Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, March 16, 2013

No Help from Gibby

Photo by David Kadlubowski/ Arizona Republic
One thing you know you’ll always have with Kirk Gibson, it’s competitiveness.  Now that he’s with a rival, it should be expected.  He’ll do anything he can to beat your butt.  Additionally, he let’s you know.  He’s about as dedicated to his team and to winning as anybody in the game.  There's no doubt about it.  He's not a Dodger anymore.  

As the Dodgers attempt to get Carl Crawford in playing shape by DHing him in as many games as possible, don’t expect any help from Gibson.   JP Hoornstra of the L.A. Daily News wrote about it this morning, (LINKED HERE).   The home manager at Spring Training games determines if the DH will be used.  The Dodgers have a road game at the D-Back venue today.  There’s no point of even asking Gibson if he wants to use the DH.  His answer will be a gigantic “(expletive) NO!” in capital letters.     He wouldn't help Dusty Baker's Reds a few days ago (when they wanted to use the DH), Gibby isn't about to help a division rival.  Prepping Crawford for the season is aiding him in getting at bats against major league pitching, and he won’t have any part of that.

Gibson isn’t ever thrilled when the Dodgers replay his historic game one '88 series homer on the big screen at Dodger home games.  He hated the fact that the Dodgers issued a bobblehead in his likeness celebrating the homer last year telling Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times, “I think it’s totally ridiculous.”  There was a slight cap tip when fans insisted on cheering him with a thunderous ovation that night, giving the hint that he appreciates the fans remembering his contribution, but he’ll never admit he appreciates it.

Gamesmanship is Gibson’s game nowadays.  Anything to give his club the slightest edge, he’ll do it.  It goes all the way down to his appearance.  Is there ever a time that Gibson doesn't have the stubble on his face of a guy that hasn't shaved for two days?  (By the way, how do you do that anyway?  He must strategically shave only on off days).  If getting an edge in mental toughness means disrespecting the Dodgers and failing to acknowledge his past history with the team, so be it.  He’s a Diamondback and he doesn’t want anyone to forget it.

“I’m not a Dodger anymore!”  He tells a fan that tries to hand him one of his old Dodger baseball cards for signature.  He ignores it and moves on to paraphernalia that is either neutral or D-Back in nature.  It has happened more than once.  Gibby isn't the kind of person you want to get angry.  He wears that game face of his 24/7/365.

There was no doubt he wasn’t a Dodger anymore when he screamed at Clayton Kershaw two years ago when a dust up occurred over Gerardo Parra’s gesture and slow home run trot.  Telling the Dodger ace to “shut the (bleep) up,” was intimidating for me to watch it on TV hundreds of miles from the stadium.  I could only imagine being across the diamond from him.   Kershaw didn't back down and the next day he brushed back D-Back hitters, only to be ejected early. Gibson had done his job, putting his team in a better position through those intimidation tactics.
Umpire Bill Welke ejects Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly in September, 2011.  It was a moment when Kirk Gibson's gamesmanship won out.  (photo capture, Fox Sports Net)
Gibson's barbs were directed at Kershaw, during a heated brushback exchange in which Hong Chi Kuo was throwing inside to Gerardo Parra.
Kershaw responds (photo captures September 14, 2011 via Fox Sports Net)

Gibson’s former Dodger teammate, Mike Marshall had this to say last year when talking about Gibson:  “When you talk to Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Lance Parrish, all the greats from those Tiger teams, they all say the greatest player, not maybe by talent, but the greatest player they ever played with was Kirk Gibson.  I just wish I could have played with Gibby more than just two years because I could hit behind Gibson.  Gibby was a son of a gun.  He told you what he thought.  Every game was a football game.  Every game was a war.  I’ll never forget, Gibby would call out teammates.  I wish I would have had that a little more in my career...when Gibby came over it was quite a load off of me because, heck, you watch video of him.  You talk about intensity!  Watch a Diamondback game now.  Look in the dugout.  There’s not a whole lot of fun going on in there.  Gibby, he’s not smiling very often in there.  There’s only one thing on his mind and that is ‘how am I gonna beat that other team.’  Now he’s doing it with his head.  Before he was doing it with his legs and his bat.”

(Source: Interview with Marshall, April 11, 2012, San Rafael, CA)

As 2013 begins, there is a lot of talk about the defending champion Giants and their successful run, but don't turn your back on Gibson and the D-Backs.  They are exactly where they want to be...an after thought on the pundits radar.  Before you know it, their fiery manager just might have his club in the division lead.  He'll be in that dugout sneering at the opposition and giving that intimidating "stank eye" stare in an effort to get an edge.  It makes you really despise the guy.  It also makes you wish he was on your side.

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