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October 16, 2015

John Gibbons

Kansas City, Missouri - Pregame One

Q. You have Colabello in the lineup tonight. Did he show you something in the ALDS that allowed you to get more at-bats against right-handed pitchers?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, I liked the way he was swinging it in the previous series. But we need offense, he's been a big part of that all year. He's in a nice groove right now.

We look at matchups. We're talking about Smoak. We played some good defense, too. Estrada is primarily a fly ball guy and not necessarily a ground ball guy, so you don't worry about that as much. But he's been playing good over there.

But he's got that -- he's had a big year for us with that, he gives you good at-bat bat, regardless of the results. He's a big part of our offense. I thought he did really good last series.

Q. The road teams in the playoffs, going back to the Wild Card, are 12-9. The home-field advantage hasn't really been a home-field advantage. Do you have an explanation or theory on that? Do you buy into any home-field advantage or disadvantage in the environment you're in tonight?
JOHN GIBBONS: I think everybody wants home-field advantage, but it gets a little bit skewed this year. You look at us, we're really good at home. Our stadium fits our team. The Royals, their stadium fits their team. So there is something to do with that, you know.

And I was conscious of that, regardless of my late season strategies. We were still trying to get home-field advantage.

But it's kind of been disproved a little bit, too. If you play a good game of baseball that particular night you still win on the road.

Q. Can you kind of just take us through the thought process on the way you used Price at the end of the regular season and then even the decision to stick with him in relief in the last game?
JOHN GIBBONS: Again? (Laughter).

Late in the season we went into Baltimore, had a chance to clinch and we clinched. And we decided to rest him, we thought it would do him some good. He pitches the first playoff game and we're down 0-2, so our backs are against the wall. We've got to win. So really, he was available Sunday night down in Texas.

He got up a couple of times, there was a chance he was going to come in. He didn't. So he was really available Monday more so than Stromy was, because he was on three days, Stromy would have been on two, he's never done that. He ended up getting in, pitching longer than most people thought he would. But that was a little bit of strategy, too.

Hopefully we get back to this series like we did, and he's available. I don't know. We're here.

Q. Ned was just talking that he had fond memories of when you guys worked together. Could you talk a little bit about that experience. He said he learned a lot from you. And how much knowing each other so well is going to help or any advantage for the series?
JOHN GIBBONS: I love Ned. Ned took good care of me. I originally came over here, was managing, he kept me around. And I loved my time here. Really, we're a lot alike. Well, anyway -- well, we are. We have a lot of the same values. We do a lot of things the same way. We take the same criticism a lot of times. We're both here.

I loved working with him. He treated me great. He's done a tremendous job with this group. One thing, they all came up young, and I probably never seen a guy that had as much patience and believed in his guys when they were young here, and he stuck by his guns, literally. And it's paid off for him. They went to the World Series last year, it could go either way this year.

I love the guy. He took good care of me. And I root for these guys for the last few years. I was excited about the year, last year, as most of them probably were. It's good to see.

Q. Jose, how special is it for him having been around for so long to finally get to this stage? And also have you ever had a guy who just seems to back it up as much as he does?
JOHN GIBBONS: You know, I think this is a coming out party for Jose. He's been one of the top players in baseball for the last five or six years, whatever it is. But we never got to the postseason. So I don't think he's had a chance to show off how good he is. There's not a lot of national type coverage games we played up until this year.

But he's rising to the occasion. He's been known to do that. Even during regular seasons there's been a few times where the ball has been thrown behind him and the next pitch, home run. It's very rare, but I've seen him do it two or three times. He's got that knack, flare for the dramatic. And those guys are rare.

And I think now he'll finally get his due, however you want to do that, but he deserves it. He's been such a good player for a long time. He's a special player.

Q. What were the circumstances of you being let go here?
JOHN GIBBONS: No, it was just time. They had another guy that was coming in line, Chino Cadahia, there was no issues. I loved my time, they gave me an opportunity, but it was time.

Q. Who would have let you go?
JOHN GIBBONS: The front office, but no issues. I have great memories of this place. I'm thankful they gave me the opportunity. Because I came here that first year after getting fired in Toronto.

Q. Given your association with the Mets as a player, I was just wondering if you had any reaction to them winning last night?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, I'm a Met, too (laughter). I'll always be a Met, you know, everybody.

Just repeat what I just said, because I've got a lot of friends over there. I played for Terry Collins in 1988 in Albuquerque, I got traded to the Dodgers in Spring Training. Terry was my manager, loved him.

It's good to see those people over there. I was over there probably a year and a half, I think it was, in the mid '80s, up and down, that kind of thing, the last time they had some really, really good teams. It's been a long time coming. But there's so many good people over there working, you root for those guys.

So, I'm happy with what's going on here and with the Metros and everything like that. It's kind of cool.

Q. Do you have any memories of Terry Collins?
JOHN GIBBONS: I loved Terry. I spent that one year with him. He was probably the most focused, at that time too intense, and really enthusiastic guy I'd ever played for. We had a good team, but he was energized every day. He had that gear most guys didn't have. And a great baseball mind.

So it was a tremendous year. You play or there's friends you come across that have done the same job as you, you pick up a lot of things from a lot of guys. I enjoyed playing for him, I learned a lot.

Q. Back to Ned Yost for a second. Did you talk to him heading into this series, and if not, when is the last time you had a chance to talk to him?
JOHN GIBBONS: I haven't seen Ned yet. I saw him at that last series we had in Toronto before the last game (laughter).

But we're good friends. He's done a tremendous job.

Q. Do you think too much is made of the size of the ballpark here? I don't notice you guys hitting home runs into the first row too often.
JOHN GIBBONS: It's a big ballpark. You've got to earn them here, that's for sure. And we hit a lot of no doubters, but we can also get some cheapies in Toronto.

Our whole division is great parks, Yankee Stadium, Fenway, Baltimore, even Tampa is legit. This is definitely different. You're not going to get any cheap ones. The gaps are bigger, you can get more doubles.

What they've done here, a nice job here, built their team really to -- they're great defenders. You look at the Gold Gloves they've won, different positions on their field, there was a reason for that. That's why they sign those kind of guys.

So, yeah, they're a perfect fit because they can run down some balls in the outfield with the best of them. And they're a speed team, because they know -- you're not going to hit a lot of home runs necessarily. And they're great at manufacturing runs. That was part of the plan that they built here.

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