Meet Kyle Gibson
The Twins pitcher talks baseball, pizza, and life as a professional athlete.
Image by Brace Hemmelgarn
In a crowded clubhouse full of loud music and players getting ready to work, we sat down with Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson. From his love for pizza to learning what actor would portray him in a movie, meet the man behind the pitches.
What would you say is the best part about living in the Twin Cities?
My wife and I are pretty lucky. We live in Ft. Myers, Fla., during the winter and then we get Minnesota summers. I love the weather. Even though it’s a little bit cold in April and the end of September, the summers are beautiful. When we get a few off days here at home, we rent a boat and go out on Lake Minnetonka or one of the many fabulous lakes. There’s a lot of outdoor stuff to do, and I think what’s really cool is when you see people out in May when it’s 55°F with shorts and T-shirts walking around Lake Calhoun. It’s cool. People really do love being outdoors.
What is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
I think it was my (Twins) debut. I was lucky enough to debut at home, June 29, 2013. It was the excitement of being in front of a home crowd—and it was a good crowd because I think it might have been a Saturday afternoon. It was just a lot of fun, and being able to feel the support of more than 30,000 fans instead of being on the road like some guys when they make their debut, it was a pretty cool feeling.
What do you think is the best part about playing at home?
I really like Target Field. We’re fortunate to play half our games in probably one of the better stadiums in the league. It’s cool to have the close fan interaction. It’s cool to have the whole setup of the stadium itself.
What’s your favorite stadium outside of Target Field to pitch in?
Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo. My wife’s from Missouri, so normally when we’re playing there we get a lot of her family coming over to watch us play. Both of those have a really good atmosphere and a really fun park to pitch in.
What’s the best advice from a veteran player that you’ve received?
I think some of the best advice from a veteran starter is you only get to go out there once every five days, and if you make 30 starts, 10 of them aren’t going to be very good. That’s just how the numbers go. Being a young guy, most of these veteran guys are quick to come around you and say, “Listen, this is just one of the 10 bad ones. Start working for the next one. Learn what you need to learn and move on.” Being able to stay off the rollercoaster ride and stay levelheaded through the ups and downs has been some of the best advice.
The longer you’ve been at this level, has it been easier to shake off those rougher starts than in the beginning?
I think so. It’s definitely easier to get ready for the next one. But like last year when you get to the end of the season and we’re two games out of the playoffs, it’s really frustrating to look back and see how many starts that could have affected those two games. But everyone does that. Everyone looks back at at-bats, plays or outings and they say how much they could have done different. I think as you get older, and as you throw more outings, you’re going to realize that, OK, this is one of my struggles. And your goal is to make more time in between your struggles, and your struggles to not be as bad.
If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you want to play you?
Probably Jim Carrey. I’d hope it’s a comedy, and hopefully it’s a hit.
Who’s a batter you dread facing?
There’s more than guy who’s got my number right now. Ian Kinsler (of the Detroit Tigers) right now is a guy who when he’s up, I haven’t really been able to figure out that conundrum of an at-bat that he puts together. He does a really good job of battling me, and more times than not he hits the ball hard.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
There’s a pizza place back in my hometown called Mozzi’s Pizza and they do the finely crumbled sausage, so I really love their pepperoni and sausage pizza.
Are there pizza places around the Twin Cities that come close?
We get done so late at most of our home games that I don’t really get a chance to enjoy a whole lot of pizza, but Pizza Lucé is good. Davanni’s is good. But I have to admit, there’s nothing that comes close to the pepperoni and sausage in my hometown.
What’s a typical day like for you in the offseason?
The beginning of the offseason is pretty relaxed. In November and the middle of October I try to take as much time off as possible. So, really that’s just waking up whenever my daughter wakes up, and then I get to play with her for a whole day, which is a pretty rare occurrence during the season. But once workouts start, I try to get up around 7:30 a.m. or so, get my workout done by 9:30 a.m., and then get home by the time she wakes up or is close to waking up. I’m away from her so much during the season, that I’d much rather get into the field and get my workouts done. Then I’m able to spend time with her.
What’s it like juggling being a professional baseball player and a dad?
The tough part is juggling the priorities, and she obviously doesn’t understand what my job is, really. She just knows that Daddy plays baseball. The tough part is knowing that my first priority in life is being a godly father to her, and there’s times where work obviously has to come first, and trying to make sure, especially as she gets older, that she’s going to realize that work is something that I have to do. But it’s not more important than her. Thankfully, I haven’t had to explain that to her or get close to that, but hopefully I get to play long enough to where that becomes a topic that we have to talk about. Whether it’s with your marriage or being a father, it’s being able to juggle those two things and make sure that both your wife and daughter don’t feel like they’re taking a backseat to baseball.