One of the most revered Detroit Tigers in recent memory, Kirk Gibson, will bring his Arizona Diamondbacks to Detroit this weekend for a 3-game series.
Gibson, a home-grown product out of Waterford, Michigan, will bring fellow Tiger great Alan Trammell (D-backs bench coach) along with him. One thing that attached Gibby to the hearts of Tigers fans as if with a quick swab of rubber cement was his “wear it on your sleeve” attitude.
Nothing has changed.
Speaking about his possibly emotional return to Detroit, Gibson left nothing to chance. He will be returning “home” to visit with an ailing relative and to witness firsthand the Tigers’ ceremony on Sunday afternoon to retire the fallen Sparky Anderson’s #11, Gibson’s former manager. But you know Gibby, that didn’t stop him from driving his newfound red & silver stake into the ground.
“I don’t know how much they’ll love me this weekend,” Gibson said. “I’m a Diamondback now…I don’t like the Tigers. I don’t like the Dodgers. I don’t like anybody. We’re going to try and kick their ass, that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
God Bless you Kirk Gibson!
In an era where opponents cross enemy lines for pregame conversations, post-game meals, and in-between game rounds of golf, Gibby goes old school. Your opponent is your enemy. Beat my team and your beating me, and I’ll hate you for it. Losing is not an option.
Remember back to when the Detroit Pistons’ Bad Boys were finally broken up as Rick Mahorn was shipped off to the 76ers. Not long after that, Mahorn tried reaching out to fellow terminator Bill Laimbeer, still with the Pistons. Laimbeer answered the phone and it went something like this:
Mahorn: Hey, Bill, it’s Rick, how it’s going?
Laimbeer: I don’t talk to the enemy.
–end of conversation—
Hakuna Matata be damned. Sport is war. If you’re in the opposing dugout you have a target on your back. That’s how it should be and Gibson, though a dying breed, is keeping the spirit alive.
Some sports cities might see a comment like his and be taken aback. How dare he? We deserve better? Doesn’t he remember that this is where he got his start?
Not Detroit. We love it. Bring the noise Gibby! You will be welcomed on Friday evening, along with Tram, with a raucous ovation as you should be, but then the managers will re-enter their dugouts and Tiger fans will be rooting for three straight 10-0 shutouts of your precious D’backs.
As you probably could have guessed, in his first year as skipper of the snakes, Gibby has turned the tables and led his club to a shocking first-place standing here on June 24th. Arizona (42-34), with a few solid starting pitchers, a sketchy bullpen, and some young but raw offensive talent, has bucked the trend, taken on the demeanor of their fierce leader, and taken charge of the fluid NL West.
Meanwhile, the Tigers (40-35) continue to frustrate their hometown fans. After dropping 2 of 3 at Colorado and ending with the same result at the Dodgers, Detroit remains a game back of the 1st place Indians in the AL Central. Perhaps more annoying than a simple bad road trip is that the Tigers haven’t claimed the division as their own yet and are allowing the rest of the pack (mainly the red-hot Twins) to get right back in the mix.
The Tigers are home now and will be for the next 10 games. Comerica Park has been kind to the Tigers (22-14 record) and should bear witness once again to a nice home stand.
But not if Kirk Gibson has anything to do with it.