Tuesday, August 22, 2006

John Gibbons: American Badass

John Gibbons, manager of the Toronto Bluejays, is awesome. He has been known to describe himself as a "players manager" and loves to prove that point. It's hard to argue against him being the best manager in all of baseball today, if not the history of baseball. Lets look at the facts, after being hired as a bullpen catcher in 2002 he mediocre, I mean metoeric, rise to interim manager in 2004 after Carlos Tosca was fired. Taking over full time in 2005 he led the team to an 80-82 record. Not quite underachieving, certainly not overachieving, lets just saying achieving. This offseason general manager J.P. Ricciardi went out and spent wildly on free agents putting together a very talented team to compete with the likes of the Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox. And Gibbons has managed the hell out of that team to the tune of 66-59, 10 out of the division, and 7.5 games out of the wild card. He seemed to be doing just enough to give the impression of improvement while still not quite living up to expectations. Some people call that underachieving, I call it a survivor. Keeping hope alive is a skill you can't learn, you just have it.

Really though it's not like you can lay any blame on John, look at the collection of pussies on his roster he has to deal with. Shea Hillenbrand, team cancer. Gibbons dealt with him the way any of the true greats would. The Bluejays have a chalkboard in the clubhouse that the players like to right jokes on from time to time. A good way to keep things light and loose in the clubhouse. After the team hit a bit of a rough patch Hillenbrand wrote, "the ship is sinking." Most would just take this for the lighthearted joke that is was. Not Gibbons. He sees through those sort of antics and knows that Hillenbrand is a team deserter, and he's not going to let that loser bring everyone else down with him. He dealt with it Gibby style by calling a team meeting, calling him out in front of everyone, and challenging him to fight. Hillenbrand naturally backs down, some might say showing a bit of maturity and professionalism. John on the other hand knows that this is the perfect motivational tool: he shows everyone whos boss, lights a fire under their asses, and proves that Hillenbrand is weak. After the that he runs Shea out of town by threatening to resign if the team doesn't trade him. Sure at the time he was hitting .300 with 12 hrs and 40 rbis but who cares the teams better off.

Now there is another incident. Ted Lilly had a bit off a rough outing yesterday. Not enjoying the way he was pitching Gibbons went out to remove him from the game. Obviously this guy knows how to deal with players, and one of those ways is to start an argument with them on the field in front of 30,000 people. Lilly fought back for a while before finally leaving the field and walking down into the tunnel to the clubhouse. John Gibbons is from Great Falls, Montana. A heartland badass like him is not going to put up with that kind of insubordination. So he followed Lilly into the tunnel and started a fist fight. Not exactly a big risk, the guys name is Lilly after all. Apparently it resulted in a bloody nose for John, but he doesn't care, it had the effect he wanted. Lilly, a very solid #3 starter, is a free agent after next year and thanks to Gibbons' mastery of player/manager relations most likely will not resign with the team.

I salute you John Gibbons, total hardass, thanks to your brash managerial style you've managed to run out of town a .300 hitter and a good starting pitcher thus ensuring that the Bluejays won't be challenging the Yankees for the division title any time soon. Job well done.


Mike said...

Canada obviously doesn't know what is hitting them right now. The Vin Diesel of baseball managers. I don't even know what that means, what I do know is that I never knew SH to be a cancer on any other team (at least it was never reported) and when I heard about that Lilly thing this morning I thought to myself that it was time for Gibbons to go. Can't imagine you can blame the players for the "cancerness" at this point. (maybe the mediocre play)

Corey & Carson said...

Seems to me that there are an awful lot of coaches lately getting in players faces (Ozzie Guillen, Mike Scioscia, Larry Bowa, and now Gibbons). I'm not sure who's fault it is...probably both. A coach as the right to yell at a player, but to challenge to a fight is beyond me. I actually had this happen in college at Bucknell. During half-time when we were losing to Fordham, our offensive line coach/coordinator challenged the running back to a fight...crazy stuff!

Come back to my blog again and again, we welcome you!

JW said...

I feel like the end of this blog should have a promotion for budwiser, real men of genius

Eric said...

that certainly is a thought. this guy is totally retarded and i love it. hes like those really stupid meatheads who take major offense to anything and want to fight at the drop of a hat

iceguy said...

After reading about John Gibbons, I wish he had a man-beard.

Eric said...

He certainly has a lot of the necessary characteristics. Maybe he can be an honorary Man Beard.