In Marty Brown’s mind, it was simply time to move on. Especially when the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t give him much of a look at a promotion after three seasons of Triple-A managing in their organization.
But there were underlying reasons why the Buffalo Bisons’ modern-era victory leader told the Jays last week he’s not coming back in 2014.
Speaking to The News Monday night from his Missouri home, Brown said he felt his connection to former Toronto manager John Farrell didn’t help his standing in the Jays’ organization. Farrell, of course, forced a trade to Boston after the 2012 season and is largely a pariah in Toronto these days.
“I knew John from Cleveland and he called me for this job when we were in Las Vegas and then he didn’t leave on the greatest of terms,” Brown said. “People have affiliated me with John and I think it’s kind of hurt me in this organization.
“I don’t have any big affiliation with John. I didn’t go to Boston. I tried to do my job and do the best job I could. Toronto never had anything really bad to say to me. I just don’t know if there was a huge trust factor and it’s best for them to get somebody in there they like.”
The final straw for Brown, 50, came last week when the Blue Jays hired ex-Buffalo utilityman Tim Leiper to be their first-base coach. Brown interviewed for the position but didn’t feel he had a real chance at the job. Leiper was a senior minor-league advisor for Toronto last year.
“They knew who they wanted to hire and that’s fine,” Brown said. “It makes me feel more in terms of being a manager, is this worth my time and effort to keep doing what I’m doing? A part of you feels like I’m kicking myself in my head. ... I just thought maybe I would step away for a while and see if I can do something else.”
Brown isn’t ruling out another Triple-A managerial job for next year. Nor is he ruling out a return to Japan, where he managed from 2006-2010 and met his wife. He said scouting might also be another option.
“I felt really good about being in Buffalo,” said Brown, who was 74-70 last year and who went 312-263 in four seasons that included a three-year run from 2003-2005. “I felt comfortable with the front office, the media, everybody.”
Bisons vice president/general manager Mike Buczkowski said he was saddened to get the call from Brown but certainly understood his long-time friend’s decision. Buczkowski said he expects things to go quickly to replace Brown.
“The Blue Jays will be anxious to fill the position,” he said. “You start going after the first of the year and have to have permission to talk to another team, it starts the domino effect and teams can get in a tough spot.”
“Making the call to Buffalo was actually tougher than calling the Blue Jays,” Brown said. “It’s like calling your brother and saying you’re leaving the family. Mike Buczkowski and (team president) Jon Dandes are like family and they understand. A lot of people do.”
Buczkowski said he’s likely meeting with Blue Jays officials on Friday to start the process of getting a new manager.
Former major-league catcher Gary Allenson was the skipper for the Jays last year at Double-A New Hampshire. Sal Fasano, the Jays’ roving catching instructor, was the manager there when the Fisher Cats won the Eastern League title in 2011.
There’s no shortage of ex-Bison candidates too.
Former slugger Jeff Manto, the only modern-era Bison to have his number retired, is slated to be a roving hitting instructor with the Baltimore Orioles for next year after he was fired as the big-league hitting coach by the Chicago White Sox the final weekend of the season. Manto’s managerial experience is limited to Class A but he would certainly be a popular choice.
Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Famer Carlos Garcia, the hitting coach under Brown on the Bisons’ 2004 Governors’ Cup champions, managed last year at Double-A Altoona in the Pirates’ chain.
Dusty Wathan, a catcher in ’04, was at Double-A Reading in the Phillies’ chain.