John Gibbons’ one issue with Marcus Stroman being emotional on mound

John Gibbons joined Sportsnet Today to discuss the Blue Jays struggles this season and how it's been frustrating for the team and fans.

If you hadn’t heard, Marcus Stroman can get a bit fired up from time to time.

It’s a trait of his many Blue Jays fans have come to admire about the Toronto Blue Jays star pitcher and one the team’s manager John Gibbons says is a sign of the times.

“The game’s changed,” Gibbons said Friday on Sportsnet Today with Ben Ennis. “Baseball used to be a real conservative game. You didn’t step out of line, you didn’t celebrate anything, there was a tremendous amount of respect that was thrown around. But baseball has really changed like every other sport, like society, and I think the fans love it. It’s promoted on TV and things like that and I think a lot of that is good for the game.”

Stroman has become known for his fiery tendencies (as well as his arsenal of pitches) on the mound but recently it has gotten him into some trouble. Stroman, Gibbons and catcher Russell Martin were ejected from a game against the Oakland Athletics last week for arguing balls and strikes.

“Marcus has always been that kind of guy,” Gibbons said. “From Day 1 when he got to the big leagues he always had some pep. You could tell he loved his profession. I think the odds were always stacked against him and he knew that, so he’s always had that attitude of ‘I’m going to prove people wrong’ because to be honest you don’t see many guys at his size that succeed like he does at this level — especially being starting pitchers.

“Emotions, you can’t say they’ve necessarily gotten out of control at times, but he shows them. Things flared up again the other night.”

What Gibbons is referring to was a confrontation between Stroman and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson that lead to the benches clearing, something Gibbons didn’t necessarily want to see happen.

“My only issue is don’t leave the mound. Don’t head to the [opposing team’s] dugout because nothing good can happen from that,” Gibbons explained. “You could have a big brawl start, next thing you know the league’s involved but for as long as baseball’s been around there’s always been interactions between hitters and pitchers and a lot of times things are said. [In the past] people never even noticed them but now you’ve got the TV cameras and everything so it’s a little bit more noticeable.”

“The game’s really a show now just like any other sport and he gets caught up in that and people love it,” Gibbons added. “To be honest with you, I don’t think he’s the same guy if he’s not somewhat emotional anyways. I think that really drives him.”

Gibbons’ team is 8.5 games back in the AL East and 5.5 games behind Cleveland for the final wild-card spot. Winners of two straight, the Blue Jays begin a three-game road series against Houston Friday. Stroman’s next scheduled start is Sunday.

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