield of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Spring Training Complex.

The following spring (2008), Schneider basically decided that coaching was his future, but was still hanging by the threads of the rest of his playing career. He discussed his feelings with Scott, who suggested there was an opportunity, but on the final day of the minor league spring training games, Schneider made plans to go out in style.

“I told my manager (Derek Cathcart) that day to make sure we brought in an extra catcher. He laughed and said okay,” Schneider said.

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“In my second at-bat, I had a 1-0 count against a left-handed pitcher I don’t remember. I hit a home run, went around the bases and gave a high five (Cathcart), then went to the dugout and cut a spike.”

“I was coaching first (base) in the next inning and that was it. I literally took the spikes off and hung them on the chain link fence.”

Then there was a steady and impressive ascent through the Jays Farm system, homegrown coaching talent given a three-year management position (club option) to take a group of talent to the top of the sport. .

Along the way, Schneider has won championships at three minor league levels and has played an integral role in developing so many players on the current roster.

“It was just seven recorded concussions, two back surgeries, and the realization that I wasn’t good enough to succeed,” Schneider sums up the smartest career shift he could have made. doing.

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From being drafted by the Jays in 2002, to a successful minor league manager to a big league club manager, few know more about the Blue Jays organization than Schneider.

That’s why when he signed his contract in October, there was an outpouring of congratulations from the baseball world. The same was true for the former Jays who crossed over.

The length of the contract speaks to both the respect the current front office has for Schneider and the expectations they have for him.

“It means a lot to me that that confidence has been shown and it speaks to how[Atkins]and[team president Mark Shapiro]work and how they trust people,” Schneider said. “They believe that people evolve and make sound decisions.”

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It’s no coincidence that Schneider’s contract terms coincide with those of players (or club control) such as Guerrero, Bichette and Springer.

“It means a world where a special group of players that I’ve known for a long time are linked or synchronized in the same time frame in terms of contracts,” Schneider said. It’s not what you think.”

After leading the 2022 season with a 46-28 record, Schneider has had a head start in his transition from coach to manager.

“It’s safe to say there’s very little difference,” says Schneider. “When you’re sitting in the[manager’s]office, the responsibilities are different and everything is magnified.

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“I deliberately tried to make sure it didn’t affect how I interact with players, especially those I’ve been with for a long time. It’s all thanks to the players.”

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With 99 days or so before the pitcher and catcher move to Dunedin, Florida, what will the new skipper do next?

There is no doubt that there will be a 2023 coaching staff meeting and final decision (don’t expect a lot of changes) and talks about the club’s pursuit of free agency.

Also, contact with players will be measured while they are working on their off-season regimen.

“We’re respecting the fact that it’s downtime for them, but at the same time being on the same page about what kind of work they do in the off-season and what we expect from them, to a pretty careful schedule. It will be “from them when they come to spring training,” Schneider said. “It’s an open dialogue about what’s best for them and the team. It will be right.”

John Schneider timeline

• Picked by the Blue Jays as a catcher in the 13th round of the 2002 draft.
After appearing in 311 minor league games with the Jays system, he officially retired from pro ball in 2007.
The first managerial position came in 2009 when Schneider took over the Gulf Coast Blue Jays.
In 2017, he led the Dunedin Blue Jays to their first championship in club history.
Named Eastern League Manager of the Year for leading Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats to title in 2018
Promoted to the Blue Jays’ Major League Coaching Staff in 2020.
On July 13, 2022, he was appointed interim manager of the Blue Jays.

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Blue Jays manager John Schneider realizes the fruits of his life’s work

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