One thing you heard me say, it's a special group. They come to play. They had another great year. We got to this point. We weren't able to get over the hump again. But you know what, a damn good job of getting to this point.
I'm proud of those guys as well as the coaching staff. I know the organization is proud of them, too. Hopefully the fans are just as proud of them, because it's an entertaining group. They put on a good show. We just got beat in this series. Plain and simple.
Cleveland will be a great representative of the American League.
Q. There's a good chance maybe you might not have Bautista and Encarnacion next year. When you look at this group and what they've accomplished, how do you put that into words?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, yeah, this group's come a long way. We were staring at a playoff drought for a lot of years around here. And they came through for the team last year, the organization. And then repeated it this year. The guys you're talking about, not only those two, but a few other guys that are possible free agents that have really done a lot for this team. The guys in particular, Eddie and Jose I think you're talking about, I think they really helped put this team back on the map again, what they've accomplished. And they really -- both of them made their name here in Toronto.
But baseball is still a business. It's a game we play, but it's still a big business and guys earn the right to try free agency, what have you. They both love it here, but it's still a business.
But me personally, if I'm not around them again, I have great memories, regardless of what they did on the field, two good guys. And we spent a lot of time together, me and of course the coaching staff and everybody else.
I'm proud of those guys and you hope they're back.
Q. What did you see in Ryan Merritt today?
JOHN GIBBONS: Hey, great job. He came out there, I thought from the get-go he looked comfortable, confident. And he picked the play apart pretty good. I thought he was pretty much living on the edges, from my angle, whether they were coming from the inside or outside, nice little breaking ball. It was the key to the game simply because I'm sure they didn't know what kind of outing he was going to give them. It wasn't an easy assignment for anybody, let alone a guy trying to make it in the game. Tip your hat to that guy.
But it was a battle. It was a battle all series. And they shut us down. And now they move on.
Q. You said before the game that hitting is a bit of a mystery. What do you think happened to the hitting this series? Was it the Cleveland pitching, simple as that?
JOHN GIBBONS: No doubt about it. But probably a bad time to get into what happened and who did what and who didn't. Our guys had a tremendous year, they got to this point. But if you were watching you probably saw what happened.
Q. You suggested or you mentioned earlier that it's been a crazy season. Can you describe some of the ups and downs that maybe stick out for you over the course of the year on your way here to this game?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, really, it was a typical season in a lot of ways. I think coming in everybody expected us to finish the season the way we did the last couple months, I don't know how realistically that was, but that was what was expected.
Some ups and downs along the way. We hit our stride right in the middle of the season, and tough September. But they buckled down and got in. And had a nice little run here in the postseason. It was probably the obvious things, to let you know.
But it's a fun group. It is. Baseball is a long season. And so they deserve a rest. I know they'll go home and rest up, because a lot of guys need it.
Q. Great season.
JOHN GIBBONS: Thank you.
Q. A lot of bumps and bruises over the course of the year. How tough has it been for guys like Estrada with his back, Donaldson with his hip?
JOHN GIBBONS: You know, they battled through some of those things. A lot of guys in this league have that. But they kept answering the bell, and were very productive. Both of those guys had great seasons, and that's not easy to do.
But really, I think baseball is more of a physical grind and mental grind than people actually realize. You're at it every day and that's not easy to do. And not a lot of spring chickens out there, either, playing.
But I tip my hat to them, because they made it easy on us. Every night they came out there and competed. And that's all you could ask. Were we good every night? Of course not, but most nights we were. And we were entertaining. And I think we were an entertaining team to watch, I would think.
Q. Getting into the ALCS two years in a row is a difficult task. Can you describe the pride you have in your job and your coaches' job, what you've done for two years?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, it's not easy. You get -- really, the tough part is getting in. So many good teams out there. In the American League we look at it all the time. All the divisions are good and competitive.
To stay on top or get close to the top, near the top, I mean, it takes a lot. A lot of things have got to go your way, you've got to get some breaks. You've got to stay healthy for the most part. And you've got to be tough mentally. That's what we've got. And we turned that around last year, got in, repeated that this year.
I'm sure there will be some disappointments and grumbling and complaining about how you fell short again, but that's not coming from me. Because I know what these guys did, and I think it's a pretty good accomplishment. The key is we want to take that next step one of these days, hopefully it's next year. But these guys, they did a hell of a job.