One Man Army
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Managerial search update(s) Could it be Dusty?
Speaking as a Cubs fan, you want absolutely no part of Dusty Baker as a manager. If he gets the job, here's what you can expect...
-First and foremost, he runs an incredibly veteran-friendly clubhouse. Some people think he's good for team chemistry. He lets the veterans go about their business and do what they want. Some guys naturally police and lead, while others go about their business.
Here's the problem, though. There's no accountability among veterans. Guys would lash out at the media and fans whenever the team was struggling, blaming them for whatever was ailing the team. Moises Alou and Kent Mercker reportedly once called the WGN TV booth during a broadcast and ripped Steve Stone and Chip Caray for pointing out problems with the team. Certain players and Dusty himself would come out and claim that race was behind a number of criticisms.
It's one thing when a team is defending itself against unwarranted criticism. It's another thing when there's no accountability. Speaking of which...
-Prepare for the excuses. Some personal favorites...
"We could have contended if we didn't have certain guys injured."
"Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the opposing team."
"If we had gotten a few lucky bounces, the game would have turned out differently."
You won't hear Dusty criticize his veterans in public. He won't call them out. He won't bench them unless faced with enormous pressure.
-Conversely, rookies and young players will be buried. Unless a guy is clearly head and heels above everyone else, Dusty will almost always favor the veteran. He seemed to do this particularly with position players, but he occasionally did it to pitchers. I can run off a list of scrubs Dusty would trot out in favor of promising rookies day after day. Moreover, these guys will be publicly called out and ripped. Corey Patterson had it pretty hard for baserunning blunders while Moises Alou would get off scot-free.
-Moreover, there will be inexplicable lineup moves. If you have terrible veteran bench players, Dusty will find a way to use them and use them often. He will hit them at the top of the order. Off the top of my head, Dusty has given significant playing time to such luminaries as Neifi Perez, Jose Macias, Lenny Harris, Damian Jackson, Tom Goodwin, Jose Hernandez, Rey Ordonez, Enrique Wilson, John Mabry, and Tony Womack. There are others, but these are the worst of the bunch. None of these players at the points they were at in their careers should have been starting, much less leading off. I mean...there are some metrics which claim Neifi Perez is the worst everyday hitter of this generation. Yet..."Neifi saved us!" was an infamous Dustyism from 2004 when Nomar went down, Neifi filled in for him, and the Cubs still missed the playoffs. I might never understand Dusty's love for Neifi.
-On the baseball field, prepare yourself for some incredibly aggressive hitting. If you hate walks, you'll love Dusty Baker. "It's called hitting, not walking," is another infamous Dustyism.
-Also, prepare yourself for more strikeouts and swinging at terrible pitches. There will be times where you will bash your head against the wall because certain hitters will make the same mistakes over and over and over again without correcting it (pulling outside pitches, swinging at face-high fastballs, whatever). Junkball lefties will make you want to jump off a tall building whenever you face them.
-Dusty will irrationally play traditional matchups. Mike Remlinger, a lefty who could only get right handed hitters out, was used as a LOOGY. Remember when Mr. Burns pulled Darryl Strawberry in favor of Homer Simpson in the softball episode of The Simpsons to play the matchup despite the fact that Strawberry hit a ton of HRs that day? There will be PH moves that will remind you of that.
-On a final note, Dusty is one of the absolute managers of pitchers I have ever seen in my life. I don't care what your opinion is on either of them, but I will go to my grave convinced that Dusty Baker was the one who ruined the arms of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood due to horrific overuse and an absolutely stubborn refusal to change any problems they had with their mechanics. I'm dead serious when I say you should be concerned for Homer Bailey and any other young pitcher if Dusty signs on.
Whatever your opinion of pitch counts may be, you have to at least acknowledge there is a such thing as abusing pitchers. Bringing a guy back early from taking a line drive off his arm and having him pitch extended outings would qualify. Having your star pitcher pitch in a game the day before he is to have shoulder surgery would qualify.
It's not just the starters, either. Does Robb Nen ring any bells? The same guy who was clearly injured and had lost his stuff during the Giants' WS run, but kept on being trotted out there, day after day, only to have his career end because of that abuse? How about Chad Fox, who was put on the shelf for good because Dusty, despite knowing Fox was an injury waiting to happen, decided to pitch Fox on back to back days, including a 25 pitch third of an inning which resulted in Fox's career-ending injury?
Dusty Baker was a horrible, horrible, horrible manager. Stay away at all costs.