Last January, the Diamondbacks let it be known that they wanted "gritty" players, who played the way manager Kirk Gibson did. Ten months later, after a season during which the D-Backs went 81-81 for the second straight season and finished 11 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, Gibson wants people to know that the Arizona organization does the right thing, and does it better than any other MLB team.
What is the D-Backs skipper talking about? In an interview with AZCentral.com's Dan Bickley, Gibson touted the character of his team and how the players' attitude towards fans has changed since he took over as manager during the 2010 season. That kind of devotion toward Arizona fans, according to Gibson, is one reason he wasn't interested in talking to the Tigers about their managerial position after Jim Leyland retired in late October.
Nowadays, his players feel the same way in their manager's view. As an example of their dedication to D-Backs supporters, Gibson pointed to the team's goodwill tour of Australia in advance of its season-opening series in Sydney versus the Dodgers next March.
“Look at the guys who went down to Australia for us," Gibson said to Bickley. "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 [Paul Goldschmidt] 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?”
Honestly, the Dodgers took a goodwill tour of Australia too, with A.J. Ellis and several team officials making several stops throughout Sydney and conducting a baseball skills clinic. But we don't know if that group did the right thing while touring Australia. Also, only one Dodgers player went on the tour, as opposed to two — two — Diamondbacks. Where's the dedication to the fans, man?
Is it really necessary for Gibson to tout the substance of his team and players by knocking down the character of a fierce division rival? Can't he just point out that he has a good set of guys without taking a shot at the Dodgers? Apparently not. Are Gibson and the D-Backs still sore about the Dodgers celebrating their NL West title by jumping into the pool at Chase Field? Apparently so.
It looks like that's the motivational tool that Gibson is going to use for his team throughout the offseason and into next season. Remember the pool, boys! Never forget! They sullied our beautifully chlorinated pool with their sweaty, dirty and not gritty selves! Hey, maybe that will work.
Maybe Gibson will continue to hit this theme throughout the offseason, pounding the idea that the D-Backs are the virtuous, upstanding citizens of MLB, trying to keep the universe safe and clean against the mischievous, greedy, inconsiderate marauders that are the Los Angeles Dodgers.
How much is the other team tipping? 10 percent? 15 percent? Are they too [bleeping] good? We're tipping 20, 25 percent on every check, supporting local service workers!
When we're shopping at the mall for the holidays, our guys are holding doors open for people, especially the elderly! Is the other team holding open doors or just opening for themselves? Are they too [expletive] good? Honestly?
Our guys eat the ends of the loaf of bread! We don't leave them for our wives or friends to chew on or burn in the toaster. What's the other team doing with their bread? Eating the middle pieces first? Are they too effin' good? C'mon!
Who's washing their hands when they're done in the bathroom? We have our guys rinsing, using soap, washing between their fingers, under their nails. What's the other team doing? Just running water over their hands? Do they even wash their hands when they're done? They think their hands never get dirty? They think they're too [bleeping] good for germs and bacteria? Honestly?
OK, that joke's probably been killed now.
But does Gibson realize that he and the D-Backs portraying themselves as the hard-working heroes who get it done through effort, rather than gliding by on talent and entitlement, could engender just as much resentment and mockery among fans and commentators than any sort of jealousy toward the rich and glamorous megabucks competition? He may be too busy keeping score on all the perceived slights he's encountered throughout his career.