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Kirk Gibson rips Ryan Braun

Ryan BraunArizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has always been one of the most outspoken people in baseball when it comes to performance-enhancing drug use. He is an advocate for harsher penalties against steroid users, and, as you might expect, he is not a huge fan of Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun.

Gibson is bothered not only by Braun’s decision to cheat, but also the way he has refused to take responsibility for his poor decisions.

“I said this a long time ago: I think that people should have an opportunity to ask him some questions and have him answer them unrehearsed,” Gibson said, via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “Something tells me he’s getting really prepared for just about anything that they could throw at him.”

Gibson believes Braun owes it to the game of baseball to explain himself.

“I’m not surprised he hasn’t addressed people. He probably doesn’t give a (expletive) about me,” he said. “He’s got it really good. I was one of the guys who went through many things – work stoppages, etc. – so that he could do that. I would hope that he respects me and everybody who stood up for him before he played the game. Everybody looks at it differently, but if he thinks he’s giving back to the game, he has a different idea of how to give back than I do.”

In 2011, the year Braun tested positive for PEDs during his MVP run and consistently lied about it, the Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. Braun was 9-for-18 with four doubles and a home run in the series, which obviously bothers Gibson.

“Everybody listened to his line of (expletive), so you take him at face value,” Gibson said. “All things considered, we should have won the game. All things considered, the last game, we tied it up and we had a chance to win it. There were other times in my career when I did overcome cheaters. We had our chance.”

Plenty of people feel the way Gibson feels about Braun, they just won’t share their thoughts. The former MLB All-Star has never been shy about speaking his mind, so his stance on Braun isn’t exactly a surprise.

Kirk Gibson to Jeff Samardzija: ‘Shut the (bleep) up and pitch’

Kirk-Gibson-skips-sons-graduationJeff Samardzija has been piling up a ton of strikeouts as a starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs this year, and that trend continued during a 12-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. Samardzija fanned 11 hitters in 6 1/3 innings of work, but he was charged with two runs that scored after he left the game and ended up earning a no decision. His evening also included a bit of drama.

At one point, Samardzija came close to hitting opposing starting pitcher Ian Kennedy with a couple of pitches. That led to the Cubs pitcher getting into it with Kennedy and D-Backs third base coach Matt Williams, which seemed to irritate Arizona manager Kirk Gibson.

“It’s part of the game,” Gibson told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert after the game. “Whatever. He didn’t get the win did he? Maybe the next time he should just shut the [expletive] up and pitch.”

As far as his pitching performance was concerned, Gibson had nothing but good things to say about Samardzija.

“He’s throwing the ball really good this year,” he said. “I told [bench coach Alan Trammell] before the game, ‘I hope we can hang in there and get his pitch count up.’ He used to go shorter distances before it happened. He’s really improved a lot. I’ve been watching him.”

Despite his 3-6 record, Samardzija has held opposing hitters to a .203 batting average and has an ERA of 2.96. He has dominated in spurts for Chicago, which Gibson alluded to. But this is the same Kirk Gibson who skipped his son’s high school graduation because graduating is something you’re supposed to do. That should tell you all you need to know about his opinion on Samardzija barking at his third base coach.

Fist bump to Hardball Talk

Dusty Baker refuses to shake Kirk Gibson’s hand after spring training game

Dusty-Baker-RedsKirk-Gibson-Diamondbacks

There are very few things that could happen over the course of a spring training game that would result in one manager refusing to shake another manager’s hand after the game ends, but Dusty Baker and Kirk Gibson apparently found a reason on Monday.

According to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, Baker and Gibson got off to a rocky start before Monday’s exhibition between the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks. The two managers reportedly had a “testy discussion” at home plate while exchanging lineups, which apparently had to do with Baker wanting to use a DH and Gibson wanting to play by standard National League rules.

“I had it happen last year with a team, they tried to put the DH in there and that’s not the way it’s done,” Gibson explained. “I wanted to play a National League game. I notified them several times and they just wanted to do it their way and they couldn’t do it. So they didn’t like that. But we play by the rules here, that’s the way it is. We go over there we play by their rules. It’s very simple.”

Arizona was the home team, and the home team gets to decide if a DH is going to be used or not during spring training. According to Gilbert, Gibson wanted to play by standard NL rules so he could get pitcher Brandon McCarthy as many at bats as possible. McCarthy, who pitched in the American League last season, needs practice at the plate. Baker wanted to use Shin-Soo Choo as a DH instead of playing him in the field, since he is nursing a minor quadriceps injury. Gibson would not give in, thus upsetting Baker.

After the game, Gibson apparently extended his hand to shake Baker’s, but Baker refused.

“We didn’t have a very pleasant encounter at home plate,” Baker said. “That’s how it goes. It’s over.”

Now children, it’s only spring training. Let’s try to get along.

Fist pound to Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Kirk Gibson: MLB needs ‘much stronger’ penalties for failed drug tests

In the wake of Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for elevated levels of testosterone, you can easily understand why some of the teams who have played against the Giants would be upset. As is the case with any player who used illegal performance-enhancing substances, the Giants technically cheated during the games in which Cabrera played. If the substance is helping the player pitch or hit more effectively, it is directly impacting the outcome of the game. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson says the penalties need to be harsher for that reason.

“He’s had a huge impact against us,” Gibson said Wednesday according to the Arizona Republic. “And then you go back to 2008 with the Manny (Ramirez) thing. Huge impact. You compare like in the NCAA with Penn State. All those people are gone and Penn State is paying for it. Here it’s just tied to the individual. I think we need much stronger ramifications for that type of activity. It just absolutely cannot be tolerated.”

While there is no way to compensate the teams that were affected by Cabrera’s cheating, the penalty is fairly harsh. Gibson likely believes players should be suspended for a full year right off the bat, and I’m sure a number of people feel the same way. However, a 50-game suspension is extremely significant – especially at this point in the season. The Giants will now be without arguably their best hitter down the stretch and into the early part of the playoffs. The suspension could have an enormous impact on their team going forward, as it should.

H/T Eye on Baseball
Photo credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Kirk Gibson thinks it’s weird having a Dodgers bobblehead as D-backs manager

The Dodgers held a Kirk Gibson bobblehead giveaway on Tuesday night to celebrate the former slugger’s memorable pinch-hit home run in the 1988 World Series. Though the gesture was cool, and the idea to have the figurine’s fist pump also bobble was awesome, the giveaway comes at an odd time; Gibson now manages the opposing team.

“It’s got to be weird for the Dodgers,” Gibson said before the game. “We’re going to try to beat their tails tonight.

“I have the Diamondbacks red on tonight. I dislike the Dodgers a competitive, respectful way,” he said, per Jack Magruder.

Gibson said before the game that he agreed to the giveaway before realizing he would be managing the opposing team the night fans received it. I’m sure Dodgers fans won’t mind; even if the team loses, at least they got a cool souvenir.

And being on the opposite isn’t the only aspect of the giveaway that’s drawn attention; the positioning of Gibson’s fist-pumping arm is too:

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Kirk Gibson on missing son’s high school graduation: ‘You’re supposed to graduate’

Most normal kids expect to graduate from high school, but that doesn’t make the moment any less special when it finally arrives. For many, high school graduation signifies becoming a man or a woman. Unlike elementary school or middle school graduation, high school graduation is the last thing you do before heading off into the real world and taking on real responsibilities. However, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson doesn’t seem to see what all the hype is about. After missing his son Cam’s high school graduation on Thursday night in Michigan, Gibson gave the following explanation.

“You’re supposed to graduate,” he said according to U-T San Diego. “His mom and the rest of the family will be there. He’s coming to see me next week.”

And Kirk is supposed to win the World Series, so we’ll all just golf clap if that ever happens. Rather than flying home Thursday and rejoining the D-Backs in Anaheim on Friday, Gibson remained with his team for the final game of their series against the Rangers. While his personal family matters are none of our business, he could have come up with something better to say like “It’s a shame I can’t make it” or “I’m really proud of him.”

As The Big Lead pointed out, Cam was drafted in the 38th round by Arizona a couple of weeks ago but is expected to pursue a collegiate career at Michigan State like his old man. While we have no idea what the relationship between father and son is like, the fact that Gibson missed Cam’s graduation because it’s something that is supposed to happen seems a bit cold.

Photo credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Kevin Towers Leaning Towards Retaining Kirk Gibson as Diamondbacks Manager

A week after the Arizona Diamondbacks announced the hiring of former Padres general manager Kevin Towers as their new GM, it appears as if they’ve decided on a manager. John Gambadoro of KTAR in Phoenix reported on Wednesday that the Diamondbacks and interim manager Kirk Gibson were working on a two-year deal. FOX Sports Arizona says the same thing and that any deal would not be reached until the season ends. On top of those reports, KT did an in-game interview on ESPN during their Wednesday night game between the Diamondbacks and Giants that showed his feelings.

Towers spoke positively about Gibson when asked about the managerial situation. “The little I’ve been around Gibby so far has been real positive,” Towers said. “I like the look in the eye, the fire in the belly — he’s intense. He played underneath Sparky Anderson, Jim Leyland, Tommy Lasorda — those are the guys that taught him the game of baseball. Those are the kinds of managers that I want. So far, really good.”

It clearly sounds like Gibson will be back as the team’s manager and that’s not a bad thing. I thought firing Josh Byrnes was the wrong move for them, but Towers is an extremely competent GM who knows how to work on a tight budget. That will be the situation in Arizona, and his top priority will be building a pitching staff. The mid-season acquisition of Daniel Hudson helps enormously, and if Brandon Webb can bounce back from injury, they’ll be much closer towards having a good rotation. The offense, despite its astronomical strikeout numbers, is pretty set. Now Towers needs to do what he did so well in San Diego — assemble a strong bullpen.