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05/07/2002 11:57 PM ET
Fans chat with Cito Gaston
By John Matthew IV / MLB.com
Fans chatted with Cito Gaston, the manager of back-to-back World Series champion Blue Jays squads, in a live online chat Tuesday, May 7..
Moderator: Welcome to our chat with Cito Gaston.
Cito Gaston: Hello Toronto fans.
Tom Morris: How does it feel to have been the only Blue Jays manager to win the World Series?
Gaston: To win a World Series is a lifetime dream for all those interested in baseball and the feeling is really indescribable. To win back-to-back is even more unbelievable. But it is a great feeling to have won a World Series.
Matthew Elmslie: What's your opinion on the role of walks in a team's offense?
Gaston: Walking is like getting a base hit, but you have to have players capable of walking. I think if players are capable of walking that is fine. But for players who are not, you are taking away their aggressiveness and you make them more a defensive hitter when you try to do that.
Matthew Elmslie: How is managing a young team different from managing a veteran team?
Gaston: I think you are more into teaching and motivating with a young team than with a veteran team. With a veteran team they are fundamentally sound, so you don't have to motivate them as much as with a young team. You have to be real patient with a young team.
Matthew Elmslie: You've been a coach under four different Toronto managers - Cox, Williams, Fregosi and Martinez. How do you compare them?
Gaston: All of them are different. Bobby Cox brought me over from Atlanta. Jimy was on the coaching staff at the time. Fregosi I knew because I managed against him with the Phillies. Buck I knew as a player and as a broadcaster. They all had different philosophies on how to run the game.
Matthew Elmslie: When you were managing the team, there never seemed to be any clubhouse controversies. What's your secret?
Gaston: I think if you treat them like men and respect them like men they will treat you like a man and respect you like a man. I never had clubhouse meeting or as they are called in baseball "chew out meetings." What I would do when one or two players were not playing up to their potential, was I would call them aside and we'd have a one-on-one conversation on what they were doing wrong or what they were not doing. You have to know people. There are some you can scream at and there are some you cannot scream at.
gtrotta: Is it easier to maintain a healthy pitching staff with fewer rainouts from playing in a domed stadium?
Gaston: Yes it is. You always know you will play that day. It is easier for the players. It is easier for pitchers because you can keep them healthy.
gtrotta: When did you switch from Clarence to Cito? Having watched you play in the 70s, it's still hard to think of you as Cito.
Gaston: The first year I played in San Diego, 1969, I was Clarence. The next year, I changed it to Cito. It was a nickname from a good friend of mine who is a policeman in Texas. There was a Mexican wrestler called Cito and he started calling me that when I was 14. That year, 1970, I was an All-Star, it was the best year of my career. The team was in Chicago and we were playing the Cubs. A writer asked if I was related to Clarence Gaston and I said no. After a laugh, I told him the truth.
gtrotta: Do you remember your Padres teammate Ivan Murrell's weird Japanese bat with the concave tip? He used to hit the Mets so well when using it, I think they got it banned.
Gaston: Ivan Murrell was a teammate of mine with the Padres. He was an outfielder. His daughter, I think, goes to school in Canada. But I don't remember the story of the Japanese bat.
Tom Morris: Do you still keep in touch with 1993 World Series hero Joe Carter?
Gaston: Yes, Joe and I talk here and there. I got a hello from him through Jeff Ross (Blue Jays equipment manager) and I have to call him back. We do talk once or twice a year. I do see him on TV from time to time.
Matthew Elmslie: When you brought in Wells to face Sanders in the '92 Series, were you thinking of a similar situation in the '85 playoffs when Cox took his hot hitters out of the ballgame?
Gaston: Sanders was really a hot hitter at the time, so any chance to bring in a left hander to get him out of the lineup I would take.
TORBJ: Cito, What would you tell the young players like Hinske and Lopez to do at the plate and even on the field?
Gaston: I know Felipe pretty well. I don't know Hinske that well. I have heard he'll be an outstanding hitter. Felipe will also be an outstanding hitter. There is not a lot you will have to tell those guys because they look they will be good players.
TorontoJohn: You had Hank Aaron as a roommate, what was that like?
Gaston: It was great to have Hank as a roommate because I learned so much about being your own man, both on the field and off the field. He got me back in the game working with him, not for him. I give him credit for getting me back in the game as a coach and a manager. We don't talk that much but we are still great friends. The first team to stop having roommates was the St. Louis Cardinals in the early seventies. I think it is a great to have roommate but I also think it is a great idea not to have roommates, if you know what I mean.
Moderator: Thank you fans for your great questions. Do you have a message for the fans, Cito?
Gaston: Support the Blue Jays like they did in the early years, that is how we'll get a winning team again and thank you for the questions.
Moderator: Paul Godfrey will be joining J.P. Ricciardi next Tuesday in the chat room.
John Matthew IV is the Marketing Producer for bluejays.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.