Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall understands that Wednesday’s come-from-behind-walk-off-win over the Colorado Rockies does not mean the team’s season is about to turn around.
Naturally he hopes that’s the case, but one win — no matter how dramatic and exciting — does not erase the previous month, which was by all accounts a disaster.
That’s why many people thought a loss Wednesday could have been the final nail in the proverbial coffin for manager Kirk Gibson or general manager Kevin Towers — or both.
So did Miguel Montero’s 10th-inning home run save their jobs?
“No, no, it’s not like we had a plan in place and we were going to wait and see how that game finished,” Hall told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday morning.
Hall said it’s understandable why people thought that may have been the case, with the team struggling and about to leave for an extended road trip. However, it’s just not that simple to make changes like that, even with the team at 9-22 on the season.
“Situations like these are very complicated,” he said. “Take our team out of it. Take any team that’s been in this situation, and there’s been thousands over the years. It’s not like these two guys are on an island, but when you’re playing poorly and fans are calling for a managerial or general managerial head, it’s tough because they’re a team.”
As Hall noted, Gibson and Towers put together the team’s coaching and scouting staffs along with players, so it’s not exactly a plug-and-play situation. Sure, you can make a change, but it will affect more than just their specific job. And with the amateur draft coming up soon, it would not be ideal to make a move that could disrupt the team’s preparation.
But that doesn’t mean the option isn’t on the table.
“They’re not stupid; they know that we’re talking to people, we’re considering every option,” Hall said. “It’s tough on them, and again, at this time I want to focus on these two and say what a professional job they’ve done.
“Look at Kirk Gibson. Every day he’s wondering whether he’s going to lose his job. That’s not fun, that’s not easy, and he’s such a pro about it.
“And we’re all being very open and honest — and that’s the best thing you can do — to have the relationship and to at least look the gentlemen in the eyes and say, ‘guys, things aren’t going well.’ And they know, are there going to be changes? It’s tough.”
Hall said both Gibson and Towers continue to work hard trying to turn things around, though, and will do their jobs to the best of their abilities until it’s not their job any longer.
When that would be, if it would be, is up in the air. The last thing the team wants to do is make a knee-jerk decision and pull the plug too soon, which Hall said he feels like the team has done before.
“In this game you always plan for the worst and hope for the best, that’s what we all do,” Hall said. “It’s something that you work on every day. You’re seeking answers and you’re assessing, you’re evaluating, you’re looking under the hood. It’s heartbreaking, it truly is. That’s what this game does.”
But the team’s record speaks for itself, and unless the course changes dramatically dramatic changes may be in order.
“You hope for better results, but the fact is we just have not played good baseball,” the president said, adding that neither Towers nor Gibson would disagree and they are always talking with Hall and trying to figure things out.
Towers, Hall said, is often apologizing for what’s happened this season.
“And that hurts. You hate to hear that from a guy who’s had a very successful career, and he’s scratching his head,” Hall said. “And it’s not like these are bad players. The question throughout our entire Valley and throughout this market, and even nationally, is what is going on, what is wrong with the D-backs?
“Because people did not expect it. When you look at the team on paper you don’t expect it, even with the injuries. It’s sad, but we’re in a results business, that’s the nature of this game.”