The Arizona Diamondbacks made league-wide news over the weekend by naming soon-to-be Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa as its first-ever Chief Baseball Officer.
While the four-time Manager of the Year’s role with the organization will strictly be front office-based, it’s hard not to wonder how the team’s current manager, Kirk Gibson, viewed the personnel move.
Gibson, a Manager of the Year award recipient in his own right back in 2011, has fallen on hard times in recent years, guiding the D-backs to back-to-back .500 seasons, not to mention its current 18-28 mark to begin 2014.
But ever the professional, Gibson was gushing about the hire Tuesday.
“When I was a young player, Tony whenever he’d play Detroit, he’d come over and talk to [Tigers manager] Sparky Anderson all the time,” Gibson recalled on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns & Gambo. “I was always a guy who was looking for information, so I know a lot of his principles came from a guy who taught me the game and others who I competed against.
“His success as a manager speaks for itself. It’s impressive the way he goes about things and the way he competes. I look at it as a positive thing for us. I believe he can help us. I’m very fortunate to have him to give me suggestions.”
While Gibson has played for some of the most-accomplished skippers to ever grace a dugout in Tommy Lasorda and Anderson, the fifth-year manager said he’s not above adding another mentor.
“One of the first conversations we had the first day he came in, he said he didn’t want to give me too much information,” said Gibson. “He said he wanted to analyze things and get through the season. He knows how hard it is to get through the season.
“But I said, ‘No, I welcome it. I want to know anything that you see. Hopefully we can have a relationship.'”
It’s a relationship Gibson hopes will come with open communication at all times.
“I want him to be open and honest with me,” said Gibson. “Ultimately, make me better and that will make our team better.”