Really Mike Wilner? Really?

I don’t mean to be that guy but…..

This weekend Mike Wilner was benched for a “confrontation” with Cito Gaston where he feels he was “belittled.”  Wilner wrote about the exchange and if you can, please show me exactly where during the discussion Wilner was “belittled.”

I don’t need to be belittled by the skipper in front of the entire assemblage when I’m asking legitimate, rational questions about a situation that he brought up earlier in a conversation.

In fact, I would argue that it was Wilner himself who was showing up the manager in front of the assemblage.  Yes, asking the manager about in-game strategy and decisions is fine but when your schtick is challenging (second guessing) the manager on every single detail of every single game and expecting him to debate all points with you – well, needless to say it gets old pretty quick.  Everyone is up in arms that this is a freedom of the press issue and that Wilner is being censored by big brother Rogers blah blah blah.  I think what it comes down to is Wilner’s grating style and Rogers is giving Wilner a time-out to think about his approach. Kudos to them.

At the end of the day Rogers is in business to generate interest in the team and to attract viewers to Jays broadcasts, both radio and television.  I don’t listen to JaysTalk or radio broadcasts when Wilner is on because of his style and I know there are others who share the sentiment.

It is interesting that Wilner takes such offense to being “belittled” – as he puts it – by Cito, while he belittles many of the callers who phone in to his JaysTalk program.  He is especially sensitive when his opinions are questioned.  For example, I was speaking with Early about an edition of JaysTalk where a called had this to say to Wilner: “Mike, you said that Tampa making the playoffs was a fluke. There are in first place now, do you still think that they are a fluke?”

Wilner’s response went something like this: “This is JAYS TALK! Why would you call in and have a question about the Rays? How stupid can you be?!?! What a fool.”

So Wilner, you can dish it out but you can’t take it? Noone likes to be second guessed.  Sometimes you just reach your limit, like Cito.

Just to be that guy, here’s an exchange I had with Wilner.

In Wilner’s blog post “My First Day of Spring” he writes:

I have seen Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill, Randy Ruiz, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay look very good so far.  Granted, it’s stupid early, but it’s better to look good than not.  I still don’t understand why the way has been paved for Bautista to have an everyday job, but they can’t find a spot to give Ruiz a legitimate chance to play.  Ruiz is older and far weaker defensively, but he’s had nothing but success as a major-league hitter. Bautista has had many years of mediocre offensive production in the big leagues.

My response is below, with Wilner’s final response in bold:

You can’t understand how the way has been paved for Bautista? Under the tutelage of Cito and Geno he hit 10HR after Sept. 1st last year. If you are going to give credit to Arencibia for mashing this Spring, save some for Bautista too – he’s been no slouch. He can play all OF positions in addition to 3B and plays them well. Ruiz can play 1B – barely. As you know Mike, defense is just as important as offense. That is why Bautista is a lock while Ruiz continues to battle for a spot in the 1B/DH log jam against proven hitters (more than 200MLB ABs) and those that can play D.

MW: I don’t think it’s that simple. As I said, why does Bautista’s September matter more than the five years of major league production that preceded it?

– Callum

Is that even an answer? If you are going to chastise Cito for avoiding your annoying reporter routine, take a look in the mirror first.  Then keep asking those “hard questions.”


Cito did not complain to get Wilner suspended:

Written By

has written for since 2006. Follow Callum on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (@callumhughson)

  • I’ll avoid getting caught up in the Wilner is a jerk-off and the freedom of the press arguments.

    I will say that the suspension proves that the fan 590 is merely an extension of the club. I never listen to the station but I will certainly stay away in the future.

  • I think what it comes down to is Wilner’s grating style and Rogers is giving Wilner a time-out to think about his approach. Kudos to them.

    So, wait: Rogers doesn’t like Wilner’s approach? That must be why they give him his own post-game show, and his own lunch hour show when hockey’s out of season. And blog. And pushed him to do in-game chats to “interact” with the fans. Wow, I wish my employer was as sick of me as The Fan is of him.

    • They didn’t fire him. They gave him the weekend off.

      Many employers of sportscasters suspend them and want them to refine their approach. Don Cherry is one of them. Doesn’t mean they don’t put them in the spotlight. Wilner’s shows are popular among the self-hating Toronto sports fans who love to be talked down to. He may have a listener/readership, but it doesn’t reflect well on the organization.

      • A move you seem to think has more to it than a grumpy old man loudly complaining to the right people.

        To me it isn’t about Cito or Wilner, really. It’s about the Fan not standing behind their talent or showing a shred of integrity.

    • Mike was a favorite of Former PD Nelson Millman. Millman is no longer at the Fan590. Mike does have a grating style, he is mister negative and he loves ripping on people who just want to love the jays. He is one of the few Radio People in the Country however who knows baseball, as a result, he has become very cocky. I wish he was a bit more humble, like he was in the beginning.

  • Les

    If this weekend off is supposed to be for wilner to refine his approach, how can we take anything he says in the future seriously?

    • I don’t think it is so much the message as the way it is delivered.

  • Darren

    So, Wilner wanted to disregard Bautista’s Sept. but make too much of Ruiz’ September? Mmmmkay.

    God forbid we don’t know what to make of some pasty sportswriter’s position on Cito’s bullpen management. Off the top of my head I can think of many sportwriters and broadcasters whose opinions change from day to day. This isn’t important stuff. Save your freedom of the press rants for politics, finance and big business. Baseball is supposed to be a harmless diversion. We can bitch about Overbay or Kevin Gregg for a month and love them the next. Who cares?

  • JobuJays

    You changed my mind on this one. Good argument. He is a douche on the radio and belittles more people in his show than not.

  • Ryan

    I’m sort of on both sides. There is no doubt Wilner is a douche. He belittles callers and does nothing to try to educate fans who might not be as ‘in’ to baseball as he is. Instead of using those opportunities to spread a little knowledge, he just scoffs/whines.

    He thinks he is some sort of baseball genius, even though half the time he brings out sabr stats he uses them wrong, which never stops being funny.

    With all that said, Rogers benching him because he disagreed with the manager and asked a valid question, is kinda lame. Wilner might have whined a bit in his blog post, but there was nothing really worth suspending him over.

  • Tight PP

    I don’t understand his Cito bashing. He would always defend JP and Gibbons, going on about them havinga plan and we shouldn’t question it. Now Cito and AA have a winning team, he bitches about Cito, and often brings up the JP aquired player X who is doing so well.

    I will listen JaysTalk in the car, just to hear what the callers bring up. Wilner really doesn’t bring anything to the table.

    That seems to be the way with call in shows. Bob McCowan disagrees with everyone who calls in no matter what. Jim Rome will spend 30mins + 15 mins of ads making fun of a caller, after hanging up on them.

  • Early

    Wilner just second guesses managing decsions as a Radio Show. And when he faces Cito on Cito’s turf, which is real life he gets belittled and condescending anwsers.

    When callers call and give impossible trades and foolish lineup changes, Wilner jacks up his callers in radio fantasy land, belittling and giving condescending anwsers.

    I hope Wilner had a great time this weekend in his mom’s basement catching up on his Halo 2 tactics. Loser.

    • ray b

      Ah man..thats funny shit..Maybe he will get a job belittling gamers at EBGames..

      • cb

        hahaha. good one!

  • Tommy

    I think Wilner should be able to question Cito without fears of being given the weekend off. That’s just weak.

    That being said, Wilner comes off as an arrogant jerk at the best of times. Who knows what his tone was when he was questioning Cito. If he used the same thinly veiled tone of contempt that he thinks is polite on his call in show, then I get why Cito would give it back to him.

    • Tight PP

      Asking questions is one thing, pestering is another. From the stories I’ve hear about this it sounds like Cito “answered” the question, and wilner kept going “Why did you do this when you could have done this” “Why did you paint your self in a corner by using him”

      When covering the Jays is your job, you have to make sure you don’t burn a major bridge (Cito) the FAN should have slapped his wrist for being a dummy.

      • Early

        Well Tighty, Wilner is a legit journalist and if he can’t cover the Jays, can’t get access to Cito or the players he will just have to cross the floor and cover News or social issues. He can be the new Adler in the Morning on 640! (I am laying on the sarcasm huge here)

  • ray b

    Ahh poor Wilner..I have had the displeasure of calling his show a few times and commenting on his blog..

    He has gone on record as thinking Tampa Bay was a bit of a fluke in 2008 and were never going to be able to repeat their success..

    So I commented on his blog about the fact that Tampa Bay is no fluke and they were legit and wondered how he felt about being wrong..I was very careful not to make a dreaded spelling mistake or buttwad Winer er..Wilner would not post it..But of course he didn’t post it..Lord forbid if wonderboy was actually wrong about something..

    He wants to live in fantasy land with his good bum buddy J.P Riccardi and belive you can’t compete in the AL East without large wads of dough..Tampa has proved that to be very wrong and me thinks the Jays are going to do that as well..

    Funny how super good Riccardi hasn’t found a new job as a GM..

    Maybe I should point it out to him but nah he wouldn’t post it anyway..

  • Cumbubble

    Wilner is a cunt and Stoeten has his cock planted firmly in his mouth, hence the bullshit Rogers flamewar on Twitter yesterday.

    Who the fuck is Wilner if not for his radio show? Some nobody who talks like he’s got a permanent cold jerking off in his uncle’s basement? Fuck…

    He’s radio’s version of the whining bloggers who have nothing positive to say unless it’s wrapped in holier-than-thou putdowns.

    The tactless douche needs to get over himself in a hurry or he’ll be retired faster than Cito.

  • AlanTdot

    Perfect comment Callum. Wilner is crying about the same treatment he dishes out.

    Jeez, if a reporter can’t show off how much smarter he is than the manager, in front of a media scrum then I don’t know what this world is coming to.

    Wilner wasn’t commenting or reporting on the story, he interjected himself into the story. Wilner was wrong.

  • daperman

    Wilner has looked at the Blue Jays through rose coloured glasses for 5 years. When callers wants to point out a Jay’s weaknesses there is always an underlying factor that makes the caller’s opinion wrong and voiced to that caller in a negative or condescending way.

    Wilner has now got a taste of his own medicine. He is probably right in his pointing out something wrong with the Blue Jays (in this case Cito’s) performance, and the club (Rogers) has belittled him.

    You cant have it both ways Mike. The irony of all this is overwhelming because he has been the Blue Jays biggest excuse making booster of all time.

  • After taking in additional information I have to really get behind Cal’s argument.

    When this story first broke I could have cared less. To be honest I still could give a damn but the fact of the matter clearly appears to be that
    Wilner was being a douche and tried to show up Cito in front of other media members.

    There should be repercussions at some level for this type of action. Perhaps not by the Fan 590, although I don’t have a copy of their mission statement handy.

    Baseball is a game of tried and true rules. Some examples include not stealing a bag up 10 in the 8th, having your catcher make a mound visit if the homeplate ump gets nicked by a pitch and NOT showing up a manager or player in a public setting if you are a member of the media.

    Truth police be damned, that’s just the way it is. If you don’t like it don’t watch baseball, it’s just that simple.

    • could NOT have cared less.


  • Jeff

    Mike Wilner is a jerk and that is the end of the story I hope they fire his ass.

  • daperman

    Wilner has also been on Cito’s case about Lyle Overbay. When Lyle was hitting under .200 for much of the season, Cito’s given reason for playing him was for Overbay to get good numbers for his Free Agency Year. Wilner was right to go after him. It is Cito job to win games for the Blue Jays this year, not to worry about players contracts in the future.

    Wilner is right in a lot of cases in dealing with Cito, but just the same he is getting a good taste of his own medicine. If and when he comes back Wilner listen to the arguments of the intelligent callers. YOu know what it feels like now.

    • Early

      Sure, Cito should not be worried about a contract year player and should be concerned about winning games today for the Jays.

      But Randy Ruiz??? Really??? Ruiz lost his job like all of Wilner’s other bros (JP, Gibby). Is Wilner going to let his Ruiz love cost him his job? It was hard to watch Overbay in his prolonged slump at the start of the year but what Cito could have said the whole time is a simple equation;
      Since Ruiz has been out of the picture Overbay has been on a tear, even getting to LH pitching. He has been hitting over .350 in his last ten starts. Ruiz has been unemployable in the ML in his first 32 years on this Earth, why is he going to change? Because Wilner said so?

    • Tight PP

      I recall maybe a month back callers bringing up Ruiz over Overbay, and Wilner going on about how Overbay’s avg over the last +/- 5 games is +/- 400 and there is nothing to complain about.

      • Gotta love a five game batting average sample. Great analysis by Mr. Wilner

  • cb

    you’re the first person i’ve read on this subject that has made any sense. good job!

    you’ve got a new fan here.

  • terry the censor

    As for Callum v. Wilner, I think Mike was right about assessing Bautista’s talent (even though Bautista has been my favourite Jay for a couple years). And look at all the idiot contracts given out to guys who had one good year (Gary Matthews Jr ring a bell?). As the stat heads always drone, “regression to the mean.”
    Callum also makes reasonable points about Bautista and Ruiz, but Wilner’s arguments to me are persuasive.
    The impression I get: Callum is angry that his comment didn’t change Wilner’s mind, period. He is not satisfied — at all — with two people having reasonable but different opinions. You come off as a crybaby, lad.

    • The difference in this case between statistical outliers/HGH junkies is that Bautista has changed his whole hitting approach from seasons past. This is well documented.

      To me, Wilner’s argument about Ruiz having nothing but success at the major league level when that success is based on less than 200 plate appearances is flimsy at best.

      Your impressions are your own, but I would advise against projecting an emotion you would like to see in text that isn’t necessarily there.

    • Early

      You are out of your mind.

      Lets talk about “regression or progression to the means”.

      Sure Bautista has been playing out of his head but do if you think that Randy Ruiz would be contributing more or have more upside than Bautista or Overbay you are sadly wrong.

      Ruiz is a 30+ journeyman that has never been able to find steady employment in the Majors. He gets cut by the Jays and he can’t get a job on this continent.

      Bautista and Overbay are ML veterans. You know what you are going to get from either one. Anything more is a bonus.

      With Randy Ruiz you get a player who is AAAA calibre on a ML team which is the formula for losing.

  • Jeff

    I refuse to listen to Jays on the radio because of Wilner, I can’t stand him.

  • DJ Jazzy Jeff

    You guys are disturbingly fixated on Mike Wilner.

  • Magpie2

    Late to the game here but why is it that business sense always trumps critical thinking? Listen, I actually think Blair’s a good writer and Wilner’s energy kind of drives me nuts — but Blair’s literally the last man in the universe to get the larger point here. (Blair is the ultimate pragmatist with absolutely no care for larger ethical issues — see anything he’s ever written about steroids for proof.) The fact that he doesn’t agree with Wilner’s reporting strategy completely misses the point. (Whooosh!) You either believe in critical thinking or you don’t — and whether you agree with Wilner’s reporting style makes no difference to the larger argument. So, if you like the fact that people with power can control messages to their own advantage — don’t read George Orwell, or Aldous Huxley or the six hour speech that Joseph Howe gave. It will annoy you and it seems probable that you’ll miss the point.