Kirk Gibson gave baseball fans one of the most everlasting moments in the game’s rich history. The image of him limping to the plate during game one of the 1988 World Series is one of those moments where fans remember exactly where they were when it happened. The swing, Dennis Eckersley’s incredulous look as the ball sailed over the fence, the limp, the fist pump, and Tommy Lasorda jumping out of the dugout are as clear today as they were 25 years ago. That moment was one that inspires great narratives about the will of a man to do something great even when he is hurt. We glorify those moments; we should glorify those moments. It was a moment that can never be taken from Kirk Gibson and one that is representative of the attitude he displayed throughout his 17 year career.
The downside of that moment was the over-glorification of Gibson’s attitude. Every announcer would say that a player had a “Kirk Gibson-like” attitude, meaning that the player showed his emotions, slammed bats, ran everything out, crashed into walls, had a dirty uniform, and looked downright suicidal if the team lost a game. Everything from late 1988 through perhaps 1990 was all about the Kirk Gibson attitude. Over the years, that attitude has been redubbed to phrases such as gamer, gutty, grinder, gritty, and the best of all–a baseball player.
In truth, it is easy to like those types of players. The guys who dive, who seem to run everything out, and who attack the water cooler with a bat after a strikeout make fans believe that the players care as much as the fans do. But, to expect that type of attitude from every player in Major League Baseball is unrealistic. People are different in how they show emotion and how they conduct themselves; baseball players are no different.
But, the Gibson-like attitude has made a comeback over the past three years as Gibson has seemingly transformed the Arizona Diamondbacks into that type of team. His General Manager seems to have bought in as well. With yesterday’s trade of Justin Upton, the Diamondbacks are now going to be, according to their GM, a team of grinders. GM Kevin Towers made the proclamation after trading away his 25 year old franchise player for a package of less talented, but, in his words, gritty players.
Category: FCP on OS