Guys get hired and guys get fired all the time.
You work with them, enjoy some more than others and roll with it.
When Toronto fired John Gibbons, I couldn't help but smile while recalling a small moment from two springs ago.
Somehow, a few years back, I acquired a button that read: "George W. Bush: The Best Reason Yet for Canadian Citizenship."
Figuring I had the perfect person to whom it would make a funny gift, I brought it with me to Florida a couple of years ago and gave it to my buddy Jeff Blair, who covers baseball for the Toronto Globe and Mail. You know -- he's smart, pays attention to what's going on in the world, has a sense of humor, lives in Canada.
He laughed when I gave it to him that morning at Blue Jays camp, then got a devilish twinkle in his eyes.
When the workout was finished and maybe 15 of us reporters met with Gibbons, Blair waited until the session was about to start when he made a big elaborate presentation of the button to Gibbons.
Told him, "Scott Miller wanted me to give you this present. ..."
Gibbons is a Texas native.
He's a hard-core Republican.
And there Blair was, selling me out, telling the skipper that I brought the button for him.
Gibbons took the button from Blair, read it and started laughing. I, of course, immediately accused Blair of being an ungracious recipient of a gift, telling Gibbons that it was not meant for him at all.
The way the entire thing played out was pretty funny all around, and Gibbons and I joked about it a handful of times over these two years since -- me asking if he's been wearing his button, and him saying an unprintable word or two through a big smile. He's a good man, and a good baseball man, and I'm sure we'll see him somewhere around the game after he's finished de-compressing.
Which I'm sure he needs right about now. But sorry, John ... I don't have any parting gifts for you.
Speaking of Blair, this is one terrific quote from Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios that appeared in his story the day Gibbons was fired: "I don't want to talk about what happened today. We can talk about other stuff. How about boats?"
As San Diego manager Bud Black was saying the other day after Gibbons (Blue Jays), John McLaren (Mariners) and Willie Randolph (Mets) all were fired last week, "As baseball people, you're hardened to that sort of thing. It doesn't make it any easier, but you realize these things happen.
"It goes back to your days as a player. You have friends who get traded or released, and you know these guys are doing everything they can to help the team win, exhausting everything in their power."
My job is to stay as plugged in as possible, and I work very hard at it, but I've gotta say: I had NO idea that Willie Randolph was fired by Mr. Met.
This clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart is the television equivalent of crushing a fastball down the middle.
I've always gravitated more toward the personalities in baseball than the numbers, but still, this is absolutely mind-boggling:
When the Lakers blew that 24 point lead in Game 4 of the NBA Finals earlier this month, it was officially only the biggest collapse in 37 years ... because no records of Finals games before 1971 are available.
That is absolutely stunning.
That same week, when Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th homer, I wondered how many at-bats it took him to move from 500 to 600 compared with Barry Bonds. I e-mailed David Vincent, home run expert for the Society for American Baseball Research, and within 15 minutes -- literally -- I had an answer.
It took Griffey 1,012 more at-bats than Bonds.
But don't ask the NBA about anything pre-1971.
Likes: Summer heat. ... C.C. Sabathia with the bat. ... Detroit's Marcus Thames: Eight consecutive hits were home runs, then he doubled on Friday and then walloped another homer on Saturday. Making it nine homers in a 10-hit stretch. ... The Drive-By Truckers at the Belly-Up Tavern in Solana Beach, Calif., on Friday night. Rockin' good time.
Dislikes: Man, these are ugly days for Houston. I'm not talking about the Astros losing nine of their past 11 games. I'm talking about those mid-1970s rainbow uniforms they wore Saturday night in Tampa Bay.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Well we got no choice
"All the girls and boys
"Makin' all that noise
"'Cause they found new toys
"Well we can't salute ya
"Can't find a flag
"If that don't suit ya
"That's a drag"
-- Alice Cooper, School's Out