PDA

View Full Version : A Baker's Dozen Reasons Dusty Should Be Fired



Jpup
06-28-2006, 08:22 AM
This was from Tuesday's Chicago Sun-Times. I thought it was a good article. The Cubs lost to Milwaukee on Tuesday, the Cubs are 28-48, 14 games back. I'll give Baker until the All-Star break before he is fired.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/deluca/cst-spt-deluca27.html


A Baker's dozen reasons Dusty should be fired

June 27, 2006

BY CHRIS DE LUCA Staff Reporter


It's time to dump Dusty Baker. He was a good hire by the Cubs in 2002, coming off a World Series appearance and having a reputation for being a players' manager who won more than he lost. But he has been a disappointment since a surprising run that got him five outs away from the World Series in 2003.

Most important, Baker has lost some of the magic that made him so desirable.

Baker's career as a superstar manager was built on the ideal of protecting individual players. But in recent weeks -- as a contract extension that seemed firmly on the table has begun to drift away on a Wrigley Field breeze -- Baker has thrown his entire team and the front office under the bus.

The finger-pointing has been subtle, but not so much that it has gone unnoticed. Other managers overseeing dreadful teams usually point the finger at everyone, including themselves. ''We're all to blame,'' they say, even if they don't believe it.

Baker accepts no blame for a Cubs team headed toward its first 100-loss season since 1966. He repeats that he wants his healthy stars back and points out all of the youth on his pitching staff. The message is clear: He is losing with the team general manager Jim Hendry provided.

Asked Monday if he was satisfied with the job he has done this season, Baker was quick with an answer.

''I do the best I can every day,'' he said. "Am I satisfied with the results? No. Am I satisfied with what I try to do as far as preparing my team to be ready to play? Yes.''

If that's the case, it's not good enough and it's time for Baker to go.

Baker must play with the hand Hendry dealt, but even when overmatched -- a charge the manager has freely admitted -- he at least can motivate his untalented players.

How did he prepare his team the day before in Minneapolis, where the Cubs were charged with three physical errors but made many more mental miscues during an 8-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins? Let first baseman Derrek Lee describe his first game back after two months on the disabled list.

''To me, it's just a matter of coming to the yard ready to play every day,'' Lee said Monday. "And I don't think we showed up yesterday. Sometimes you lose, but you need to show up every day.''

If there was one game the Cubs should have been up for, it would be Lee's long-awaited return from the DL.

Baker's take: ''We didn't show up defensively. We didn't play well at all. We showed up. We made a lot of mistakes.''

We've heard much in recent seasons about how the Cubs have looked sloppy, missed signs and seemed like a rudderless ship. Doesn't the blame fall in the manager's lap?

''It boils down to everybody doing your job,'' Baker said. ''We are all paid handsomely to do our jobs.

''Our job, as managers and coaches, is to prepare them before the game. Once you cross the lines, you're on your own to play, other than designated plays that you put on -- hit-and-runs, those kinds of things.''

Baker told reporters Sunday in Minneapolis, before the debacle that completed a three-game sweep: ''Give me the horses -- and my horses stay healthy -- and I'll win.''

In other words, for the $4 million the Cubs are paying Baker this season, he can succeed under the perfect set of circumstances.

Who couldn't?

Big-money managers earn their paychecks by guiding teams through troubled times. Baker has spent the last two months quietly complaining about the loss of Lee and pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, bemoaning on a regular basis, ''I just want my team back.''

It seems that would send a message that Baker can't win with the 25 healthy players remaining. That kind of talk is counterproductive when trying to motivate players.

''No, I don't think that sends a message,'' Baker said. ''The players who are there aren't Derrek Lee. The young pitchers that are there, they realize they are not Mark Prior or Kerry Wood yet. I don't think that sends a bad message. That's an honest message. It's no slight against them.''

But it's ridiculous to blame the Cubs' collapse on the loss of one position player -- albeit the reigning National League batting champ -- and two pitchers who have a history of injury problems. Even the Florida Marlins, with 15 rookies and a payroll less than $15 million, have a better record than Baker's Cubs.

''That's not the whole reason,'' second baseman Todd Walker said of Lee's absence. ''I mean, Derrek went down and we had eight of the hitters struggling at the same time. Nobody was going 2-for-3 with a walk or 4-for-4. Everybody was going 0-for-4 or 1-for-3.

''I remember a time when somebody got a base hit and it was almost shocking. We were in San Diego and Jacque Jones got a line drive into right field, and you would have thought he had just hit a game-winning home run. That was the low point of where we were at.''

Maybe -- or perhaps the low point hasn't arrived.

Meanwhile, broadcaster Bob Brenly, who guided the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series championship in 2001, has stepped up his on-air criticism of Baker. A year ago, Brenly seemed terrified to say anything that would upset the overly touchy Cubs brass.

These days, he's on a campaign.

''I don't have a response,'' Baker said. ''Bob is doing his job. That's what he sees.''

If Brenly is doing his job, what is Baker doing?

''We're not playing well, for whatever reasons, but no alibis, no excuses,'' Baker said. ''We just have to get it done, simple as that. Please, no more 'Are you getting fired?' questions. That's really controlled by how we play.''

And that speaks for itself.

vaticanplum
06-28-2006, 11:34 AM
Wow, what a complete tool he sounds like in this article.

How can Cubs fans even defend him? He is destroying what little morale this team has left. "Well, I don't have my best players, so we might as well just give up"?!? And I watch the Cubs a lot, and that is EXACTLY what they look like on the field for a moment.

I've got news for Dusty, you can have a team full of all-stars and nothing is guaranteed. Slumps are common and injuries in baseball happen every single day (and this doesn't even get into the very arguable allegation that Dusty himself is partially responsible for these injuries). As a baseball manager, that's exactly your job, to be able to deal with these situtations. *I* could run a successful team with a healthy Derrek Lee, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood et al. That's the point.

These are some choice bits right here:

''I do the best I can every day,'' he said. "Am I satisfied with the results? No. Am I satisfied with what I try to do as far as preparing my team to be ready to play? Yes.''

I abhor this argument in anything. If you are getting paid to do a job, you are getting paid to do your best. it's a given. Period. I can try my very best to be a brain surgeon. It doesn't mean it's a job for which I'm well-suited, nor is it a job anyone should be paying me to do.

Baker told reporters Sunday in Minneapolis, before the debacle that completed a three-game sweep: ''Give me the horses -- and my horses stay healthy -- and I'll win.''

Ah, the injury scapegoat. That's fun. Dusty, why don't you talk to Joe Torre about his pitching staff last year, the one that was pretty much 3/5 put out to pasture halfway through the season as the Yankees languished behind Boston and Baltimore. Did he give up? No. He pulled together a small handful of discarded pitchers and sent them over to Stottlemyre. They won the division. Did Torre have a little bit of luck? Sure. You know one way to ensure you're never going to be lucky? Giving up and making excuses. Dusty's team may be out of the penant race this year, which gives all the more opportunity to develop a good future team with little pressure. He does not seem to be doing this. He seems to just simply be biding his time until his injured players come back.

''We're not playing well, for whatever reasons, but no alibis, no excuses,'' Baker said. ''We just have to get it done, simple as that. Please, no more 'Are you getting fired?' questions. That's really controlled by how we play.''

Well, you're playing absymally. The Cubs have the third-worst record in baseball and I don't think even that reflects how poorly they're actually playing. And for all of the "no alibis, no excuses" talk, if Dusty is fired and doesn't blame any of it on his injured players, I'll eat my hat.

It's ridiculous that I'm getting so worked up about this, but the whole thing smacks of all the things that drove me so batty about the Lindner-O'Brien regime: the utter refusal to take responsibility for their failings. Not only is this frustrating, stupid, and full of unwarranted pride, it all but ensures that the team has no hope of improving. I'd almost feel sorry for Cubs fans if I didn't know so many who continue to defend him.

M2
06-28-2006, 11:50 AM
Jim Hendry probably goes first. Yet Baker's supposedly got the team he wanted and, for me, that's the chief reason to can him.. Derrek Lee couldn't begin to make that offense legitimate. They've got a .296 OB from the leadoff spot and a .295 OB from the #2 slot.

The team can't find 1B and it lacks power.

As far as Wood and Prior go, why would anyone assume they were going to be healthy this season?

dabvu2498
06-28-2006, 12:18 PM
2 more reasons: sweatbands and toothpicks.

TOBTTReds
06-28-2006, 12:29 PM
As far as Wood and Prior go, why would anyone assume they were going to be healthy this season?

I was just about to write that and I glanced up and saw you had it already.

What a moron. If he came into this season unprepared to handle injuries from both Wood and Prior, then he is an idiot. Either that or he has no idea what effect he has on his pitching staff. Either way, I hope he doesn't get fired, keeps the Cubs out of contention longer.

Johnny Footstool
06-28-2006, 01:00 PM
Jim Hendry probably goes first. Yet Baker's supposedly got the team he wanted and, for me, that's the chief reason to can him.. Derrek Lee couldn't begin to make that offense legitimate. They've got a .296 OB from the leadoff spot and a .295 OB from the #2 slot.

The team can't find 1B and it lacks power.

As far as Wood and Prior go, why would anyone assume they were going to be healthy this season?

Yes and yes.

Baker loved Juan Pierre and all his old-school tools. He ignored the fact that Pierre makes outs like Frito Lay makes potato chips.

Jacque Jones? Hello?

And banking on Wood and Prior to be healthy is just silly.