Gibby to Emulate Sparky

Gibby to Emulate Sparky

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson played on Sparky Anderson's 1984 Detroit Tigers, a team that cruised to a World Series Championship. In Gibson's first full season as manager of the Diamondbacks, he plans to emulate some of Sparky's philosophies.

Kirk Gibson learned the game in Detroit the Sparky Anderson way, and he plans to make that the Diamondback Way in his first full season as manager. Gibson seemed to channel the late Anderson at the winter meetings.

There was the story of Sparky's slippers.

"He had team meetings," Gibson said.  "He put his slippers in the middle of the clubhouse and he'd walk around and talk about things that happened within the game, things that happened that shouldn't have happened." 

"At the end of the meeting, he'd turn around and point to his slippers and say those are Cinderella's slippers, make sure you try them on. 'If they fit, there is a white horse outside the clubhouse door and you're welcome to get on it.' And a day or so later, somebody would be gone."

And the one about Sparky's garden.

"He said he likes gardens," continued Gibson.  "He doesn't like weeds in his gardens. 'If I see a weed, I'll pluck it right out of there.' Virtually, what he taught us was that you're on his program, our program, or you're not. If you're not, you're not a part of the program."

"Again, the game has changed and it's not that easy. I understand you can't just say you're not in the program and we'll get rid of you. Yet I will address it. I will confront it. He (Anderson) is not with us anymore, but I made a statement that I will continue to spread Sparky's good words as long as I'm in the game."

The D-backs will have new regulars at first base, third base, and left field this season, plus have added a starting pitcher, a closer, and two setup men from the team that finished last in the NL West for the second straight season.

SNAKE BYTES

--SS Stephen Drew, 2B Kelly Johnson, C Miguel Montero, and LHP Joe Saunders are the four D-backs eligible for arbitration, and if franchise form holds, deals will be reached before the sides ever reach a hearing. Former general manager Josh Byrnes never went to arbitration with a player in his five seasons with the club, and new general manager Kevin Towers did so only twice in his 14 seasons in San Diego. Players can file for arbitration by January 15, and figures are exchanged January 18 if the sides do not reach agreement before then. Hearings are scheduled from Feruary 1-21.

--Kevin Towers planned a busy sports weekend. Towers and D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall attended the Arizona State-Stanford Pac-10 basketball game January 6 in Tempe before Towers left for Kansas City to watch the Chiefs play Baltimore in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Towers and Hall then were to attend the BCS title game between Oregon and Auburn on Monday in Glendale, Az.

--Audo Vicente will manage short-season Yakima in 2011 after managing Class A Visalia in 2010. Yakima hitting coach Jacob Cruz and pitching coach Doug Bochtler will be making their coaching debuts in the organization. Bochtler pitched for new general manager Kevin Towers in San Diego.

--Hector de la Cruz will manage rookie-level Missoula for the second consecutive season, who has spent the previous 10 years in the organization. Former major league Gil Heredia will serve as pitching coach, and former D-backs infielder Andy Green will make his coaching debut as hitting coach.

DIAMOND STAT: $11.45 -- Millions of dollars earned last season by the four Arizona Diamondbacks currently eligible for arbitration.

QUOTABLE: "Stuff like that is a thing of the past, trust me. If you want to go play toys, you're in the wrong spot." -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson on the toy guns and model planes that peppered the clubhouse last year.


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