Photo by Paul Connors for Arizona Diamondbacks
By Greg Dillard
When the D-backs take the field at Oakland Coliseum this weekend, they’ll see a familiar face in the opposing dugout. That man is A’s manager Bob Melvin.
The former Arizona skipper took the reins of the Athletics last month, when he was tabbed by General Manager Billy Beane to become interim manager. This came after Melvin had returned to the D-backs organization as Special Baseball Advisor. Oakland is Melvin’s third-career managerial post.
He guided the Seattle Mariners from 2003-04 before leading the D-backs from 2005-09. In the desert, Melvin’s D-backs claimed the 2007 National League West crown en route to NL Manager of the Year honors that year.
Nowadays, the D-backs are led by second-year manager Kirk Gibson who has his team six games above .500 and just two games out of first place. After serving as his bench coach just a few years earlier, Gibson will face off against Melvin in a three-game set that kicks off Friday night.
“It’ll be interesting,” Gibson said. “He’s going to want to be beat me good. I know that. He’s done a great job over there. I know his style. He’s very passionate. I know his players will play very tough. We just kind of went through something like this in Detroit where I went against my home team and a guy who was my Minor League manager. So, try and keep the distraction part out of it. We certainly respect each other, and it’ll be a good series.”
This series in Oakland is the D-backs’ final Interleague action of the season. Heading into 2011, the D-backs owned a 90-112 all-time record in Interleague Play. They have posted a 9-6 mark against American League foes this season.
The D-backs also finished the month of June at 14-13, which was their second-consecutive month with a winning record. They went 19-10 in May.
While Gibson is pleased that his former boss has returned to managing, he knows it’s going to be a competitive series.
“It’s a shame the way it ended for Bob.” Gibson said. “I know it stung him pretty good. We talked as friends about it several times. He’s back where he belongs in uniform in the dugout. That I’m happy for, but I’ll be put in a position where I’ve got to try and beat him.”