Grit isn’t enough: now the Dbacks general manager wants his team to be dirty too

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Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers inspired a lot of jokes last winter when he insisted that his team be “gritty” and proceeded to trade away Justin Upton for Martin Prado (among other moves) that he claimed were about instilling a blue collar attitude. That wasn’t enough, though, apparently. Now he wants his team to be out-and-out dirty.

He went on a radio show yesterday and talked about how upset he was that his team seemed to be something less than dour in the dugout during some losses and how, when he saw them on a monitor goofing off “if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.” UPDATE: I got this wrong. Apparently it was the Dodgers goofing off he didn’t like and said he’d throw baseballs at them if he could. Which, either way, seems kinda messed up.

But more offensive to him was the fact that, in his mind anyway, Dbacks pitchers didn’t hit opposing batters enough. Really, he said that:

You’d think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently,” he said. “Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.’

“Not that I don’t take any of our guys from a lesser standpoint, but if Goldy’s getting hit, it’s an eye for an eye, somebody’s going down or somebody’s going to get jacknifed.”

Towers went on to claim that part of the reason pitching coach Charles Nagy was fired was because his pitchers didn’t hit enough guys. Worth noting, as Rob Neyer noted on Twitter last night, that Arizona’s batters were hit by 43 pitches in 2013 while Arizona’s pitchers hit 60 batters. So apparently he doesn’t want an “eye for an eye.” He wants something more on the order of two eyes.

If Kevin Towers fired Nagy for not instructing pitchers to hit more batters I hope Nagy told him where to shove it when he walked out the door. If he wants Dbacks players “jack-knifing” the opposition, I hope he gets out of his friggin’ armchair when the benches clear and starts mixing it up with other players.

And, if he continues to stand by these comments — and if he really did instruct Nagy to have pitchers plunk guys — I hope Major League Baseball disciplines him, just as it would discipline any pitcher it was convinced intentionally threw at a batter. Indeed, MLB should discipline him more for ordering it from the position of authority he inexplicably continues to hold.

Kirk Gibson home run happened 30 years ago

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With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.

Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.

All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.

For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.

But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: