Matt Williams’s surreal encounter with his mascot self in Monday’s Legends Race in Arizona overshadowed an equally strange race before the game.
As is customary, Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson and Williams met with the umpires at home plate before the game and exchanged lineup cards. After shaking hands with Williams, Gibson began booking it toward the dugout.
Williams, who spent four years on Gibson’s coaching staff in Arizona and doesn’t have ESP, didn’t appear to realize it was a race.
Gibson explained his antics during an appearance on the Burns and Gambo radio show on Tuesday.
“We used to run five, six days a week together,” Gibson said of Williams. “Run distance, run ramps, run stairs. Matt, he’s got good lungs, a lot younger lungs than me, so if you go distance, if I can hang in there to the end I could always out-kick him. So he knew by the end of when we’d run, he’d always have to go out hard and try to lose me, get a good lead so he could beat me.
“So last night I told him how I had that knee surgery, I don’t know, five weeks ago or something like that, so I’ve been telling him how bad my knee is, I can’t run, I can’t do this. So he said ‘let’s go on a big run.’ So he’s all set up, and I just shook his hand. He didn’t know anything was going on. I just sprinted off there. It was a setup. Is that cheating or is that just smart?”
That’s cheating, Kirk.