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Kirk Gibson explains “heated exchange” with Dusty Baker

Mar 5, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

no business deal

Yesterday afternoon managers Dusty Baker and Kirk Gibson refused to shake hands at home plate and exchanged some heated words before the Reds-Diamondbacks game because Gibson refused to allow the designated hitter to be used after Baker requested it.

Here’s how Gibson explained the situation to Steve Gilbert of afterward:

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. 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.

Baker wanted to use the DH in order to get Shin-Soo Choo some at-bats despite the outfielder’s quadriceps injury and mostly took the high road afterward, saying: “We didn’t have a very pleasant encounter at home plate. That’s how it goes. It’s over.”

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    What a putz Gibson is. “I wanted to play a National League game.” It’s the freaking Spring Training man. Have a little class Kirk. These games don’t count.

    • alang3131982 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Did he also force the teams to play nine innings? What if there were a tie?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        I know…in Spring Training there are ties, split squads, shortened games for no reason, and a lot of crazy things that don’t usually happen during the season. I think Kirk is taking this “I wanted to play a National League game.” thing a bit too seriously. I wonder how his players feel, but I think I would have hated to play for this guy. In anything. From pinochle to softball to monopoly, I think I would have probably hated to play any game with him. It’s one thing to have a will to win. It’s quite another to be crazy about it.

    • BigGreen89 - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Did you read the story yesterday? Gibson wanted Brandon McCarthy (who has never pitched in the NL) ABs. Gibson has no obligation to help Dusty out here, but even so, he had just as good a reason to play an NL game. Dusty could have has Choo hit in the cage if he wanted.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        biggreen, if he wanted to bat McCarthy there is nothing from stopping him from doing so in a DH game. Baker asked to bat choo and all gibson had to do was allow the DH, and still bat McCarthy. Sure, in the regular season, this might be an unfair advantage for the Reds. BUT IT IS SPRING TRAINING!!!!!

      • cur68 - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        Seriously, Chris, what’s the lesson or value to be gained by sticking to the rules in this game around the DH? No matter which way you look at it, Gibson had everything to gain by having McCarthy as the DH & having his team face Choo. What does he gain by sticking with the rule? Nothing. He just gets the satisfaction of being a dick. Ultimately I think that’s exactly it: he’s a dick. Baseball’s equivalent to an internet troll.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        I wonder if maybe we are all assuming too much about the intelligence of Gibson. Maybe he didn’t get that he could have an “American League game”, as he would put it, and still bat McCarthy LOL. Sometimes, these guys get so one-minded that they don’t see how simple a solution that benefits everybody is.

        Either that, or like you said, he’s a dick.

      • jeffbbf - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        why not have Choo hit 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in the linuep and take him out after his at bat to get some live reps somewhere else? the whole “it’s only spring training” argument has to work both ways. Gibson seemed to do the right thing in letting everyone know up front and in advance what the rules would be. Just because Baker can’t take no for an answer doesn’t mean Gibson is at fault.

    • darthicarus - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      He has to set an example for his team! Don’t back down, damn the “rules”, always be gritty, damn the man, don’t sign autographs for kids (ok I added that last one because I’m still mad at him for not signing for me back in ’85 but whatever)

      • darthicarus - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        actually that should have said “they’re the damn rules”

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        +1 grit reference. Who thumbs downed this post? Boo. I’m only sorry I can’t figure out how to repeatedly thumbs up this post.

      • vox vetus - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Gibson is turning into a root against very quickly.

    • jl9830 - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      Honestly, I can’t blame him for wanting his team to play the way they’re going to play all season. Gibson is perfectly within his rights to say, sorry, we’d like to play an NL game and get our pitchers at-bats, practice late game strategy, etc. For whatever reason, Gibson has the right to play the NL game.

      • bradmoss1 - Mar 5, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        Two weeks into the season (4-16 through 4-18) the Diamondbacks visit the Yankees.

  2. fanofevilempire - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    No fan of Gibson, but if that is the way it happened, by the rules what can you do, his call.
    Dusty and Gibson are very fiery guys.

  3. Cris E - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    How is it that there’s no Unwritten Rule about something as practical as this? I mean, “If you can’t agree on a rule exception then use home field rules” seems really normal. Who could get in a fight over this sort of thing?

    • BigGreen89 - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      The home team does decide — click the link at the top of the article (to yesterday’s piece).

  4. ryanrockzzz - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Gibson has a point though. If the Reds are the visiting team and Baker makes that request, why does his hold more weight then Gibson’s? Spring training games are strange yes, but the fact is if I were a manager I wouldn’t want some other manager rolling into my field telling me what type of rules we’ll be playign by.

    Just like he said, he goes to play the Reds on their turf, then Dusty can DH all he wants.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      With you 100% Ryan. But of course…this line of thinking makes it impossible to rail on Kirk Gibson. But I agree with you nonetheless.

      • ryanrockzzz - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        Don’t worry, we are only in March LOL.

  5. cur68 - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    More and more, it seems to me that Kirk Gibson has a problem with being rigid. This is fine if what you’re rigid about is meaningful. Clinging to a meaningless rule in ST at the expense of providing a service to the greater picture (plenty of media would have wanted to see Choo come to bat: he’s from South Korea and is an icon at home) doesn’t do anything for anyone, including the D-Backs.

    If he’d just had McCarthy come to bat as the DH, Gibson would have had his meaningless pitcher at bat and, since practicing pitching against an opposing pitcher is about as useful as pitching against my mom (she’s not the power threat she used to be), he’s got no net loss here. In fact he gets a better work out for his team if he has them face Choo. Everyone wins in this scenario, including all that media that trails Choo around.

    Given the shopping off of Upton and Bauer, guys who didn’t fit Gibson’s view of baseball and to hell with their production and upside, this is pretty stupid behaviour. I’d expect this sort of thing from a private-school principal from the 1800’s.

    Gonna be a long season there in Arizona.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Amen to everything except the long season in AZ. That NL West has a way of staying close doesn’t it seem that way?

      • cur68 - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        Yep, the NL West is competitive but I’m predicting a D-Backs meltdown. By August we’ll be seeing “Gibson has lost the clubhouse” stories (if I’m wrong I’m betting no one will remember I said this, 8) ).

        One issue though: you seem to be agreeing that my mom isn’t the power threat she used to be. I’ll have you know that mom’s started some new vitamin drops and an anti-inflammitory cream. Yeah, she’s on the Clear and the Cream, man. So watch out for mom in 2013! I’m predicting new highs in homers, intentional walks, and hugging grandchildren.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        As long as she keeps taking the Adderall, she will be able to stay awake and sharp during the late innings. Hopefully the Phillies look to add her power at the deadline…provided she hits from the right side? Last thing the Phillies need is another left-handed hitter.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        Tell her to grind up the Adderall and snort it if there are extra innings.

        Sorry, you know, or don’t tell her that. She’s your mother after all.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        Just make sure she has her prescription slip handy, you don’t want to be suspended 25 games.

      • Sign Ahead - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        It’s already been a long season here in Arizona, but at least we can proudly say that Kirk Gibson won a conversation with Dusty Baker.

      • cur68 - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        Mom’s a righty and she’s pretty fond of lefties. I know, ’cause my 3 year old nephew is a lefty and she can’t seem to see enough of that guy.

        Phillies, eh? Well, why not. I’m certain she’d get along great with Cholly. Between her West Indian accent and whatever the hell it is Cholly uses for a dialect, they’ll have a great time misunderstanding each other. I bet the Phanatic would love her, too. And don’t worry about that prescription for adderall. She takes it as “flax seed” in her porridge with blueberries and she has prescriptions for EVERYTHING, wether she’s taking it or not.

    • Francisco (FC) - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      More and more, it seems to me that Kirk Gibson has a problem with being rigid.

      Well, you know, when a man reaches a certain age….

      • stex52 - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        Careful, FC. Too many of us may resemble that remark.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        hahahaha. When a man reaches a certain age ….

        …. he figures out that the horses he’s pulling with his truck can be used to pull the truck out of a mudhole
        …. if he’s Clive Davis he decides chicks aren’t really his thing, and one more book would be a great way to slander Kelly Clarkson one last time
        …. he turns into Smiling Bob of enzyte fame

    • stex52 - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Gibson had the right. But since there was an equitable solution it seems to me that this falls under the heading of professional courtesy. By not making that small allowance of having McCarthy as his DH, he comes off as something of a jerk.

    • nsauser - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Gibby is just gritty. Sometimes that rubs people the wrong way. I do think in this instance he was correct.

    • paperlions - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      If Gibson was really concerned about getting McCarthy ABs, then why not bat him leadoff? That way he could have come to the plate twice instead of only once….unless, of course, it had nothing to do with McCarthy getting to see 1 pitch in his 1 AB.

  6. Jackson - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    I think Gibson should have been nice and allowed the DH but on the flip side, the home team gets to choose whether or not you use the DH and if Dusty refused to shake his hand because of that then its just Bush League.

  7. chacochicken - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I was really worried that McCarthy wasn’t going to get that one at bat yesterday. That AB should really help his hitting this season.

  8. unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Just attempting to provide some context on the character and grittiness of Kirk Gibson, here is a little nugget from USA TODAY, June 15, 2012. Something to bear in mind as you ask yourself “Self, is Kirk Gibson just a complete asshole?”

    “Kirk Gibson appeared to have a choice to make Thursday – manage the Arizona Diamondbacks’ game against the Texas Rangers, or attend his son Cameron’s high school graduation.

    Apparently, the choice wasn’t that hard at all.

    “You’re supposed to graduate,” Gibson said, according to The Associated Press. “His mom and the rest of his family will be there. He’s coming to see me next week.”

    Well, OK.”

    • historiophiliac - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Old school. Well, maybe his son hit him with a pitch when he got home.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        He definitely drilled dad with a tailing fastball to the ribs – nothing wrong with that, it was a gritty performance. He’s supposed to do that.

  9. ch0psuey - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Spring Training Drama, Like it.

  10. shaggylocks - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Of course they didn’t shake hands: look, in our helpful little reenactment photo he’s extending his left hand!

    • ch0psuey - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Hand on the right looks strangely feminine, now is it Gibbie or Dusty, hrmm..

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Lord have mercy. Has there ever been more controversy over a non-handshake?

    Honestly, I am with Gibson on this. He wanted McCarthy to get the NL experience, which includes batting and managing an opposing lineup with a pitcher in it. If this is a big deal to Dusty, he should have sent Choo to minor league camp to get some AB’s. It is not McCarthy’s job the throw BP to Dusty’s injured player, and not Gibson’s job to accommodate Dusty. Gibson is giving his player what he needs to prepare for the season. That is Gibson’s job. He couldn’t know that McCarthy would only get one AB.

    • cur68 - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      Dude, serious question: what strategy is in “batting and managing an opposing lineup with a pitcher in it”? D-Backs need experience facing a single A hitter? Really? Maybe Gibson needs experience managing AROUND a single A hitter? How is Gibson having his D facing a hitter of pitcher-quality doing ANYTHING for the D-Backs?

      • bh192012 - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

        He could be trying to build McCarthy’s confidence. He’s less likely to be drilled by a hard line drive from a pitcher than a CF. He’s also less likey to be shelled by earned runs. McCarthy could experiment more with his pitches against a poor batter than a player like Shin-Soo Choo.

        Also, it’s the rule, he followed the rule, what’s to complain about? Gibson offered his hand, Dusty responded by being a prick. It’s like if I came to your house to play poker, but I wanted 3’s and 5s to be wild, then I get all bent out of shape because you don’t want to play that way.

      • cur68 - Mar 5, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        Once again, really? Like there isn’t enough Minor League hitters in a spring training game for McCarthy to practice on? Also, ANYONE can hit a hard liner up the middle, even Nick Punto, so building confidence isn’t an argument. Those are the pretty weak reasons to stick with the rule especially when you have far more to gain by not. The ONLY reason to stick with the rule is because Gibson wanted to. He wanted to even in the face of logic for not doing so. That’s some pretty small minded and rigid thinking right there.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        Just getting the pitcher used to the idea. Used to the idea that the #8 hitter is walkable if the #9 hitter is a pitcher and adjusting his pitch-selection accordingly. Used to the idea that a bunt is coming if the pitcher is up w/MOB and <2out. Or even just building confidence a little by pitching to another pitcher instead of Choo.

        By all accounts, Gibson was well within his rights as the home team. Baker asked for something extra, but Gibson should be then be obliged to provide it. It is not Gibson's job to nurse Choo along when Baker had other alternatives to do that if it was important.

  12. aceshigh11 - Mar 5, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Kirk Gibson = Walter Sobchak:

    “Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules? Mark it zero!”

    • kicksave1980 - Mar 5, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      “No, Walter, you’re not wrong, you’re just an a**h*le!”

  13. redbirdfan81 - Mar 5, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Grow up Dusty, you little whiner! You’re why the Reds and Cubs and Giants never won anything with you at the helm.

  14. imthedudedude - Mar 5, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Has the whole world gone crazy?! Am I the only one who gives a S*it about the rules! This isn’t Nam, dusty, there are rules.

  15. boltbacker - Mar 5, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Gibson has every right to decide if there will be a DH in his own ballpark. Where does Baker get off trying to bully Gibson into doing things his way? Pitchers need to practice hitting too.

  16. kicksave1980 - Mar 5, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Both of these guys are first class d-bags. This isn’t new.

    Gibson has the right to do what he did, but he’s still a pr*ck.

  17. grumpyoleman - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Gibby has a higher WAR

  18. vincentbojackson - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    I’m a Reds fan, but gotta side with Gibson on this one. It was his call and he chose what was best for his team. He wanted to get his pitcher some at bats. Dusty must have been having a bad day to make such a big deal out of it.

    It’s disgusting that two grown men can’t even shake hands before a damn exhibition game. Grow the hell up fellas!

  19. grumpyoleman - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Wouldn’t those situations effect everyone’s WAR

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