Went to D-backs Fan Fest Saturday and spoke with Kirk Gibson, Paul Goldschmidt, Kevin Towers and Daniel Hudson. Here are some observations from our talks with them...
It's very strange how Gibby never makes eye contact with me but does with Wolf. Either I'm beneath him because I only made it to Varsity baseball, or I have a long way to go to earn his respect. Too bad for me because I have great respect for him.
Goldy is one of the few laid-back people that have an unquenchable thirst to win. For so many people, their greatness is derived from their insane intensity but they miss the smell of the roses. Others miss out on greatness because they have no fire despite owning the talent. He has everything going for him yet still brings a sense of calm to every situation. It's somewhat embarrassing that I'm 41 and could learn so much from someone who's 25.
There's nothing he can say that could get me to believe the Upton trade gave good return to Arizona, yet I respect him greatly. He was walking around the moon-bounces talking to fans for two hours before his scheduled radio appearance. GMs who just made controversial trades do not walk around and face the music. Could you really see Brian Cashman walking around without security at an open-to-the-public Yankees event after trading Jeter? And no, I'm not comparing Upton to Jeter...
I asked him about his willingness to be so public. He said, "I need to be out here to wear it." Some fans came up to him upset and he talked them through his vision for the team. I even told my girls, "This is the man who traded Justin Upton." They looked astonished. Towers spoke to them about other Diamondback players and they walked away deciding Montero was now their favorite.
I think we all work better when our boss sticks their neck on the line in a belief that we will be successful. Towers has done that and is doing that for the guys on the 25 man roster. Wins Above Replacement is a fantastic metric for your true analytical meaning to a team. Wins Behind Belief may be less quantifiable, yet a confidence-building tool that raises both the metrics and the clubhouse.
He never meant to take baseball for granted but he's human. The Tommy John surgery that might cost him 13 months didn't rekindle a fire because the love of the game was never lost. However, it's fair to say not being able to contribute to the competition threw quite a few logs on the blaze.
You could say the same thing about Hudson's maturity. Anyone can become more mature and that doesn't always mean that you started from zero. From the time Hudson became a contributor, he wasn't immature, yet marriage, surgery and rehab have certainly added wisdom which can only come with added maturity.