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Arizona Diamondbacks

For Diamondbacks' Towers, Gibson, it's ‘business as usual' in wake of La Russa hire

PHOENIX -- Funny thing about expectations.

Sure, every team wants to have the expectation of winning, but when they don't win -- and those expectations are not met -- that's when moves are made, whether by addition or by subtraction.

The Arizona Diamondbacks chose the former this weekend, appointing Tony La Russa to the newly created position of chief baseball officer.

In other words, he's general manager Kevin Towers' boss.

"I can only learn from him. To me, I'm one that I work well with people. I want to compete and win as well," the general manager said. "In this game of baseball, you've got to adjust. To me, it's an easy way to adjust when you're adjusting to somebody who wore the uniform and played the game. To me, you're always striving to get better and to learn. I don't think you ever stop learning the game. It's going to be business as usual for me."

The team Towers put together, one that cost Ken Kendrick and his partners in excess of $110 million, the largest payroll in franchise history, is not performing up to expectations.

"I'm not dumb," Towers said. "I kind of knew over the last two or three weeks that there was some awkwardness, and (that) communication maybe wasn't as good as it once was. I've been in the game long enough to know that these things happen. I'm just happy that, at least for the time being, they want me to still be a part of the organization."

The Diamondbacks, at 17-28 and 10.5 games out of first place in the NL West entering play Sunday, are not giving ownership an adequate return on its investment -- or the fans' for that matter.

Enter La Russa, a baseball lifer with more than 50 years devoted to the game.

"To me, to be able to bring on a great baseball mind, you can't have enough good baseball people in your front office," Towers said.

Those sentiments were echoed by manager Kirk Gibson, who, like Towers, has had his Diamondbacks' future scrutinized.

"Personally, I look at it as a great opportunity for me to improve and get better," the fifth-year manager said. "(La Russa's) had a formula that's worked very well. I'm certainly opened to what Tony has to lend to me and then to the club, the organization, to help us have a better trend here."

To be fair, La Russa, who formally addressed the team prior to the series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers, will not rush to judgment, choosing instead to take his time in evaluating the entire baseball operations department.

"I do think that there are a lot of lessons that I've acquired over the years that I hope to contribute," he said. "And when you contribute them, how you contribute them, you got to feel your way through it, so that you don't get in the way of something that's working or you miss something that you should be helping."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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