Kirk Gibson tried to hold back a smile.
“I know they are,” he said in reference to the rumor that team president Derrick Hall and GM Kevin Towers will shave their heads if the D-backs win their 10th consecutive game Friday night.
Saying he’s got the barber picked out but, “it’s not going to be me,” Gibson added that the team will witness the demise of upper management’s follicles.
The room, filled with members of the media, laughed. Gibson did not. Instead, he turned somewhat serious.
“If it should happen, and you just have to understand and remain humble about what’s going on right now…I hate even talking about it yet, if we’re in a position to make that happen…it’s what you do…you make sacrifices.”
Talk about a buzzkill.
Then again, Gibson’s job is to make sure his players don’t count their chickens before they hatch, put the cart before the horse or, really, any other cliché you can think of. He needs to make sure they don’t assume the West has been won, keeping the idea that the season’s final 25 games carry much importance.
So ignore the six game lead on the defending champions, even if the team by the bay scores about as often as this guy back in high school. Don’t put any stock into the idea that jettisoning of Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada is the baseball equivalent of one last, final gasp before the lights finally go out on the 2011 season. And that .238 team batting average the team is sporting? Don’t pay it any heed, as they could turn things around at any moment.
At least, that’s the message the skipper wants to convey, and by all accounts the team truly believes this thing aint over yet.
“Just like we went through a funk and then the next thing you know we win eight, nine in a row, the game just kind of works like that,” centerfielder Chris Young said. “You never go into a series thinking that somebody is just going to lay down, especially with us coming to town.”
Of course you don’t.
“We can’t get overconfident a little bit, we have to stay on the same level, stay humble and keep playing hard. There’s still twenty-something games left, a lot of things can happen,” added catcher Miguel Montero.
Agreed, a lot could happen. But it won’t.
The Diamondbacks are going to win the division, and likely by a comfortable margin. While you never want to underestimate an opponent, it’s not wrong to say a struggling team is struggling. The Giants won a single series in the month of August, and their inability to beat teams with nothing to play for shows they are just not capable of making a run this year.
Deep down, even if they won’t – or can’t – say it, the Diamondbacks know this. A chance to put the Giants away is before them, as they head to the bay for a three game set. Win one and the Giants pick up just a single game. Win two and the lead is pushed to seven. Win all three?
That would be something to smile about.