TORONTO, ON – 9. JULY: The Toronto Blue Jays play Nov.. An intrasquad game on July 7th, 2020 at the Rogers Center in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch / Getty Images)
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one shocked by the news that Mike Wilner won’t be working for the Blue Jays in 2021.
After a 20-year career in various roles for the organization, the 50-year-old and the Blue Jays announced on Twitter that their working relationship has ended. No immediate reason was given, and it does not sound like a scandal that we will hear about later, but that Roger Communications decided to take a new direction with his radio show. It happens in a cutthroat media store, but it’s always a surprise when shown the door to a veteran like Wilner.
And I have to admit I’ll miss his presence at the ball club, even after years of letting him get under my skin with his approach to Blue Jays Talk.
When I say he got under my skin, anyone who’s listened to his radio show after the game probably knows what I’m talking about. He became known for occasionally jarring with callers, which was part of what made the show entertaining. My assumption was that it was his natural personality, but if it was a character or a bit, then he did it masterfully. In both cases, I’ve tuned in pretty regularly and even called a few times over the past few decades.
As much as I remember his work on « Blue Jays Talk » most of all, I have to give credit where it is due. I didn’t think the Blue Jays could replace Jerry Howarth and still let me listen to the radio, but I was wrong. No one can replace Jerry, and Wilner would be the first to tell you, but I’ve heard Wilner’s work with Ben Wagner as the new radio team many times and really enjoyed it. It looks like Wagner will stay, but he will have a new teammate at the booth in the future.
I also admit that I’m a bit of an old school soul about my beloved baseball, and I don’t like to bother with change. I had just gotten used to listening to Wilner’s radio while out and about during the games or exercising in the garage. But beyond that, it’s just sad to see such a dedicated personality let go, especially when the decision was clearly not mutual. Say what you want of the guy, but there aren’t many people in the world more dedicated to the Blue Jays than Mike Wilner, and it’s a shame to see that relationship end.
It won’t be high on the priority list, but at some point we will find out who will take over the management of Wagner at the stand. Right now, I’d like to thank you for the longstanding entertainment and real passion for the game. A decade ago I wouldn’t have imagined saying this, but I’ll miss Mike Wilner. 2020 is really full of surprises.
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Toronto Blue Jays, Mike Wilner, Sportsnet, Jerry Howarth
EbeneMagazine – CA – Blue Jays: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ll miss Mike Wilner