I was looking forward to Kirk Gibson's post game press conference. After seeing his team, on his second day in command, boot the ball all over the grounds and set a new team record for errors in a game (by the 5th inning) there was a fairly good chance we might see a full on explosion of anger. It certainly would have been understandable and perhaps even a smart move to send a message to his team that he was not going to put up with that kind of play.
Before the game Joe Torre called Gibson "one of those dirty players." Adding, "But when I say that, I mean it in a complimentary way. One word that gets your attention is grinder, the grind mentality that he has. That's the type of player he was."
Instead, Gibson came into the media interview room calm and sat down and answered his questions without much display of emotion. I've seen coaches after bad losses before - Gibson didn't look like one of those which I'm sure speaks to both his maturity and experience but also to his desire not to alienate his players so early in his tenure.
"We don't expect to play that way. We had played pretty solid. It was one of those games and we've got to get our guys to bounce back. Tony (Abreu) had a night to forget. I told him, I've had worse games than that so it's not the end, you're a good ball-player and we're going to shake this off, we're going to come back and we've got to perform tomorrow."
Faced with these situations, a manager can try and shame and berate his player into improving or he can support and lift his player's spirits and confidence. Gibson, at least publicly, did the later.
Gibson was asked about his emotions in a game like this, "There's really not an emotion to it. It's what it is, it's part of the game and we were on the wrong end of the stick tonight so it's something we've got to deal with and if you have character you do that."
Gibson mentioned that Dontrelle Willis is dealing with a problem with his finger nail. He again had command issues in his first appearance out of the pen. Willis gave up three hits and three runs in his one inning of work.
Starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez (6 hits, 2 earned runs, 3.2 innings) talked about the defense behind him which lead to 7 unearned runs while he was on the mound. I don't care how good you're pitching, no one can give their best on the mound with that kind slop going on behind him.
"I don't know. I don't have words to describe it," Lopez said in front of his locker after the game. "I've never pitched with so many errors behind. They weren't trying to make errors but there was just unfortunately get a ground ball, routine, and not able to make the outs. It's hard to explain because I've never seen something like that. Definitely frustrating for me pitching out there and for them too."