While I was trying to figure out what to do with my degree in my twenties, I used to bartend at a hoity-toity boutique hotel in Yorkville. I will never forget when an old Texan sat down at the bar on a hot lazy summer day and told me that it’s not everyday that a kernel pops, referring to how hot it was outside.
You might not know what this expression means because I certainly didn’t at the time. But, in Texas some ranchers hang bird feeders filled with popcorn kernels around their property to try and lure in deer for the easy shot. And apparently on a real hot day in Texas, a kernel will pop.
This is a true story.
Now, I’m not sure if this metaphor – or whatever it is – works for good ol’ Gibbers, but his time here in Toronto might be up. His kernel might have popped. And if this is John Gibbons’ last rodeo in Toronto, let’s give him all the hoots and hollers he deserves in late September.
The goddamn-Gibbers-truth is that I am writing this piece with a heavy heart because I think John Gibbons is a national treasure. He has been a TV Dad for many of us Jays fans over the years. It will be sad to see him swagger off into the sunset.
Love him or hate him, you have to respect him. You have to respect the straight shootin’ manager that he is. You have to respect his honest ways. If ol’ Gibbers says a hen dips snuff, you better look under her wing for the can. That’s just the type of guy he has been in the scrum. No purple prose. He always tells it like it is, even if it’s ugly and unfortunate like Odor.
And even though Gibbers can keep his cool, he can also get hotter than a fur coat in Marfa – Marfa is a small desert city in west Texas if you’re wondering. A John Gibbons ejection is television at it’s best. And an act that I will miss.
Now, I could go and get lost down John Gibbons memory lane in this entire piece, but I’m not going to do that, although it is fun to reminisce about the old dust-ups he had with the *SHEA-LILLY* bozo players out there. As we all know Gibbons isn’t afraid of big egos, nor does he back down from them.
He will let the boys know where they can stick their sinking ships or boomboxes if a player crosses ol’ Gibbers’ line. Because as we all know, ‘if you can’t play for Gibby, you can’t play for anyone.’ And those words might be the coolest thing said by the former GM, J.P. Ricciardi.
Good ol’ Gibbers is in his eleventh season as the skip, and he has managed 1,546 games to date. And once the season is over, Gibby will have clocked in 1,582 games over his two stints, which equals roughly 14,238 innings of Jays baseball – give or take some ejections and extra-inning games.
Gibbons became the manger back in 2004, which was a long time ago. It’s actually kind of scary to think that 2004 was a long time ago, to be honest. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was still in theatres in 2004. Terror Squad had everyone ‘leaning back’ that summer with that obnoxious song. The iPhone hadn’t yet shaped the future retweeting ways. And DVDs and Blockbuster were still a thing.
Yet, here John Gibbons still stands…for now.
Ol’ Gibbers has changed with the times like the rest of us – sort of. He’s been around for the Bush Jr. years of ‘Merica. He’s been around for the yes-we-can years of Obama. And now he’s still with us during the garbage mess that is Donald Trump’s AmeriKa. And through all the political nonsense, the daily grind, the hard-working days we work to make ends meet, we have always been able to escape with the Jays and ol’ Gibbers on a spring, summer, and early fall evening.
You can think what you will about John Gibbons, but he’s a character. A real life one, too. His stoic personality, his joking ways, and his sharp tongue are some pretty damn rock n’ roll characteristics that have entertained us through the up-and-down ride this Jays franchise has had us on during his time here.
He has definitely had us shake our head at times. He has definitely had us hoot and holler and root him on. He has definitely had us all hashtag the shit out of #GibbyTheBest. He’s the real deal Canadian bacon. John Gibbons is the sizzle. And baseball in Toronto won’t be the same without him.
He was the skip that brought us back to the playoffs. He was the skip that lived through the seventh inning of game 5 against the stupid shitty Rangers. And he did it without going into cardiac arrest. But, that’s because John Gibbons is so strong that he makes Samson look like a sensitive little ninny.
If it’s time for ol’ Gibbers to head for the wagon yard, that’s fine. I get it. I’m not happy about it, and I’d like to see him manage the future wave of this team. But, maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe it’s time for him to blow this damn baseball stand.
It’s not like managing a new Jays youth movement is going to be easy. It’s about as easy as pissing up a rope. And the dumb Yankees, being as good and young as they are, sure as shit are going to make it that much harder during the Vladdy years to come.
As long as the Jays organization lets John Gibbons walk the way he wants to walk, then I say let him strut into the horizon with that Gibby swagger, with the spurs out and a Coors Light in his drinking hand.
The last home game this season is against Houston on September 26th at 4pm. It seems fitting that Gibby is probably going to manage his last games at the Rogers Centre against the ‘Stros, a team that plays ball in the state that he calls home. And, of course, he finishes out the horror of the past two seasons and maybe his career as manager of the Jays in Tampa, with memories of all the terror that has been experienced at the Trop.
So I think that if you love Gibby as much as I do and you’re at a ball game this September, show some appreciation for John Gibbons. Make #GibbyTheBest signs, hoot, holler, cheer, and tip your cap to the man.
He’s been in our baseball lives for over a decade. He’s been on our screens for many summers. He’s kind of become our TV Dad over the years. So the time has come, especially during the final home stand, to send off this midnight cowboy the proper Canadian way.
John Gibbons is a goddamn savage and a national treasure.