The Diamondbacks are again a disappointment. Someone's head had to roll. It turned out to be that of former Detroit Tigers catcher A.J. Hinch. Replacing him will be ... former Tigers outfielder Kirk Gibson.
As Joe Galea said, when's the last time one Tiger replaced another Tiger as manager? That can't happen too often. (Does a former Tigers minor league catcher count?)
Whenever the Diamondbacks and Tigers meet up, we get to hear about how badly Gibson wanted to be a big league manager. Some -- possibly many -- Tigers fans hope he will be the eventual successor to Jim Leyland, though I'd imagine Tom Brookens is pretty fierce competition for that position.
"Gibby" spoke with FS Detroit this June (complete with video):
"I've always wanted to get back to be a World Champ again," Gibson said. "Ultimately for me I could do that in a total leadership role. That would be the ultimate for me. I'm 53 years old, so I'm running out of time to do that, but I am determined and feel confident that before it's all said and done, I'll get there again."
He also gave credit to the managers he's had during his career:
"I think really the most influential people are Jim Leyland who was my minor league manager, then I had Sparky (Anderson)," Gibson said. "I have a lot of Sparky in me. Tommy, Tommy Lasorda. Even the guys I competed against like Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox. I talked to Bobby last week. These guys have been great about sitting down and I have a lot of questions about how to handle things, about how things have changed, what works and what doesn't work. They've been very supportive."
It won't be easy. As I write this I'm reading reports the Diamondbacks fired general manager Josh Byrnes for refusing to fire Hinch himself. His job is to do what his bosses say, of course. But the organization cost itself a bright, respected baseball mind in the process. (And the Tigers lost a guy they have made several deals with in the past couple of months.)
But as the Arizona Republic put it around that time, if anyone can turn the Diamondbacks around, it's a guy like Gibson. The former Michigan State football player seemed to the very definition of the phrase "ass kicker" and his photo (pictured) ought to be used to illustrate the word "intensity" in the dictionary.
So congratulations go out to Gibby for achieving his goal; and good luck to him. But not too much luck, OK?
In other news:
- Daniel Schlereth will join the Tigers today (BYB story in case you missed it).
- Marquette native Adam Hamari will be the home plate umpire at the minor league Futures Game on ESPN2 during the All-Star festivities. He'll also be on the field during the Home Run Derby. Yooper power! Adam's going to talk to BYB about things but here's my former newspaper's story to tide you over until then.
- Bus Leagues has Q&As with a couple of Tigers minor leaguers: catcher Shawn Roof and shortstop Cale Iorg.
- Lynn Henning writes that Ryan Perry now becomes key for Detroit.
- Oakland Press columnist Pat Caputo thinks the Tigers have a good chance at winning the AL Central.
- You may have read this one by now, buy Casey Fien's cab driver had a problem finding Target Field, just the latest turn in a year of twists for the reliever.
- John Lowe writes that the Twins were impressed by lefty starter Andy Oliver.
- ... and that Brennan Boesch is close to joining the official leaders in the statistics.
- Tiger killer Luke Scott hit the DL and will miss next week's series against Detroit. (Whew!)
- Billfer wrote about how the Tigers measure in different defensive measurements.
- Finally this morning, USA Today's Bob Nightengale says Miguel Cabrera is a man on a mission.
- Update: Here's the complete story. (h/t Gary Hagen)