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Just fire Kirk Gibson already!

Aug 3, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

Bryan Price, Kirk Gibson Bryan Price, Kirk Gibson

The Diamondbacks are a punchline.

GM Kevin Towers wants his eye-for-an-eye, and he has his like-minded henchman in the dugout in Kirk Gibson. Both wish for the Diamondbacks to be the league’s most intimidating team, a group of gritty, do-anything-it-takes-to-win outlaws. When it comes to the roster, talent has taken a backseat to simply fitting the mold.

But it hasn’t worked. Not at all. After consecutive .500 seasons, the Diamondbacks are 48-63 this year. The future seems even more bleak. They’re not a young club now, and they’ve traded a number of prospects for veterans the last two years.

On Saturday, the Diamondbacks flat-out embarrassed themselves. Because of their mentality, it was a given that they’d seek revenge after Paul Goldschmidt suffered a broken finger when he was hit by a pitch during Friday’s game. There was nothing intentional about that pitch, something Goldschmidt himself acknowledged. But the Diamondbacks were going to drill Andrew McCutchen last night regardless.

No, what was pathetic about the whole incident was that the Diamondbacks did nothing the first three times McCutchen was up. They waited until they were down 5-1 in the ninth, then they had Randall Delgado throw a 95-mph fastball at the small of McCutchen’s back. A little higher, and a team with no postseason aspirations might have had a huge effect on a team aiming to play in October.

It was a true act of cowardice from baseball’s most ludicrous tough guys.

MLB will suspend Delgado for the incident, but what it really needs to do is go after the director. Delgado was following orders. Gibson orchestrated things. An uncommonly long suspension would serve him right.

But the Diamondbacks… they need to clean house and move on. New team president Tony La Russa should get rid of both Gibson and Towers, not because of Saturday’s incident, but simply because it’s long overdue.

142 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. insidefastball - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    I don’t know why there is always outrage whenever an irrelevant team like the DBacks does something like this, yet the St. Louis Cardinals (easily the dirtiest team in baseball for years now) always seem to get a free pass with their efforts to injure opponents. Tony LaRussa established a culture of dirty, cheap, bush league play that remains well entrenched in St. Louis. LaRussa supported everything from steroids, to dirty slides, to beanballs in order to give his teams the upper hand. Yet, the Cardinals have America buying this myth that they are the “All-American” team that plays the “right way.” Now he is in charge of the Backs, so I doubt these ridiculous incidents will have any impact over his decision to retain Gibson. He is accustomed to this type of garbage.

    • scoochpooch - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      Not disagreeing just having trouble thinking of examples of bad behavior by Cardinals. Can you give us a few?

      • joshworrell - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        Their relationship with Hanley Ramirez’ rib cage comes to mind.

      • fifthstarter - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        Giants fans remember Matt Holliday trying to maim Marco Scutaro in the 2012 NLCS. (Which obviously didn’t work, since Scutaro went on to hit .500 and was the series MVP.) But I don’t think anyone blamed the Cardinals so much as Holliday on his own.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      Other than Big Mac PEDing, I disagree totally with everything you say, and I am a Cards fan who’s called out La Russa on PEDs and possibly promoting a culture of alcohol on the team.

      • CyclePower - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM

        Just read George Will’s Men at Work. He interviews La Russa circa 1989 when he was the manager of the As. Tony lays out his philosophy of responding to a player being hit by a pitch by having his pitcher hit an opposing player of the same relative importance to the team. When seen this way, it is a rational and measured response and a way of self-policing.

    • dtcha - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      2 weeks ago PIRATES RETALIATION PITCH
      PIT vs LAD 23rd July 2014
      Justin Wilson (PIT) threw a 97mph Retaliation Pitch at Justin Turner (LAD) that hit him in the elbow.
      Retaliation for Jamey Wright hitting Andrew McCutchen in the 6th Inning.

      Justin Wilson ejected and Clint Hurdle argued for his pitcher and got ejected.

      “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”

    • theheemel - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Kevin Towers is a chickenhawk. He talks like a punkass gangster tough guy, when, he, himself, is a soft fat slob.

    • materialman80 - Sep 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Sounds like a Cubs fan…..

  2. dkgambler1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Football training camps are open. Please stop wasting precious internet space on baseball. Thank you.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Run along and don’t come back. Someone clearly threw long to you and you got a little lost. Follow the trail of flags to find your way back. For future reference, when the white rectangles end, you’ve gone too far.

    • realgone2 - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Don’t feed the trolls

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Said someone who played without a helmet way too long.

  3. mikdavfle - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    The entire baseball operations department needs to be blown up and rebuilt from scratch. Towers is beyond inept. The minor league prospects we used to have were all sent away for overrated veterans who are worthless. Towers prides himself on good bullpens and yet, we’ve had one of the worst pens in baseball the last couple of years. And the pitchers we send away end up doing better in their new homes (see Bauer and McCarthy as examples). Gibson is the visible face of this pathetic baseball team, but let’s not forget who built this team. Kevin Towers needs to go just as much as Gibson does, if not more so.

    • alongthegulf - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:07 PM

      I agree. It’s not the players, it’s the entire organization!
      D-Back fans need a do over starting at the top.

    • snapfingerarmy - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      For all the so called diamondback haters and naysayers, MLB teams have been going after DBAX players for the last couple years and as a fan I’m tired of it. We have lost hundreds of games to teams with pitchers who do not have any idea on how to throw inside. The DBAX have lost Pollock, Hill, Gregorious and now Goldschmidt to egregious inside heat. Gregorious received a concussion and by the way Miguel Montero was also hit played last season with badly injured finger.

      It’s frankly not fair to fans or to the players having to be called up too soon from Reno. Hypothetically the DBAX would be one of the better hitting teams in baseball had their hitters in the line up rather than sitting on the bench with a cast for their elbow or their hand. Teams with rag arm pitchers suffer no loss at all which is where the league needs to make viable change. As an example If a pitcher knocks a player/hitter out of the line up for three months then that team loses that pitcher until the batter who was placed on I/R returns. Thus if you want to pitch inside and high you had better keep it between the numbers. Don’t blame Gibby or DBAX management for defending the players!!!

      Ruffcut

    • theheemel - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Towers is a buffoon. A fat slob with a big mouth and a pee brain.

  4. irishmanknowsall - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    86 comments, three of which are viewable. Thanks, for nothing.

    • chiadam - Aug 3, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      Click on page 1, Dr, Internet.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM

        Dr. Internet!

  5. mlbfan8898 - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Boo hoo….shut the hell up. I bet if it was any other team, this wouldn’t be a big deal.

    • captainloaded - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      umm….what are you implying?

  6. Chris La Mantia - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Gibson was my childhood hero but I have lost all respect for him after this. Delgado should be suspended for the rest of this season and all of next, and Gibson banned from baseball. Throwing at a player’s spine is inexcusable. Time to crack down and ban the “unwritten rules”.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      I agree with you in principle — Gibson and Delgado need to be punished by the league — but your proposed penalties may be a skosh too lenient. I was thinking perhaps they should face a firing squad without so much as a last meal.

      • captainloaded - Aug 3, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        awesome

      • Chris La Mantia - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:38 AM

        Well, that’s REALLY harsh. How about just no ice cream before the firing squad?

      • Chris La Mantia - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:42 AM

        In all seriousness, though, any suspension they get should be served next season. Part of the reason they feel like they can do this garbage is that their season is already over… so make them pay for it when it counts, not now when they couldn’t care less.

  7. senorsharkfin - Aug 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Speaking of henchmen, you’ve just proven yourself to be one for the all mighty Craig Calcaterra. Kudos, you’ve made him proud… all the way from the well thought out headline to the use of the term ‘gritty’ in the first paragraph, screw waiting until the ‘9th paragraph’ I’m going to do it the right way and retaliate in the 1st!!! Lets forget to remember that the Pirates lead the Majors in HBP with 61 while the next closest team has 49 and the Grit-Backs only have a measly 32. Let me guess… “Well none of those 61 were intentional”…. exactly. If you’re going to pitch inside, you must have control.. if you don’t and you hit batters 61 times let it be assured that your All-Stars are going to get plunked ‘intentionally’ and there’s no reason to whine about it as it just makes you look like a little Craig Calcaterra..

    • CyclePower - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

      There’s occasionally plunking a batter to retaliate against overly aggressive inside pitching, but what happened to Goldschmidt wasn’t intentional, nor even the result of aggressive inside pitching. It just happened. You aren’t sending a message to the opposing team to de-escalate the aggressive inside pitching by doing that to McCutcheon, you only come across as a douche and you’re only increasing the likelihood that the Pirates are going to go after your players intentionally next time. It’s based on ego and bravado and is just stupid.

      • senorsharkfin - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:08 AM

        I will agree with you that it probably wasn’t intentional when they hit Goldschmidt… but when you have no control (in the 9th of game that is over) pitching inside and break someones hand… that is stupid baseball, is it unintentional.. yes… but it’s stupid and when you are stupid 61 times it’s obvious you haven’t learned.

        Sixty-One HBP’s in 111 games, really?… don’t come writing articles and commenting about how the world is out to get you… and the Diamondbacks are a bunch of scumbags… Stop, turn around and go talk with your Pitchers….. when they learn how to pitch inside all of your problems will go away… I promise you… plain and simple…

  8. Kellie Schorr - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Gibson is nothing but a bully encouraging players to act like thugs. Delgado needs to be sat down and retrained to think like an athlete not a henchman. Gibson just needs to go.

  9. senorsharkfin - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    I can already see the next article being penned… “Just fire Gibson already, Part 2″… main talking point, “only henchmen train their players to slide in hard and break up double-plays”… Great job splitting a series with the Grit-Backs, that will surely win the Central.

  10. dean112263 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Gibson pulled this old school crap when he had Braun beaned in game earlier this year. All his guys were yukking it up in the dugout. I understand their disgust with Braun, but that eye for an eye stuff ended up burning the Dbacks because Lucroy slugged an HR. That shut them up. Plunking McCutcheon was flat out idiotic. 40 game suspension for Gibson minimum. Delgado 20 games. But then again, the players association may whine about that. Start making it clear all this unwritten rule crap is over.

  11. derklempner - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    If you’re going to call out people for embarrassing themselves in their work, why not fire Calcaterra as well since he decided to alienate every Cubs fan with his “report” on a Cubs fan’s mohawk?

    Gibson deserves to be fired, but not because he’s “embarrassing” himself. It’s because he’s a lousy manager.

    • tmc602014 - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      Well, I halfway agree. Gibson and Towers have annihilated the organization. But if ownership were to fire them for incompetence, it would have happened already. The half I disagree with is Gibby should be fired, not for embarrassing himself, but for being an embarrassment to baseball. He’s an ex football star and brings that “hit ‘em harder” mentality to the diamond. It may have worked for him as a player but it’s not the way to set up a team.

  12. shockertalk - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    I know it is natural to twist into the ball, but McCutcheon (as all players are) was standing sideways to the pitcher. He should have stayed that way and moved forward and if it had to hit him it would be in the side.

    Don Baylor was the best at this. He just leaned in to the pitch with that huge upper arm taking the blow. The ball would hit, and drop straight down while Baylor didn’t even wince. Beautiful. hahaha

    • tmc602014 - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Baylor was a master, and I think he got hit himself more than all but a few players.

  13. HFS Richard - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Look I just have to ask.
    We say we’re against retaliation and beaning…..
    Why are we so up in arms about Kirk Gibson and the D-backs? Stat for you here are two teams guess which is which:
    61 Batters hit: Team A
    32 Batters hit: Team B
    Team A is the Pittsburgh pirates!
    Team B is the Arizona Diamondbacks!
    I’m not going to condone intentionally hitting a guy with an 95 mph fastball, but to pretend like the pirates don’t intentionally hit guys, and or retaliate is a joke.
    Ask any fan in the central division they are basically in a bean war with Chicago, StL, Milwaukee and Cincinnati hitting them a combined 28 times vs being hit by then 25. (Average team is 37 total).
    Everytime they hit a guy its totally an accident and if they get hit back its “Retaliation” or “Uncalled for” or “Intentionally trying to hurt a guy”

    I’d honestly like to see MLB come up with some sort of harsher penalty against this type of thing, but to be honest if you want to look at a team to start with the D-backs aren’t even in your top 10 of problems.

    • senorsharkfin - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:49 AM

      Guess we 2 things in common…. Not a Pirates Fan and can do the math that not only do the Pirates lead the Earth in HBP’s… they’re on pace to average a HBP in 50% of their games this year…. can you image the crying we’d have to hear if their batters got hit that much??

  14. jrbdmb - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    I guess it’s going to take a serious injury or death for MLB to address this. Totally unnecessary.

  15. dchambers144 - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Through yesterday, Pirates have hit 61 and been hit 60. However, what the numbers don’t tell you is the circumstances of the HBP. Charlie Morton bouncing a curveball off a guys foot in the 4th inning is obviously different than McCutchen getting tattooed in the spine. I am a Pirates fan, but honestly I don’t really remember them throwing at a lot of guys. It usually seems that they get hit and the umps warn both teams and Pirates can’t retaliate (and risk long suspension). But, maybe I do have rose colored glasses. I would love to see a montage of all HBT’s involving the Pirates (or any team).

    • dchambers144 - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      HBP’s (sorry)

      • tmc602014 - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Yeah, cuz a montage of HBT’s is what we have along the top of the page…

  16. catswithbats - Aug 29, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    Even the desperate Tigers fans who were screaming to fire Leyland and hire Gibby over the last few years have stopped. It’s kind of like the animals that run away right before the big storm hits.

    Gibby is awful and I gave up on him as a manager when he basically got rid of Justin Upton for GRIT.

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