Friday, November 22, 2013

Kirk Gibson is a Nutjob



My first favorite baseball player was Kirk Gibson. Young Rogo worshipped the guy. And to this day, he remains in my five favorite players ever in some sort of mish-mash with Alan Trammell, Bobby Higginson, Magglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera.

But the guy is insane.

Over at azcentral.com, they have an article up with several quotes from Gibby on how he thinks the Diamondbacks are shaping up to be a championship team. Again, I love Gibson, but he may be certifiably crazy.

Here are some highlights:

“I’ll give you an example,” Gibson said. “Look at the guys who went down (on a goodwill tour of) Australia for us. Why did they do it? It’s who we are. It’s who the Diamondbacks are. We’re committed to the game of baseball. We’re committed to the community. I’ll put our organization up against anybody’s in terms of doing the right thing.

“We had Goldy go down there, along with Patrick Corbin and Derrick Hall, our president and CEO. Who’s the other team got down there? Are they too (expletive) good? Honestly?”

1. Who cares about Australia? Brad Thomas came from there. Fosters tastes like ass. Burn it to the ground.

2. The Dodgers sent someone there, too. You know, the Los Angeles Dodgers, those evil scumbags that dared to show emotion on the field against Gibby’s Diamondbacks after clinching the AL West.

3. “Doing the right thing?” Here’s what I want from my baseball team: WIN GAMES. That’s it. I could give zero shits about doing whatever Gibson thinks the right thing is. I want my team to win. That’s it. I’ll take a World Series championship with 25 jerks over a .500 team of nice guys any day of the week.

4. Too (darn, I assume) good? To go to Australia? Does petting a kangaroo and high-fiving a koala make a team grittier?

Some more:

“I know what people get at — you remember me running around the bases and the (expletive) I did as a player,” Gibson said. “And now you see me as a manager as a very calculating, strategic guy. You have to understand I’m in charge. I’m the skipper of the ship. If there are 35-foot waves, what do I have to do? Run for cover?

“I’m steering the ship. Everyone else is throwing up? I don’t have the option to throw up. I have to be the last one off. I was (emotional) as a player, and did a lot of stupid things with my emotions. I’m really the same guy inside. I burn inside. You’re just not going to see that. You’re just not going to know that. But you’re not going to stop me from going after what I want to get after.”

I, I, I. Me, me, me. He’s Gibby the pirate, sailing the seven seas. Taking names and kicking ass. “I’m the grittiest, scrappiest, hard-nosed, bulldoggiest non-Eckstein of all time.”

That’s great, Gibby. But you’re not winning shit. The Diamondbacks have finished at 81-81 in each of the past two seasons. Their position players consist of the amazing Paul Goldschmidt and a bunch of clowns. Arizona’s current starting staff features one decent pitcher in Patrick Corbin and four guys that would look at home with the Twins. (Sorry, Brandon McCarthy. Get healthy) Heath Bell is their closer, for crissakes.

I get what he’s doing, I guess. FIRE UP THOSE TROOPS. BELIEVE. But it still makes him look like a mental patient.

Seriously. Keep reading.

Despite their lack of success, Gibson feels like the Diamondbacks have made great strides in the past couple of seasons.

Great strides.

2011 Diamondbacks: 94-68
2012 Diamondbacks: 81-81
2013 Diamondbacks: 81-81
He says the only thing missing from his team is “that little edge we’re looking for,”

Or Justin Upton.

an edge that disappeared after last year’s brawl with the Dodgers.

Justin Upton?

He said tweaking personnel to enhance the group’s competitive nature will be the most critical thing that transpires this off-season.

He’s gonna apologize and get Justin Upton back?

He also pointed to the Pirates as a franchise that stuck with a plan, fought through heartbreak, tweaked the recipe, and finally broke through last season.

Good Arizona players: Goldschmidt, Corbin, maybe Aaron Hill?

Good Pittsburgh players: McCutchen, Walker, Alvarez, Marte, Burnett, Liriano, and an amazing bullpen.

It’s called TALENT. Gibby preaches about grit and hustle, but without talent, the D-Backs are going to be the scrap-scrap-scrappiest .500 team out there. Again.

“My dad always said if you play football and a guy sticks you, get his number,” Gibson said. “I’m not a chirper. But I’m taking their number. You’re going to have your laugh, your little party, you’re going to doubt me. I’m not going to say anything. But I’m going to feel it.”

You make out a lineup card, dude.

Gibson can make his guys hate the Dodgers all he wants, but he’s taking a knife to a gun fight. And the more he snarls, the more motivation he’s going to give the Goliath in Dodger Blue to stomp out the Arizona Red.

Stop worrying about the Dodgers. Concentrate on your team, Kirk. They went 7-12 against both San Diego and San Francisco last year. And those division rivals suck. Beat them and then worry about conquering the king of the division.

To reinforce the point, Gibson mentions all the abuse he once received as an opposing player. He said the condition was most acute in Oakland, a city that features “the most ruthless group of people anywhere.”

“Did I get the A’s?” Gibson said, smiling. “Did I get the A’s?”

What the shit does that have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing.

You were good, Kirk. Your non-Goldschmidt players are not.

Yes. On one leg, even. And now Gibson is armed with a premonition of another World Series trophy, another championship parade in Phoenix. “When that happens, then you’ll see some emotion from me,” Gibson said. “I promise you that.”

I love confidence. I love a manager that believes in his players. But that can also come back to bite the team in the ass.

See Jim Leyland and his repeated attempts to bang a square peg into a round hole with Ryan Raburn at second base. Or Phil Coke out of the bullpen. Or Don Kelly anywhere near a baseball diamond.

When Leyland stepped down, many in the Tigers fanbase immediately started clamoring for Gibson to take over in Detroit.

My thoughts were, “Please, not Gibson. Anyone but Gibson. Except Dusty Baker.”

His comments above are part of the reason why. It’s a different game today than when Kirk Gibson played. For better or worse, most current players do not have a Kirk Gibson mindset anymore. He can’t make his 25 players into 25 Gibby Juniors. Fans don't like to hear that. But it's reality.

At some point, he needs to realize that if he’s ever going to be successful again.

I worshipped Kirk Gibson, the player. Kirk Gibson, the manager?

Not so much.

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