The first battle in Monday night’s game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals went to the home team.
Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t the one that counts in the standings.
At any rate, prior to the game, D-backs skipper Kirk Gibson exchanged his lineup card with former D-backs coach and now Nationals manager Matt Williams at home plate. From there it was off to the races, with the managers seeing who could get back to their dugout first.
Gibson won in a way that would make even California Chrome jealous.
“We used to run five, six days a week together,” Gibson explained to Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “Run distance, run ramps, run stairs. Matt, he’s got good lungs, a lot younger lungs than me, so if you go distance, if I can hang in there to the end I could always out-kick him. So he knew by the end of when we’d run, he’d always have to go out hard and try to lose me, get a good lead so he could beat me.
“So last night I told him how I had that knee surgery five weeks ago or something like that, so I’ve been telling him how bad my knee is, I can’t run, I can’t do this. So he said ‘let’s go on a big run.’ So he’s all set up, and I just shook his hand. He didn’t know what was going on, I just sprinted off there. It was a setup. Is that cheating or is that just smart?”
Gibson also noted that Williams knew from his time on his bench that he likes to get back to his dugout before the opposing manager, so it wasn’t exactly a total secret.