Confidence is not lacking for the Arizona Diamondbacks who won all of 65 games last season. This, of course, is a radically different team that will focus on winning through defense and pitching and being an old fashion, hard-nosed team. And along they way, they really don't care if opponents think they are annoying.
As a team, they want to embody that "sandpaper guy" that everyone loves to play with and no one wants to play against.
For whatever reason, Kirk Gibson has decided that a big key to that identity is picking off runners. He's talked repeatedly over the past week or so of camp about the steps the team is is taking to get better at this fairly obscure skill and why he thinks it's important. He brought it up again today.
"I've got a rotation of picks, sequences everyday. Pitchers do it, if they don't throw they do it. Every other day they've been doing it (pickoff plays). They're going continue to do it. We're doing early tomorrow on that. We'll be integrating the timing of the second baseman into that."
It should be noted all that detail about pickoff play work (which has been discussed several times previously) meandered in after a question about the double-play duo Kelly Johnson and Steven Drew. It's big-time on Gibby's mind.
"If you're going to be careless out there, we're going to pick your ass. We're going to get 'ya, and we're going to stick our chest out after we do it, too. Damn right we are."
The tactical intent that Gibby went on to explain was about slowing down the base runners by having a variety of moves to give the catchers and infielders more chances to make plays. The cultural intent was expressed both with the "pick your ass...stick out our chest" comment and more cerebral with this statement.
"Basically, you can't be predictable...You want to look the same but then pick off looking the same...You've got first and third situations, squeeze situations, we got something for 'em. It's not just going to be, 'oh, maybe we'll pitch out, maybe we won't.'"
So we can officially add "pick your ass" to the new Diamondbacks Way. It will go right up there with this gem from Gibby, "ignoring the past you don't bring it into the present and it becomes your future."