*Watch Stu Stone’s full interview with John Gibbons for the former Toronto Blue Jays manager’s weekly “Talking Points” feature, sponsored by Bodog Canada, by clicking on the video above.
June 20, 2022
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
John Gibbons likes to call Alek Manoah “The Grizzly.”
That’s a reference to the 24-year-old right-hander’s menacing 6-foot-6, 285-pound physique. But Gibbons loves to watch Manoah pitch and he believes the Toronto Blue Jays righty, who owns an 8-2 record and a 2.00 ERA in 12 starts this season, has a chance to be a superstar.
“To dominate like that at such a young age with his experience level, that’s really hard,” Gibbons told Stu Stone for the latest episode of Talking Points, sponsored by Bodog Canada.
“Usually guys get to the big leagues and it takes them a few years to get grounded, figure it all out, get established, learn the league [and] all that. Very rarely do you get these guys that come in and take it by storm and that’s kind of what he’s done . . . That’s what the great ones do. It’s not only because they have better arms and they might have better stuff. It’s because they got some of this up there [pointing at his head] and they got that right in their chest, right in their heart. They’re great competitors. And from everything I’ve heard about the guy, that’s who he is.”
The Blue Jays may need Manoah to keep pitching at his current superstar level, given the recent struggles of veteran right-hander Kevin Gausman and left-hander Yusei Kikuchi and the season-ending elbow injury to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Ross Stripling has filled in admirably for Ryu, but Gibbons believes that Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is likely scouring the market for a starting pitcher.
“I think all teams when they lose a key part . . . they’re always looking to upgrade and to make themselves a little better . . . They have to be scouting around because that’s [Ryu] a big loss,” Gibbons told Stone.
Gibbons on turning 60, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, the shift, the bunt
You can watch Stu Stone’s full interview with Gibbons for the latest episode of Talking Points here.
Gibbons on turning 60 on June 8.
“None of us know how long we’re going to live, but I guarantee you I’m on the downhill slide now,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m over the halfway mark.”
Gibbons celebrated his 60th by eating some good Mexican food with his wife and daughter and enjoying two Beeritas.
On Aaron Judge:
“He’s a special guy, you know when you’re that big and you’re that good of an athlete and you can make contact with a ball thrown that hard, you’re going to hit it a long way. You’re going to hit a lot of home runs . . . I think Judge is a much better player than [Giancarlo] Stanton. I think Judge is much tougher to pitch to than Stanton.”
On how many home runs Judge will hit in 2022:
“He’s got to hit at least 50, doesn’t he? . . . He just shrinks stadiums, he’s so big.”
On Giancarlo Stanton:
“It’s not like the old Yankees teams with the [Derek] Jeters and the Paul O’Neills and some of those guys. They were kind of a harder nosed team. At least that’s the way that I viewed them. Now they’ve got some pretty boys on there like Stanton and some of those guys. Even when they first got Stanton, I thought he doesn’t seem like a Yankee, he’s almost too pretty.”
On the shift:
“Get rid of that damn thing. That thing drives me crazy. You know, I understand the thinking . . . whatever it takes to win a game, whatever a team wants to do, do it. I’m all for it because it’s all about winning. But that shift drives me nuts, man . . . The game has kind of created that . . . It’s kind of like we want everybody to grip it and rip it and lean back and try to hit it as far as they can and if they strike out, so what?”
Host Stu Stone confessed that he yelled at his TV in 2015 and 2016 telling Gibbons to have his Blue Jays hitters bunt more:
“Who did you want to bunt? Bautista?” Gibbons responded. “Hey, did you look at our lineup? We had a bunch of grizzly, hairy asses . . . We had Ryan Goins bunt every now and then.”