The NHL’s opening of unrestricted free agency is always a big deal in the Canadian media landscape, with sports networks TSN and Sportsnet both running exhaustive free agency specials. But shortly after those specials began, the country’s only MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays, decided to fire manager Charlie Montoyo (seen above during a June 29 game). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic broke that news:
Charlie Montoyo has been fired as manager of the Blue Jays, sources tell @TheAthletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 13, 2022
And, shockingly, many of the replies to Rosenthal centered on this coming on NHL FA day:
not now ken we're talking about hockey
— Charlie O'Connor-Clarke (@charliejclarke) July 13, 2022
That’s not what I expected on nhl free agency day
— Jake Goatzel (@tleyte8) July 13, 2022
Not during NHL free agency, pls
— Nick Fischetti (@NFischetti24) July 13, 2022
On free agent frenzy day?! Wasn’t expecting that one.
— Aimee T (@TimminsAimee) July 13, 2022
Blue Jays waited for NHL free agency to start and then dropped this bomb on us, damn. I liked Charlie, but the team was definitely in a tailspin. Had a bad day yesterday too despite the W. But still.. dang.
— Nate Britten (@nateb2399) July 13, 2022
Some noted that the timing will help the firing and the Jays’ struggles (they’re 46-42, fourth in the AL East and 16.5 games back of the division-leading New York Yankees) get less attention:
Just as NHL free agency starts, we’ll executed news dump. Jays taking pages out of the NFL book.
— Micheal Scott Leafs (@ScottLeafs) July 13, 2022
Ha, they absolutely did this on NHL free agency day on purpose hoping less people notice.
— Evan (@EWitte88) July 13, 2022
But there is also a funny thing there, considering that the Blue Jays are owned by Rogers, also the parent corporation of Sportsnet. So their baseball team is not making life easy for the people at their TV channel, who now have to figure out how to work Blue Jays’ discussion in amidst their day of hockey coverage:
So odd to do it now lol. The owners of the team who also own the sports stations are 5 minutes into there biggest ratings day of the year and they drop this news 😂
— Danno (@danno_omen) July 13, 2022
Meanwhile, some further riffs on this came from people who pointed out that Montoyo is now available for NHL management or playing positions.
Charlie Montoyo will now be backing up Matt Murray in Toronto.
— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) July 13, 2022
The Edmonton Oilers just signed Charlie Montoyo.
— Active Stick (@TheOakLeafs) July 13, 2022
you meant to say Kyle Dubas?
— Gary Corson (@GarycorsoN54) July 13, 2022
The 56-year-old Montoyo had been managing the Blue Jays since 2019. The team went 67-95 that first year, then 32-28 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, then 91-71 last season. But their only playoff appearance in that span was in the expanded postseason in 2020, where they were swept in the wild-card round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Remarkably, the Jays’ 4-3 home win against the Philadelphia Phillies last night not only left both teams at 46-42 this season, it left Montoyo’s career regular-season record with the Blue Jays at 236-236. So he leaves Toronto with an exactly .500 record. We’ll see who winds up replacing him.
[Photo from Kevin Sousa/USA Today Sports]