March 04, 2011
Back during December's winter meetings, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson let it be known that there would be a culture change in his team's clubhouse this season.
First point of order?
"You guys were in there last year when they had the toy guns," Gibson said. "I mean, that's bull. How could you even think about it? Stuff like that is a thing of the past, trust me. If you want to go play toys, you're in the wrong spot. I tell you, this is the basic criteria. If you can convince me that it would help make us a better team, I'll let you do it, OK. But if you want to fly your toy airplane, you can stay home an extra hour."
The D'Backs finished with the second-worst record in the National League last season at 65-97, so it shouldn't be a surprise that their manager — who had a low tolerance for tomfoolery in the prime of his playing career — would make some big changes upon arriving at this year's spring training.
So no cell phones in the clubhouse, either.
And, for that matter, no laptops, iPads, texting, or any of that other new-fangled stuff the kids like to do 30 minutes before the start of a game. Gibby wants his players in the batting cages, weight room, or talking to his coaches. The clubhouse is to be an all-baseball zone from here on out.
"You're talking to somebody in the clubhouse, your phone rings and you go to get it, I think it's rude, Number 1, OK?" Gibson said. "I just don't like it. I'm from an era where we had no phones to begin with. It just gets to be too much.
Gibson thinks too much has been made of his cracking down on players' comforts.
"I don't think I've been tough at all," he said of his rules. "I think I've been fair. We just kind of said there are certain things we want to abide by and do. It's not a big deal, it's just like business as usual."
By "we," Gibson means himself, coaches, managing general partner Ken Kendrick, president Derrick Hall and GM Kevin Towers, all of whom chimed in on the D'Backs' new rules.
Gibson may sound like a killjoy, but he's really no different from any other manager in baseball. He doesn't want any distractions for his team.
Especially ones that will shoot your eye out.