Kirk Gibson speaks first, gathers facts later (if at all)

Say this for the Diamondbacks: they simply don’t give up in their blatant attempts to stoke the fires of their so-called “rivalry” with the Dodgers — a rivalry that if it does actually exist benefits them far more at the box office than it does the Dodgers because, let’s face it, the Diamondbacks need all the help they can get at the box office.

The latest poke at the Dodgers came from Diamondbacks manager and long-ago Dodgers World Series hero Kirk Gibson, who in an interview with azcentral.com (that’s the web site for the Arizona Republic) earlier this week referred to the Dodgers as “the other team” in an apparent refusal to even say their name and ripped them for not sending anyone on this week’s goodwill trip to Sydney.

Only one small problem with that: the Dodgers DID send someone to Sydney. Catcher A.J. Ellis was there as part of what was essentially an advance publicity tour to promote the season-opening, two-game series between the two clubs next March, and Ellis could be seen in several promotional photos with Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin, along with a small group of team executives — apparently, the so-called Dodgers-Diamondbacks rivalry doesn’t extend to Ellis and Corbin, who appeared in the photos to be getting along swimmingly. So Gibson either doesn’t know what he is talking about or doesn’t care.

Gibson says in the same quote that the Diamondbacks are “committed to doing the right thing,” and asks rhetorically of the team that shall not be named, “Are they too (expletive) good (for the goodwill trip to Sydney)? Honestly?”

Look, we get it. The Diamondbacks need something, ANYTHING, to get their fan base fired up. As a Phoenix resident, I have always gotten a strong sense that they are the third-most popular Major League Baseball team in their own city, behind the Cubs and the Dodgers. They have trouble getting people to come to their home games. And so they look for things to drum up. The Diamondbacks need a straw man, and right now, the Dodgers are the most convenient one. If the Diamondbacks need to give their fans something to hate in order to gain their love, fine.

But Gibson — who from his playing days to now has never been shy about letting reporters know when he isn’t happy with something they ask or something they write — needs to learn to get his facts straight before he makes inflammatory statements like this. When this week’s goodwill trip to Sydney was going on, you didn’t have to look very hard to see publicity photos of Ellis and Corbin. They were all over both teams’ Twitter timelines.

Apparently, Gibson just didn’t look hard enough.

5 comments

  1. The fact that Gibson specifically brings up Goldschmidt being one of their representatives makes me think he’s referring to the idea of no superstar Dodgers making the trip. To me it’s a direct attempt to insult the star Dodgers players and the organization, plus it indirectly puts down Ellis as a player. I can’t imagine he’s that oblivious to think that no Dodgers representative even showed up. None of the things that have happened between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have really made me feel the rivalry is any bigger. The Puig/Greinke beanings were the only things that really bothered me and that’s more because of fear for their safety by going at their heads, not because of anything else.

  2. >> I have always gotten a strong sense that they are the third-most popular Major League Baseball team in their own city, behind the Cubs and the Dodgers.

    Nonsense. As disproved by the sentence which followed:

    >> They have trouble getting people to come to their home games.

    There are teams with diehard fan bases that far outpace the Dbacks with their popularity and loyalty in every way – and as much as I hate the Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, and Red Sox, I gotta give them credit in this regard. Attendance isn’t the only measure of fan loyalty, but it may be the most objective, accessible measure, and the Dbacks ranked 22nd in MLB in attendance, filling only 54 percent of the stadium. (Ref – http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance ). Maybe they can’t draw more fans because they are so rude to those dressed in the visiting team’s attire.

  3. “apparently, the so-called Dodgers-Diamondbacks rivalry doesn’t extend to Ellis and Corbin, who appeared in the photos to be getting along ‘swimmingly.’”

    I see what ya did there….

  4. I wish Gibson was the Dodger manager. Be fun to see him work with Puig.

  5. “Look at the guys who went down to Australia for us,” Gibson said “Why did they do it? It’s who we are. It’s who the Diamondbacks are. We’re committed to the game of baseball. We’re committed to the community. I’ll put our organization up against anybody’s in terms of doing the right thing.”

    Seriously Gibby?! As a Dodger fan, my pick to represent the Dodgers in another country would be AJ Ellis, hands down. He makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his teammates. He always gives 110% and works his tail off. He gives the best interviews. He’s the perfect ambassador. Not good enough for Gibson, apparently… But Gibson goes on to invite comparisons with the DBacks commitment to the community. OK – has anyone from AZ won a Cy Young and then traveled to Africa to reunite with a group of orphans they support in a house they personally built? To be fair, since Kershaw donated $1000 for every batter he struck out last season, maybe the Dbacks hitters feel they contributed a good amount toward that effort…

    Has anyone from the Diamond back organization celebrated being ROY runner-up by inviting little leaguers to practice at Chase Field and personally giving them a tour of the dugout, clubhouse and training facilities? (OK, maybe the Dbacks would be a little concerned about letting the kids go near the sacred pool…I get it) And who can blame Puig for wanting to stay in the US, a country he worked so hard to get into? He found his community work just blocks from Dodger stadium. Did he really have to prove his dedication to the “community” by flying thousands of miles to Australia to do an MLB sponsored marketing promotion? seriously Gibson?

    The saddest part is that Gibby ruined one of my most cherished Dodger memories. It will never be the same when I watch that 1988 WS home run. Thanks a lot, Gibson. Way to embarrass yourself.