SARASOTA, Florida – On a pristine, cloudless Saturday morning before his Blue Jays took to the field to play the Orioles, manager John Gibbons assumed his familiar perch behind home plate to watch his charges take batting practice. Cheap Air Jordan 5 Australia . That time around, the cage is as much a part of baseballs daily routine as a beer and a hotdog is to a fan in the stands. Coaches, scouts, broadcasters and other media hover, tossing verbal barbs, telling stories and sharing laughs. Occasionally, especially in spring when the atmosphere is relatively laid back, the list of invited guests expands and on this day, Gibbons welcomed two men strongly influential in his life. To his left stood his high school baseball coach, Syl Perez and on his right, Frank Arnold, Gibbons high school football coach. The two are spending these early days of camp with the man they mentored. Its a chance for the men to catch up, reminisce about old times, and for Gibbons to share his pro experience with two people whove helped him along the way. "Your high school years are very big years in forming who youre going to be," Gibbons told TSN.ca. "When youre in athletics, if you get the right guys, it can steer you the right direction, teach you discipline, the work ethic and all the right stuff that benefit you in life." Arnold, 72, is a legend in Texas high school football, a state where "football is king," as Gibbons likes to remind the uninitiated. Gibbons played but didnt start at MacArthur High School in San Antonio. He was a running back, although in hindsight, Arnold thinks Gibbons was better suited to play linebacker because he was athletically inclined and had good instincts. Arnold also took notice, almost immediately, of Gibbons upbringing, especially his supportive parents, William and Sally. "Great kid, great family, never had, you know you have some parents who are a little overbearing, his parents were right there to support him," said Arnold. He had a knack for baseball, although Gibbons admits he was a late bloomer, especially offensively. A senior catcher graduated after Gibbons sophomore season, a year in which Gibbons played the outfield, and Perez had someone else pegged as the teams next catcher. Gibbons was still an unknown commodity. The coaching staff tried him at third base. It wasnt the right fit. "I dont care where I put John Gibbons, he was a catcher," said Perez. "I mean, it was in his DNA. He carries himself like a catcher." Perez had Gibbons and the would-be catching successor get behind the plate and simulate throwing out base stealers. "I timed him," said Perez. "From the time the sound hit the mitt to the time it hit the shortstop or second baseman at the bag. The other young man was very accurate but John was kind of like a Nolan Ryan. He was not very accurate, or not as accurate, but he would only average two seconds and sometimes slightly less than that. The other kid was 2.3, 2.4." Funny thing, Gibbons ended up catching that year. The other kid played third base. Both were all district at the end of the season, Gibbons in spite of a batting average below .200. He was that good defensively. His game rounded into form in his senior year, thanks to a scout named Buzzy Keller, who in advance of the baseball season, instructed Perez on a new hitting philosophy featuring a more compact swing. Perez coached up Gibbons and the results were immediate. "John batted .500 in 19 games and he hit 10 home runs," said Perez. "Its not that he hit 10 home runs, its how far he hit those 10 home runs that really got him to be a lot more noticed. A lot of our practices were very, very well attended and of course, he went 24th overall in the first round (1980) to the Mets." A series of injuries derailed Gibbons big league playing career, the nail in the coffin being the Mets acquisition of Gary Carter before the 1985 season. He stayed around the game, coached at various levels over a number of years, and by 2004, was into his first run as manager of the Blue Jays. "Hes old school and the old school way of thinking is, good catchers become good managers," said Perez. "Theyre the only ones looking the other way at the entire defence. Lets face it, he may have been not a starter in his major league life but when hes in the bullpen catching and working with folks like the Dwight Goodens and such, Im sure hes going to learn some things." Gibbons credits Arnold and Perez with teaching him some of the tactics he employs to this day. "You get to this level, its a little different," said Gibbons. "Guys are very successful when they get to this level so theyve got a good idea of what they do. Theres not as much coaching, teaching and things like that and you give these guys a little more leeway because theyre adults. But theres a lot of the same principles that work. I dont care if youre in high school or big league baseball, you have to have discipline. You still have to play the right way." Gibbons fair, jovial but stern-when-he-needs-to-be personality endears him to those who know him best and have known him the longest. "Personally, I think he has the demeanour, the ability to work with people," said Arnold. "I hope he gets lucky this year because last year they had some bad luck, in my opinion, with injuries and other things. I follow him, I watch him all the time and Im very proud to say that I was around him." Arnold continued, "John is going to be the same on the docks with some dock workers as he is at some high class place with the boss. I just think hes a quality person. Hes not flashy, he is what he is but hes always good to people." Coming off a disappointing 74-88 season, a startling and uncomfortable thud after the offseason hype of a year ago, Gibbons knows there is pressure to rebound. His mentors know it, too. "Nobody wants you unless you win," said Arnold. "I dont care what level, what league so I wish him well and hope he has some great luck this year. I hope some of the guys have some great years because I think he deserves it." Gibbons is aware the fan base is angst-ridden, unsure of whether the Blue Jays can compete in the ultra-tough American League East. He knows about the Twitter faction thats popularized the "FireGibby" hashtag, understands and accepts its a fans right to be upset, but wants to be clear about something he says wont change, win or lose. "I want people to know that I care about Toronto, I care about Canada, and nobody wants to win for the fan base more than I do because I know they deserve it." 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The 16-inning game matched their longest of the season. And it was so much better than being on the other side. The Reds longest game of the season ended in one of their greatest disappointments. "For sure," Reds starter Bronson Arroyo said. "Definitely. When you play that many innings and have a couple of runners in scoring position ..." The Cardinals had dropped the first two games in the series, letting the Reds get within a game and a half for second place. They conclude their season series on Thursday. St. Louis leads it 11-8. Carlos Martinez (2-1) escaped a threat in the 15th, when Shin-Soo Choo singled and reached third on a sacrifice and a groundout. Chris Heisey came to bat and saw Matt Carpenter playing back at third base, so he decided on his own to try to bunt for a single. Heisey missed the pitch, Choo reacted and took off and was easily out at the plate. "Youre not going to try a safety bunt with two outs," manager Dusty Baker said. "Heisey thought the third baseman was back, he was bunting for a hit. Choo was going to try to score." Cincinnatis three, four and five hitters -- Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Heisey -- were a combined 0 for 19. Given the reprieve, the Cardinals pulled it out. Theyve dropped five of seven overall, costing them precious ground in the divisions three-team race. The Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are all in good shape to make the playoffs -- one as a champion, the other two as wild cards. "That was just a character win," manager Mike Matheny said. "The guys just kept grinding, not giving up or giving in. The job the young bullpen did holding them down was impressive. Thats one of those wins you dont forget.&" St. Air Jordan 5 Wholesale Australia. Louis wasted a chance to put it away in the 14th inning. Adams broke his deep slump by leading off with homer off Alfredo Simon. Speedy Billy Hamilton helped the Reds tie it with another stolen base in the bottom of the inning. Hamilton ran for Ryan Ludwick after his single off Edward Mujica, who blew a save chance for only the third time in 38 chances. Hamilton stole second -- hes 2 for 2 against catcher Yadier Molina -- and scored easily on Zack Cozarts single. Carpenter had three hits and a walk, scoring twice. Carpenter has five of the Cardinals 14 hits in the last two games. Arroyo broke with his history of subpar showings against the Cardinals. It was his 38th career start against St. Louis -- more than against any other team -- and he didnt have a lot to show for it, going 0-3 against the Cardinals this season and 8-16 in his career. He went seven innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- giving the Reds chances that they squandered. St. Louis scored twice in the fourth, when Matt Holliday hit a sacrifice fly and Carlos Beltran came around on a throwing error by Votto on Allen Craigs grounder. Craig sprained his left foot while rounding the base on the play and left the game. X-rays were inconclusive. Hes heading back to St. Louis for more tests. "Any time youre sending Allen Craig away its not good news," Matheny said. Brandon Phillips led off the fifth with his 18th homer, giving him 100 RBIs. Hes the first Reds second baseman to reach the mark since Hall of Famer Joe Morgan drove in 111 in 1976, when the Reds swept the Yankees for their second straight World Series championship. Notes: RH Jake Westbrook felt good a day after he threw in the bullpen. Westbrook has been sidelined since Aug. 22 with a strained lower back. Hes eligible to come off the DL on Friday. Matheny isnt sure whether hell use him as a starter -- as Westbrook prefers -- or out of the bullpen when he returns. ... Carpenter leads the NL with 169 hits and 15 three-hit games. ... Arroyo tied a Reds record with three sacrifice bunts. ... LH Tony Cingrani (6-3) starts the final game of the series for Cincinnati. He went on the DL after leaving a game Aug. 20 with a strained lower back. 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