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Pirates Interview John Gibbons

48-year-old John Gibbons became the third person to officially interview for the vacant Pirates managerial position on Monday, joining former Indians manager/Neal Huntington co-worker Eric Wedge and former Arizona Diamondbacks third-base coach Bo Porter.

Gibbons, who played only 18 games in the bigs, was hired by his minor-league roommate, JP Ricciardi, as a bullpen catcher by Toronto in 2002. After working as the Jays' first-base coach, Gibbons took over for ousted manager Cito Gaston in 2004, going 20-30 in the last 50 games. He held the post until 2008, with an exact .500 record of 305-305 in 610 games.

Since his firing, Gibbons has spent his days as the bench coach of the Kansas City Royals.

Gibbons would certainly bring a different attitude to the Pirates' clubhouse. This is a man with his own "controversies" section on his Wikipedia page:
-On May 28, 2005, Gibbons chastised former Toronto starter Dave Bush in the dugout after the right-hander showed his displeasure on the mound about being removed from a game. The next day Bush was sent to the minor leagues. After the season, Bush was traded to the Brewers, where the former 2nd round draft pick doubled the number of wins he had achieved in either season as a Blue Jay.

-Gibbons was again involved in controversy in July 2006, after his feud with Shea Hillenbrand came to a head. After the former Blue Jays infielder and designated hitter wrote negative comments about the team on a display board in the Blue Jays clubhouse, Gibbons confronted him in a closed team meeting and allegedly challenged him to a fight. Hillenbrand, who has a history of clashing with officials from several teams, was upset about his lack of playing time and that no one in the Blue Jays front office had made an attempt to congratulate him on recently adopting a child. Three days later the Blue Jays traded Hillenbrand, who was hitting .301 at the time, to the Giants.

-Gibbons was involved in more controversy on August 21, 2006, when he got into a confrontation with another of his players -- Blue Jays pitcher Ted Lilly -- after Gibbons walked to the mound to remove Lilly in the third inning of Toronto's game against Oakland. Visibly frustrated at his own performance (having given up 7 runs in that inning to erase an 8–0 lead), Lilly initially refused to surrender the ball to Gibbons. He ultimately left the mound and headed for the clubhouse.When Gibbons returned to the dugout, he followed Lilly into the clubhouse tunnel where, according to eyewitnesses, Gibbons confronted the pitcher about his insubordination. The two exchanged shoves, and a number of players and Blue Jays staff rushed in from the dugout to break it up. Following the confrontation, both men considered the matter resolved, and there were no apparent tensions thereafter.
-The most recent controversy occurred with Frank Thomas. At the beginning of the 2008 season, Gibbons benched Thomas, who had a batting average of .167 after the first 20 games of the season. Thomas, typically a slow starter, was livid over his lack of playing time. He claimed that the Blue Jays were giving him less playing time to prevent him from getting 364 at-bats in the season, which was the required amount for his $10 million 2009 option to become guaranteed. The Blue Jays responded the next day on April 20, 2008 by releasing Thomas. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi met with Thomas and they agreed that the best thing for the team and for Thomas would be to let him go
Controversies aside, Gibbons did have some minor success in a very tough AL East while employed by the Blue Jays. He finished with 80 or more wins in all three full seasons at the helm, including a second-place finish in 2006 behind monster seasons from Troy Glaus and Vernon Wells and 16 wins from Roy Halladay.

The Pirates are also expected to interview former Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel for their vacant post. Former Pirate Andy Van Slyke has also expressed interest, as has Phil Garner. Jose Oquendo is also expected to be interviewed, according to John Perrotto. However, Wedge is still believed to be the front-runner.

Pirates interview third managerial candidate [PG]

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


jmarinara said...

Yeah, I don't want this guy as the manager. If he were a player, we'd call him a clubhouse cancer.

Not to mention, he doesn't fit the style that this management team is looking for.

Neither does Andy Van Slyke, who would be my personal choice. The guy knows baseball and wants to win. And don't you think he wants to break a streak he was a part of in the beginning and finally get this team to a championship? I think he would be VERY motivated.

But, it won't happen. . . and neither will this Gibbons character.

Prepare yourself for the Eric Wedge experience.

Dom Errico said...

To finish at or near .500 in the free spending AL East with Boston and New York is saying a lot.

Maybe Dave Bush doubled his win total because he didn't have to face the Yankees and Red Sox anymore?

The Ted Lilly incident....Any manager has a right to be upset when their "subordinate" refuses to take an order such as "Give me the ball cause you're done for the day."

I also remember Hillenbrand was being a whiny bitch about the whole situation and had no right to make comments on the display board.

Is he the best pick for manager? Maybe not, but maybe...just maybe....his fiery attitude is what is severely lacking in this organization.

Nate said...

On the one hand, I kind of agree with Dominic that Gibbons had a right to be mad for all of his controversies. On the other hand, when he's had so many of them, it seems to me that it's pretty clear that his players didn't respect him all too much.

On the whole, I'd be pretty upset if they went with Gibbons. I also don't feel like "firey managers" win more games. Am I the only one that remembers Lloyd McClendon's tenure as Bucs skipper?

Dom Errico said...

Lou Piniella has had some decent successs as a manager and he's definitely fiery. Ozzie Guillen won a World Series as a hothead.

You still need talent to manage. So until the Pirates address that part of the equation, it may not matter who they get to manage the team.

BURGH08 said...

He won't take any crap and he will cost more than Russell. No hire.

That said, you can hold a raffle and win more than 50 games next year.

Nate said...

"You still need talent to manage."


HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

"You still need talent to manage"

That's what we call, hitting the nail on the head!

Unless this new skipper can pitch 200 innings with a sub 3.00 ERA, it really doesn't matter who he is. All that matters (to me) is that he plays young players with potential instead of the Bobby Crosbys, Ryan Churchs, Eric Hinkses, Doug Mientkiewiczs, Jeremy Burnitzs and Joe Randas of the world.

Daquido_Bazzini said...

From the looks of the interview list....They might as well just bring Russell back.
Jeff Bannister? Bo Porter?
More money-saving moves by the worst front office in the history of sports.

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