Originally Posted by M2
Well, if pointing out that he's done a few things right along the way too makes one an apologist, then I'll happily be considered an apologist. The black/white on this has been absurd.
"Pitcher-abusing." The prime examples here are Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, and they are both bad ones. Prior's injury history is (a) colliding with Marcus Giles; (b) blowing an Achilles' tendon; (c) being hit on the elbow with a Brad Hawpe line drive; and (d) shoulder issues that might have not been properly diagnosed by the Cubs doctors and in any event might well have resulted from any or all of the three other injuries....
....He did ride hot hands, true, but teams in contention always do so. Was he predisposed toward high pitch counts? Yes. Is that good? As a rule, no. Is there a trail of destroyed pitchers in his wake? Not really, once you see that Prior and Wood aren't good examples of Baker's alleged "abuse." In other words, shut up about Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey.
So which one of of (a), (b), or (c) is responsible for the significant amount of wear and tear on his on Prior's labrum? Or did that happen solely at USC? Is it not possible that Dusty putting him out there for 130 pitches a dozen times as a 22 year old at least contributed to the injury(ies)? Not according to Ray Ratto; he's saying that those other 3 injuries could very well have been the cause of an injury which is a repetitive use injury by definition. The inference being that because we can't prove Dusty directly and solely caused the injuries suffered by Prior and Wood, we should ignore his use of those two pitchers as examples of pitcher abuse.
I'm not trying to say that I know for sure that Dusty Baker caused Mark Prior's problem. However, Ray Ratto wants to not even consider it a possibility and to not to take it as a reason for concern regarding the future health of our pitchers.
The entire structure of the article is him going point by point and saying that either the criticism is wrong and unfounded or that it's justified by irrelevant. I call that being an apologist -- not taking an even handed approach towards Dusty's strengths and weaknesses.
I think we agree in principal. A lot of people, including myself, have jumped to conclusions about Baker based on heresay and/or a very cursory look at the available record of evidence. But to suggest that we have no reason for concern based on his past actions is just ignorant. In fact, Ratto would have us use the standings as our primary judgment tool of managers, and frankly I think that's a really naive way to approach manager evaluation.