The Arizona Diamondbacks are coming off a two-season stretch in which they found themselves on the losing end 189 times.
Manager Kirk Gibson was here for each and every one of those losses as a bench coach and then interim manager for three months.
Gibson is now the manager. The interim tag was taken off as soon as the season ended last October.
This spring training is Gibson’s first as the man in charge. While each Major League team has a manager, the job description for the manager can vary. Ultimately the job is to win a World Series but it’s not always that easy.
Gibson’s top priority this spring is to change the mentality and culture of what has been a losing organization as of late.
The Diamondbacks need swagger, a hard-nosed mindset and an extra hop in their step. All things Gibson brought to the yard when he played. Hopefully some of it wears off on his players.
We are now two full weeks in from when pitchers and catchers reported.
From everything that can be seen and said, Gibson is getting his point across and getting his team set to compete in the NL West.
The message to the team after their first meeting was that expectations were going to be high (no reason they can’t be in the running for the division), competition was going to be created (25 roster spots are open) and there was going to be a team atmosphere surrounding the club (the team needs to come together, no selfishness).
“We have to come together as a team, we have to have a purpose together,” Gibson said after that first team meeting on February 19. “It’s our job as an organization and as a staff to make sure they understand exactly who we are and to give them an opportunity to become who we are. If there are people that aren’t on the program then we’re going to have to make adjustments.”
This roster is far from set and has many guys that could end up with jobs if they have a strong spring. Both Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers have said that and continue to say it.
Saturday Gibson reiterated thoughts on positions being open when he was asked about Paul Goldschmidt playing himself into the mix after the young infielder hit a three-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies.
“Crazier things have happened,” Gibson said of a player playing himself into a prominent role during spring training. “I wouldn’t rule it out.”
This team is without a designated ace in the rotation or a lineup where everyone knows where they will be hitting.
Players on this team are going to do things Gibson’s way or they won’t be around long. Exactly how it should be.
Gibson’s way is worrying about yourselves and doing what you need to do. The rest will take care of itself.
“Our intensity and the way we compete is going to change, it’s going to change, trust me,” Gibson said on Saturday. “We won’t be well liked.”
That’s what you want to hear from your manager. A team that will be aggressive and not afraid to make mistakes but they will be under control and be smart about the leash Gibson’s gives them.
The D-backs have played four spring training games. Opening Day is still a month away. It’s hard to get too excited over practice and exhibition games.
What’s not hard to get excited about is what the manager has been saying.
Time will tell but I fully expect these Diamondbacks to start showing it in their play more and more.
Gibson wants this team peaking just as spring training wraps up.
A team ready to play the game the right away and a team ready to win.
What I learned this week…
Just when I didn’t think the disaster that is Charlie Sheen could get any worse, it got worse. Sheen has now outdone himself. He seriously has. Here is a quote from an interview that will air Tuesday night on ABC.
“I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”
Tweet of the week…
From @SteveNash: Just landed in the T Dot and found out we traded my good friend Goran Dragic. Great teammate and person. Has a chance to be great.
No one on the Suns flight had Internet access and knew about this until they landed? I find that hard to believe and odd.
Suggestion of the week…
Take a look at this video. Watching someone shatter glass is always entertaining.