D-Hall, D-backs ‘believe’ in team’s culture

Jan 21, 2012, 3:18 AM | Updated: 3:29 am

The D-backs’ brass knew they were witnessing something truly special last year when they saw a team that finished dead last in 2010 — with an abysmal 65-97 record — go on to churn out 94 victories to win the NL West crown.

In the midst of the surprising play by a predominantly young D-backs club, a new culture was born — a philosophy manager Kirk Gibson instilled in his players from day one that ultimately paid dividends as the season progressed.

“I give so much of the credit — almost all of it — to Gibby and the coaching staff, where these players just — they believe,” D-backs Team President and CEO Derrick Hall told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf this week.

Welcome to ‘Gibby Ball’ — the hard-nosed, never-say-die style of play his team has come to represent. For players and coaches around the league, it’s become a mantra that’s envied.

“People want to play here,” Hall said. “We’ve got scouts that want to work for us, we have instructors and coaches that want to work for us, we have players that want to come here and play for us.”

Arizona quickly ascended to one of the top destinations on many free agents’ radars this winter. And it was the team chemistry — not the weather — that sold players like OF Jason Kubel and RHP Takashi Saito on signing with the Diamondbacks.

“We knew that Salt River Fields would be a little bit of a recruiting tool but I think more so, it’s Gibby,” Hall explained. “They want to be a part of this team. They saw how they played last year, they saw how they succeeded last year and how close they are and how tight-knit this group is.”

Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow — who came over to the D-backs in an offseason trade with the Oakland Athletics — have strengthened the club’s pitching staff significantly.

“We’ve filled holes and we have some tremendous organizational depth,” Hall said of his team’s offseason moves.

The D-backs have eight pitchers vying for five spots in the rotation. The fifth spot should be hotly contested this spring, even though the incumbent Josh Collmenter seems likely to win the job.

Hall credits General Manager Kevin Towers for creating competition among his players, especially the hurlers.

“Now you’ve got guys like (Patrick) Corbin and (Trevor) Bauer and (Tyler) Skaggs coming into camp hoping to beat out Josh Collmenter for that fifth spot or hoping to make the team and be a part of the bullpen,” Hall enthused. “It’s great to have that. The more the merrier.”

It’s time to ring the bell and get started.

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D-Hall, D-backs ‘believe’ in team’s culture