This is the 3rd instalment of the “Missions on Gibbons” series, where I have interviewed a few of the 2012 San Antonio Missions about what it was like playing under John Gibbons. I think it’s the closest we can get to a true player’s perspective. The results so far have been overwhelming. Both Cody Decker and Hayden Beard have had nothing but amazing things to say about the current Jays bench boss. Let’s see what Dustin Pease had to say…
First, can you tell me a little bit about yourself, how you got into the game, what you are doing now, etc?
I’m currently retired from professional baseball after player for 6 + full seasons. The highest level I made it to was full season AA. I graduated from Division I Mount Saint Mary’s, still holding almost every pitching record at the University. Graduated in 2007 and went undrafted, went on to start my professional career in 2007 playing for the Winnipeg Goldeyes which was the team you saw the brawl with, which happened in the following year 2008. I had a short retirement from baseball as I accepted the head assistant coaching job at my Alma Mater Mount Saint Mary’s. I also run my own business Pease Baseball in which I give private lessons to kids wanting to learn how to play the game. Retiring at 27 after a successful season in AA the year prior was a tough pill to take, but it was time to move on once I couldn’t latch back on with another affiliate.
Can you give us an idea of what Gibby was like in the clubhouse? Cody Decker mentioned he “made the game easier”, what would you have to say about that?
Gibby in the club house was as easy as they came. As all managers did he focused much on winning, but never put the pressure on the team to win, or give serious consequences. Playing for a manager who is relaxed, and lets the game come to him made it easier on us in crucial situations, or if we went on a losing skid. He made the game easier in just that way, less pressure, and would put each of us in situations that would be beneficial for us individually, which is why we had a successful season in 2012, even though we narrowly missed the playoffs.
Is there anything specific you will always remember about Gibby? Something he taught?
Gibby was the one manager who truly focused on sound fundamental baseball. As odd as it may sound, not all managers would be as involved with each aspect of the game as he was. At least once as week he would have different groups of pitchers working on pfp’s (pitcher fielding practice), bunt plays, etc… Parts of the game that need to be practiced, but were usually forgotten by most coaches. Although it was something extra we had to do in the grinding Texas heat prior to BP, I feel it helped better prepare us for game situations and keep us sharp.
What (in general) will you never forget about Gibby?
Gibby was an honest manager. At one point of the season I wasn’t pitching as much as I’d like to. It seemed like I was getting skipped over multiple times. Gibby brought me in after the 4th of July game and we had a talk like men, about the situation, about what they were trying to do as team, and about my role. He was up front and honest. A trait that all managers may not have. Some skippers would have just let the situation go, but he sensed some frustration and handled it well, I thought. Something I think would resonate well with a big league player. He also tried to help me re-sign with a team once he found out I was released from San Diego. Something I thought was admirable. He had already taken a job as the big league manager for the Blue Jays, most likely just getting into Toronto getting settle in, and he gets a text from me and he says he wants to help me in any way he can. Something that goes a long way. I really appreciated it.
Are there any criticisms you would have for Gibby?
Criticisms would be tough. Gibby battled through knee pain all year long with us in San Antonio. He was out there everyday getting his exercise in, throwing BP to multiple groups. Again, something that may go unnoticed from most guys. Even though I wasn’t a position player I thought it was generous of him to make himself to dispensable to the team. Hard to have criticism’s for the guy who handed me the ball more than anyone else out of the bullpen in 2012. As a left handed reliever in High A in 2011 I had the most appearances of anyone in the California League. The same thing occurred in 2012 when Gibby gave me the ball 52 times, more than any other lefty reliever in the Texas league. He was one of my easiest manager’s to play for over my 6 year career.
I am not sure how “Gibby haters” will turn this one around on him, but I am sure it’ll happen somehow.
Picture from Dustin’s website.