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.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.