Toronto started 2008 with a record of 35-39. John Gibbons was fired and Cito Gaston was rehired to manage the team.
Cito made an immediate impact on the team, finishing the season 51-37. Impressive, but not good enough catch Tampa.
This year he gets another new start and so far has impressed. Toronto leads the AL East at 27-14, he's pushing all the right buttons so far. The starting lineup is virtually unchanged from a year ago, yet Cito is able to get more out of each and everyone of them. The question is, will Cito get the credit he deserves for this turn around?
From '89 to '93 Gaston managed Toronto to four first place finishes in five years, the other a second place finish. Yet he never really got his due, the media said anyone could have managed that team, what with players like Molitor, Carter, Alomar, Olerud, etc. In fact, Gaston never received another managerial position with any of the other MLB clubs until this one.
During the teams recent success, the media has looked to a number reasons why Toronto is enjoying life at the top. Some say, ease of schedule, some say the players are overachieving, but nobody is pointing to the manager.
It's only mid-May, so lots can happen between now and October, both good or bad. The last chapters on this season are yet to be written. There is one common denominator between the success of the early 90's teams and this one...Manager Cito Gaston.