Re: Is Dusty Baker able to fool the media...do they really like him?
There definitely seems be a fight right now between the "Dusty is satan" and "Dusty has done no wrong" crowds.
Here's a thought, Mark Prior had a number of injuries unrelated to his arm AND Dusty Baker made him throw a lot of unnecessary pitches. Both sides in the discussion are so focused on using the "facts" to support their case, that I have yet to see any real commentary which accurately reflects reality.
Baker does seem to favor veterans, but it's also true that he never had a ton of talented youth to utilize.
Baker has ridden a number of his pitchers very hard, but those pitchers have had other reasons for concerns as well.
Baker does seem to make the occasional strategic mistake, but let's be careful to properly assess the value/cost of those decisions in the big picture.
Baker does seem to be a bit too protective of himself and his players. However, again, let's make sure this isn't a criticism just for the fun of it, but that we cite the real negative outcome of this issue.
I'm clearly on record as not being a Dusty fan. However, I think we should be careful not too just uncritically mimic the various complaints OR dismiss those complaints out of hand because the may be made in an overly dramatic fashion. Let's look at his actions and examine the impact of those actions in their proper context. Nothing is served by this over-heated, back-and-forth struggle between witch hunt and absolution.
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.