LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Arizona manager Kirk Gibson's comments about the Dodgers' participation in a goodwill trip to Australia last month, interpreted by some as disrespectful to Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis, led to some pointed questioning during Gibson's Monday media session at the Winter Meetings.
In his comments last month, Gibson praised the D-backs for sending star players Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin on the promotional tour for next season's Opening Series in Sydney, then added:
"Who's the other team got down there? Are they too [expletive] good? Honestly?"
The clubs are already engaged in a multiyear rivalry that included this year's brawl in Los Angeles and the Dodgers' celebration of their division title in the Chase Field pool. Gibson's comments further inflamed emotions, but on Monday he said they were taken out of context.
Gibson said the comment evolved from a question about his possible interest in the vacant Detroit Tigers managing job.
"I was asked a question about [it]. I said I was not interested in going to the Detroit Tigers and I told them why. I enjoy the people I work for, the organization, the city. My players love them. And I was talking about when I came in here how the players did not understand how the fans and Major League Baseball was more important than themselves. And I was proud that our players, Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin, two guys that had breakout years, went over there.
"I wasn't criticizing A.J. Ellis. He's a nice player, an emerging player. I respect the way he's played the game and what he's done."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.