You probably missed this one, but a few days ago the Toronto Blue Jays fired Sal Fasano, the organization’s minor league pitching coordinator.
This wasn’t big news, but—for me—it’s quite heartbreaking. I covered Sal extensively during his 11-year career as a Major League catcher, and I can say (quite strongly) that he’s one of the three or four finest people I met in the business. Put simply, Sal is your kind of guy. He’s an everyman; a blue-collar scrapper who worked his butt off to carve out an extensive Big League stay. Sal was one of the least-selfish players you could find. As a catcher, he took great pride in nurturing young pitchers; in grooming them for long stays at the highest level. What he lacked in natural skill, he made up for with desire, drive, grittiness, empathy.
Best of all, in an era when, oh, 70 percent of the players were cheating with various PED, Sal was clean. I can say this because, through the years, I really got to know Sal and his family. We’ve spoken on the topic myriad times; on the record, off the record. There are things I know, and things I don’t know. Sal Fasano—a man who places ethics over statistics—did not cheat.
And here’s what pisses me off: While men of integrity like Fasano are disposable, both Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire still work as Major League hitting coaches. You’re talking about two guys who disgraced the game; two guys who looked at the legacies and records of Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Roger Maris and said, “Eh, fuck it.” I know … I know—yawn. Old news. I get it. But I’ve long maintained that for all the damage Pete Rose did by betting on the Cincinnati Reds while managing, his misdeeds are dwarfed by a reckless, callous drug-powered dismantling of the once-hallowed record books.
Meanwhile, I challenge you to find a person in baseball to say a bad thing about Sal Fasano.
Meanwhile, I challenge you to find a member of the 2011 New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Sal managed the team to an Eastern League title) who has a bad thing to say about Sal Fasano.
Alas, it matters not.
Sal Fasano, man of integrity, was sent packing.
And the cheaters continue to be rewarded …