D-backs’ GM: Gibson mirroring MLB’s best
It’s no secret how quickly “Gibby Fever” spread throughout the desert and, more importantly, the Diamondbacks clubhouse.
Kirk Gibson brought a sense of purpose, discipline and intensity to a young D-backs team last Spring Training and the troops bought into what their manager was preaching.
The fiery and tenacious skipper led the D-backs to a worst-to-first finish in 2011, capturing the NL West crown with an impressive 94-68 record. His achievements in his first full season as manager were lauded and rewarded by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America this offseason when he was named the National League Manager of the Year.
Management couldn’t have been more pleased with Gibson’s attitude and work ethic.
General Manager Kevin Towers told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf that Gibson’s no nonsense approach reminds him of some of the more iconic former Major League managers.
“There’s no kindergarten play,” Towers said. “It’s baseball until the minute he leaves. To me, that’s Tony LaRussa-like, Bobby Cox-like — I mean your great managers. I think that’s the way they approach the game.”
To mention Gibson’s name in the same breath as such storied company as LaRussa and Cox, who combined have won 17 pennants and 6 World Championships, speaks volumes for Towers’ belief in the commitment to winning and longevity of his manager.
For a championship-caliber manager, one key quality can’t be amiss. And for the D-backs, they’ve found that in Gibson.
“To me, your great leaders kind of emerge during difficult times,” Towers added. “That’s when they really need to lead and I thought he was at his best when we were at our worst at times.”
Navigating a team through adversity sounds reminiscent of both the Cardinals’ LaRussa and the Braves’ Cox and if Gibson and his staff can usher the D-backs to back-to-back division titles, he could be well on his way to the piece of hardware the club covets most.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for the NL West,” Towers said. “This has probably been one of the more volatile divisions in baseball. There’s been very few repeat division champs. We’ve got the right coaching staff; they’re not going to allow it to happen.”
Not with Gibby watching.