John Gibbons once phoned into a Toronto Blue Jays post-game, call-in radio show, disguising his voice and pretending to be a fan.
He teased the host about a personnel decision that worked out swimmingly for the Blue Jays during their 7-1 victory over the New York Yankees. The host had questioned Gibbons’ decision before the game, so Gibby wanted to taunt him in the aftermath. It’s too bad Gibbons didn’t have more of those celebratory moments during his two stints as the Blue Jays’ manager. If he had won more often, maybe even advanced to a World Series, Gibbons might not be managing his final games with Toronto.
Gibbons is an old-school manager: laid-back and funny, with lots of good anecdotes. His ability to handle a pitching staff can be questioned, but no one doubted his ability to deal with the media. While many pro coaches barely acknowledge the reporters who cover their teams, Gibbons knew everybody’s name and their affiliation. It seems like an irrelevant detail, but if a manager knows the people on the fringes, think how well he must know the players on his team. And that’s important.