I’m rather struck by the notion of Kirk Gibson as the Diamondbacks new manager. I know he’s been a bench coach and a hitting coach for a long time — both with the Tigers and the Dbacks, but I’ve never really considered him to be a future manager.
No reason for this, really. I guess I just still picture him as a player and not a coach, mostly because (a) he was one of the biggest personalities on the team I followed as a little kid; and (b) I don’t see a lot of Dbacks games so I haven’t seen him just sort of hanging out in the dugout thinking like coaches and managers do.
In my mind he’s still that fiery player of the 1980s, rounding first with his helmet flying off, snapping at Dodgers teammates for putting shoe polish in his cap and stuff like that. Still: it’s exactly that kind of fire and intensity that so many people like to see in a manager. Or at least in a managerial candidate (the fire often wears thin after Mr. Intensity takes the job).
Gibson has never managed on any level, which was one of A.J. Hinch’s biggest handicaps when he took the job. I have this feeling, however, that no one is going to give Gibson crap for that. He might just take their damn head off if they do.
Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.
Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.
Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.
Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:
“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”