Here you go, Kirk Gibson.
Outside your door you have a beat up, beaten down, underachieving and overrun ballclub, already fragile as a desert bloom when it awoke Tuesday morning.
Then your managing general partner went on a get-it-all-out radio jag that buried two of your better players, even if neither has been of much use to you lately. Now, we'd all like to believe that men the ilk of Stephen Drew and Justin Upton could handle a dose of public censure, but this was friendly fire, not particularly constructive and from, boss or not, a chubby guy with glasses.
So, messages along the lines of, "get your butt on the field" and "be more consistent" will be met with the most exaggerated eye rolls this side of an eighth-grade sex-ed class.
Whatever it was that possessed Ken Kendrick to go all Steinbrenner-y on his clubhouse, I certainly applaud his candidness. I recognize his authority to be tough on the fellas when appropriate. And, I guess, when nine games out in the NL West – and closer to the last-place San Diego Padres than the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers – appropriateness lies in the eye of the beheader.
So, Kendrick swung hard and nobody saw it coming and now Upton is unhappier ("unhappy" arrived when he'd been benched, as he was again Wednesday night) and Drew could probably work himself into something like unhappy given the chance, which may have been Kendrick's plan. The aftermath, however, is not his to clean up. It's Gibson's. Fortunately for everyone, Upton told the Arizona Republic on Wednesday, he had a text conversation with Kendrick that was beneficial for everyone.
"He said what he meant and what he felt from his heart," Upton told the paper. "He's always backed this team. We have to move on past that. We're not going to sit here and linger on things that happened yesterday."
The world is different today. Bobby Valentine nearly got run out of Boston after a few games for stating the obvious about Kevin Youkilis. Ozzie Guillen's act ran thin in Chicago for, among other reasons, rubbing up against the truth when it came to his players. Whether public honesty is warranted or not, holding up a mirror to your outfielder's flaws more often leads to a pouty outfielder, not a better one. The egos can be as delicate as they are large, even – maybe especially – in a game of nightly failure.
[More Tim Brown: Angels closer Ernesto Frieri chased a dream from Colombia to the majors]
Matt Kemp once endured what Upton is going through, his censure coming from the Dodgers general manager. And while Kemp eventually became one of the better players in the game, don't underestimate the fact that a couple coaches and a manager weren't around to see it.
Gibson, for his part, would no sooner criticize a player than he would shave twice a day. So, in the land of Team Harmony, it must have been something of a disappointment when someone in the organization would. On radio, Kendrick basically accused Drew of scheduling his rehab around free agency (there's a contract option for 2013) rather than to the benefit of the club. Drew shattered his ankle on a play at the plate last July 20 and has been in recovery/rehab since. It's one thing to wish Drew would heal faster. It's another to suggest malingering, and out in the open.
"I've known Ken for a while," Drew's agent, Scott Boras, said. "I think he knows better than that, to question the integrity of a player who has done for a franchise what Stephen has done. If he does have any question, he should just look at the tape of him sliding into home plate and breaking his leg. Of all people to question, it should not be Stephen Drew."
Upton, after 2011's breakout, is batting .243 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 212 plate appearances. On XTRA 910 AM, Kendrick called him "an enigma" and knocked Upton's consistency, this during a period in which Gibson is playing Gerardo Parra – not Upton – in right field anyway.
Upton was an All Star last year. He was fourth in the MVP vote. Kendrick gave him 181 at-bats before calling him out. The team's ERA and scoring both rank in the bottom half of the National League. There's more wrong here than Upton. Sure, Upton could do more, and that could have meant a few games in the standings (the Diamondbacks are 5-11 in one-run games; last season they were 28-16). But, it seems to me, Gibson had that handled.
[Big League Stew: D-Backs, Brewers to wear Italy-themed jerseys on July 1]
Now there's much more to handle. Gibson held a team meeting Wednesday and I'm guessing there would be no group hug. He'll almost certainly have to have a conversation with Upton and then Drew. Then he'll see if he can't pull 50 wins out of the final three months, like he did last year.
I'm not saying it can't be done. All I'm saying is, if something needed to be said, Gibson should have been the one saying it, where he wanted to say it. And Kendrick, right or wrong, didn't make any of it easier.
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Adrian Wojnarowski: Heat coach's phrase reveals team's weakness
• Sandusky juror profiles: All are Caucasian, most have ties to Penn State
• Michael Silver: Roman Harper, Jo-Lonn Dunbar earned cash incentives for hits during Saints playoff win
• Kevin Iole: Boxing trainer Freddie Roach credits Hall of Fame career to Manny Pacquiao