PHOENIX -- Nationals manager Matt Williams is back in Arizona for a three-game series against the D-backs ,and Kirk Gibson welcomed his good friend back home with a simple message.
"He wants to win, and I want to beat his [butt], too, so that's mutual," Gibson said with a smile. "We have a lot in common, just the way we were brought up. We talked a lot when I was here and he was here. It will be interesting to see what changes he's made in his philosophies."
Williams, who makes his full-time home in Scottsdale, Ariz., has strong ties to the organization. An original member of the expansion D-backs in 1998, he played six seasons in Arizona and won a World Series with the team in 2001. He also served as a coach, broadcaster, front-office executive and part owner during his time in Arizona.
Williams joined Gibson's coaching staff in 2010.
"He had a real curiosity about everything, and he was dedicated to that," Gibson said. "Where other people might spend their time and their day doing things that were not relevant, he was always looking for something. He went off to the [Arizona] Fall League, and that was great for him."
The Nationals named Williams their manager last October.
"Everybody throughout the whole process was nothing but supportive," Williams said. "Gibby was supportive, Kevin [Towers] was supportive, Derrick Hall, Ken Kendrick and everybody was very supportive of my desire to do this, and if that opportunity came in another organization, they were behind me, and that's refreshing, because they want success."
Gibson and Williams know each other well, maybe too well. The pair spent hours together talking baseball and ran together six days a week.
"When you are in any game against any manager, you weigh all the information when you make a decision," Gibson said. "I've added a few things since he's been gone, too, in anticipation of him anticipating something from me."