Gibson reflects on holiday traditions

Gibson reflects on holiday traditions

MINNEAPOLIS -- The holidays are always a busy time for Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson and his wife, Elizabeth, who make their offseason home in Fort Myers, Fla.

But this year is even more hectic, as Elizabeth is due with their second child on Dec. 29. The Gibsons usually travel to Indiana to see his side of the family or Missouri for her side, but this year they're staying at home for the first time with their daughter, Hayden, who turns three in March.

Gibson, who also started his throwing program last week, took time out of his busy schedule to talk with recently about the holidays, this past season and the 2017 season, among other topics: What's a typical Christmas like for you and your family? What's the plan this year?

Gibson: This year is a little bit different. Elizabeth, Hayden and I normally travel to see her family or my family. We usually pick one of them to spend Christmas with and the other one to spend Thanksgiving with. But with a little one coming at the end of December, we'll be home for our first Christmas at the Gibson household here in Fort Myers. We've decorated and plan on being home here for the first time. So we're pretty excited. So what it's like with your wife being due so soon after Christmas?

Gibson: There's a little bit of anxiety mixed in with the Christmas joy this year. I'm just hoping she makes it past Christmas, really. Hopefully, we can get through the Christmas festivities before she has the baby. But it's pretty exciting and another great gift and something to look forward to right after Christmas. Your daughter, Hayden, is almost three. How excited is she for Christmas?

Gibson: She's pumped. She's really enjoying opening up gifts, everything like that. She's making sure daddy is watering the tree. She's really excited. What was Christmas like growing up in Greenfield, Ind.?

Gibson: It was pretty special. All of our relatives lived within 10 minutes. We lived right next to my mom's parents and were only like 10 minutes from my dad's parents. Christmas Eve we'd spend the night with my dad's parents and Christmas Day, we'd literally walk 50 feet across the yard to my mom's mom and dad's. We'd do lunch there for Christmas and it would go into dinner with everybody bringing gifts and food. It was always cool walking up super early and running into my parents' room with my sister to wake them up and head downstairs. Any particular Christmas memories stand out?

Gibson: When I was 17 years old, I was probably the only one of my friends who didn't have a PlayStation or a Nintendo or anything like that. But when I was 17, my parents got my first PlayStation, the PlayStation 2. And I just freaked out. I couldn't believe it because my dad was very much into the old-school about not playing video games and going outside. It's not like they withheld anything from me, but we had six acres with a pond, trampoline and a basketball hoop. So we had a lot of stuff outside and my parents liked us to do that instead of being in front of the TV. But when I finally got that, I was pretty pumped and ran around screaming. Switching gears to baseball, what is your primary goal going into next year?

Gibson: With last year, really the first year since Tommy John [in 2011] that was really injured-riddled, I've been pretty focused on my getting body where it needs to be to be healthy the full year. Sitting out for seven or eight weeks wasn't fun. So my main focus has been that all the foundational work I'm doing will keep my back healthy for a full season. That's something that's lingered the last two seasons. And with my arm, I'm making sure I don't get too relaxed or lazy with the shoulder program. It's been a lot of getting back to the basics and working on those foundational muscles." What are your thoughts on the new front office retaining pitching coach Neil Allen and bullpen coach Eddie Guardado?

Gibson: I'm glad that Neil and Eddie will be back. I like working with both those guys. I feel like their approaches mesh well. I think it's a good thing for the pitching staff to have that continuity. Hopefully everybody pitches a little bit better and we can get back to what it was like in 2015 when everybody was really excited about Neil as pitching coach.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.