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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dusty Baker: NHL-style fighting should resolve MLB conflicts

It’s not often that someone in another sport says “We ought to handle this issue like the NHL does.” Leave it to contrarian manager Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds.

Baker, following a tiff between the Chicago Cubs and one of his pitchers, suggested that Major League Baseball use hockey’s time-honored tactics when it comes to settling disputes on the field: Let the players fight.

In this case, Matt Garza of the Cubs and Johnny Cueto of the Reds. From C. Trent Rosecrans of Cincinnati.com:

  Baker went one further: “Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with,” he added. “I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it’s over with. I’m serious about that.”

OK, it’s not exactly like hockey, where they throw down the gloves before fighting, and get put inside of the room after the fight is over. But, as with video replay review, it might take some time to massage the system. Two things: Would players who fight have to sit out for two innings, or five? Also: Does the fighting strap attach at the jock strap?

Giacomin strap, if you will.

Repoz Posted: May 28, 2013 at 09:04 AM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: reds

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4453490)
This is funny because Don Fehr, now running the NHLPA, recently came out in support of eliminating fighting from the NHL. So fighting is probably on its way out of hockey.
   2. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:37 AM (#4453518)
So fighting is probably on its way out of hockey.
Which is a good thing, IMO.

I hear a lot of people say things like "if there's no fighting, players will whack each other with their sticks", to which the obvious solution is to fine and suspend the holy living crap out of people who whack each other with their sticks. This isn't rocket science.

The other solution I'd like to see is to just continue the game around the fight. The first time somebody allows a goal because they were too busy punching someone to stop an odd-man rush, the game will change in a hurry.
   3. TJ Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4453529)
Well, if Dusty's suggestion were to become reality, Kyle Farnsworth's free agent value would shoot through the roof...
   4. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4453541)
I wonder if Jason LaRue agrees with Big Dust.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4453551)
I wonder if Jason LaRue agrees with Big Dust.


If he doesn't, then he and his overly sensitive noggin shouldn't have located in the middle of a scrum.

(Sorry, but the "Cueto ended Jason LaRue's career" line irks me to no end. LaRue suffered more than a dozen concussions in his career and wasn't going to play beyond after 2010 as a result of that. The incident expedited the end up by about two months. Realistically, he shouldn't have been on the diamond by that point anyway).

   6. zack Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4453554)

If he doesn't, then he and his overly sensitive noggin shouldn't have located in the middle of a scrum.

But it is weird for Dusty to suggest they fight it out in reference to a player who once kicked somebody with spikes on.

Anyway, it wouldn't work because the only reason you can fight in hockey is because it is impossible to really fight on ice skates.
   7. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4453559)
I hear a lot of people say things like "if there's no fighting, players will whack each other with their sticks", to which the obvious solution is to fine and suspend the holy living crap out of people who whack each other with their sticks. This isn't rocket science.


I hear a lot of people say things like "if there's no fighting, players will whack each other with their sticks", to which the obvious solution is to prosecute criminals. This isn't rocket science.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4453571)

But it is weird for Dusty to suggest they fight it out in reference to a player who once kicked somebody with spikes on.


Oh yeah, but I think it's always best to just ignore whatever Dusty says publicly. I don't think even he believes half the dumb crap he says. He's generally a good manager, but man is he loose with the inanities.

   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4453580)
Anyway, it wouldn't work because the only reason you can fight in hockey is because it is impossible to really fight on ice skates.


You can still hurt somebody on ice skates. Ask Rick DiPietro.
   10. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4453596)
You can still hurt somebody on ice skates. Ask Rick DiPietro.
I can't remember who the victim was, but I once saw David Ling literally break somebody's face with one punch. The guy had at least one facial fracture as a result of the (extremely one-sided) fight.

edit to add: It was Derek Morris. Ouch.
   11. John Northey Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4453597)
Its obvious zack hasn't played hockey. You can get in pretty good punches with skates on, and guys who regularly fight are known for their lack of teeth or replaced teeth. You just need to know how to stand with the skates on and you can do a heck of a lot of damage.

As to the idea of letting boys be boys...er...not a really good idea. Unless, of course, you want to start having 'enforcers' on the bench (a few 300 lbs guys who are all muscle) and seeing a few top players out for months with broken jaws or the like.
   12. zack Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4453609)
Obviously you can hurt and get hurt fighting on skates, I wasn't being literal. But 95% of fights do little damage because of the inherent difficulty of it. If you had 1,000 fights a season that consisted of more than just holding on and punching as fast as you could the trauma would be incredible. It is an absurd way to fight and you can't deny that.
   13. Ron J2 Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4453617)
it is impossible to really fight on ice skates.


If by "really fight" you mean effectively defend yourself, true. There is a lot of skill involved in fighting in hockey, it's just not really related to any fighting sport (unless you count Irish stand down) People who don't know what they're doing can't do any damage, but more than a few guys have had their lights turned out in a hockey fight.

At one time if a hitter wanted a piece of a pitcher nobody got involved. Problem being that the potential for a mismatch is obvious. The last time I can recall reading about a "let's let them fight" scenario was Pedro Gomez and Joe Adcock. And Gomez wasn't interested. Gomez wasn't a small guy, but Adcock was much stronger.
   14. Dylan B Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4453618)
This is funny because Don Fehr, now running the NHLPA, recently came out in support of eliminating fighting from the NHL.


I don't think this is accurate. He was discussing fighting with a number of agents, tryign to understand why it is in place in the NHL. All of the reports from this are in French so I've been seeing multiple interpertations of the meeting. Could be to remove it all together or just the staged fights.

I hear a lot of people say things like "if there's no fighting, players will whack each other with their sticks", to which the obvious solution is to fine and suspend the holy living crap out of people who whack each other with their sticks. This isn't rocket science.


There is a level of stickwork(or bodychecking as well) that is "dirty" but below the level of fineable/suspendable. Closest example I can think in baseball would be the hard cleats high slide into second to break up a double play. I can't remember anyone being fined/suspended for taking the second baseman out like that, but I think most would agree that is a dirty play. The only recorse in MLB is for the pitcher to plant one in the guy's ribs his next plate appearance, but throwing a baseball intentionally at a batter is a little more dangerous then throwing a punch on skates. Now that play doesn't happen often, but that is more so because there are so few opportunities and only to a middle infielder; hockey you can deffinetly target a star player to take him out but below the level where you can be suspended.

Now the arguements about fighting not being in the Olympics and not seeing any of that fails to understand the calibur of players. It would be like taking out Cabrera but then having Longoria replace him opposed to pro leagues where the talent drops off quicker. Also arguments against the stages fighting which I don't like at all, those just seems contrived and useless.
   15. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4453622)
Baker: "In case basically everything I've done since leaving San Francisco hasn't convinced you that I'm a moron, here is definitive proof."
   16. Dale Sams Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4453632)
Albert Belle dusts off his weights, has his son download the Rocky Theme onto that Ipod thingie.
   17. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 28, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4453656)
hockey you can deffinetly target a star player to take him out but below the level where you can be suspended.


Yup just ask Valeri Kharlamov; John Ferguson suggested he needed slashing, and bobby Clarke took him out of the 'Summit' series.
   18. Shredder Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4453704)
Unless, of course, you want to start having 'enforcers' on the bench (a few 300 lbs guys who are all muscle) and seeing a few top players out for months with broken jaws or the like.
I kind of doubt you'd see this happen. The type of plays that call for retaliation are pretty rare, and I doubt you'd see coaches waste a roster spot on an enforcer. Plus the mechanics of it just don't work. Heavyweights in the NHL don't fight little guys, and I doubt you'd see a big 300 pound guy go after a pitcher (maybe CC).

In today's NHL, there are very few if any guys in the league because of their ability to fight. There are big guys, and guys who will drop the gloves, but we're at a point now where almost all of those guys are in there because they can really play. The Kings haven't employed an enforcer type on a regular basis for a few years now, and really none of the teams remaining in the playoffs have enforcers on their rosters. They have guys who will fight if the situation calls for it, but on the roster because they can contribute. We're a long way from the days of Tiger Williams, Jay Miller, and Jimmy Mann.
   19. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4453712)
Baker: "In case basically everything I've done since leaving San Francisco hasn't convinced you that I'm a moron, here is definitive proof."


Everyone knows that Baker deliberately says crazy things so that the media focuses on what he said and not on his players, right?
   20. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4453713)
Once or twice a year somebody gets up the nerve/stupidity to go after Zdeno Chara. Inevitably, hilarity ensues.
   21. Greg K Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4453716)
Once or twice a year somebody gets up the nerve/stupidity to go after Zdeno Chara. Inevitably, hilarity ensues.

McCabe was one such would-be hero when Chara was on Ottawa. It was like Pippin trying to fight a Nazgul.
   22. Ron J2 Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4453741)
#17 True but not exactly common. How many stars have been taken out that way? Damned few.

Far more have been have been injured by some form of head shot. (Or head makes contact with boards or ice -- possibly accidentally, possibly within the rules of the game)
   23. Shredder Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4453770)
Once or twice a year somebody gets up the nerve/stupidity to go after Zdeno Chara. Inevitably, hilarity ensues.
Or once in a while, Chara acts like a ##### and for no reason picks on guy who never fights and is much smaller than he is, other than the fact that he'd been a fight filled game and was apparently upset that he hadn't gotten in on the action. So in a game his team leads by four goals with three minutes to go, he lines up as a forward solely to bully Tim Gleason, and throws a punch at him before Gleason even has a chance to protect himself.
   24. Flynn Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4453777)
I hear a lot of people say things like "if there's no fighting, players will whack each other with their sticks", to which the obvious solution is to fine and suspend the holy living crap out of people who whack each other with their sticks. This isn't rocket science.


I see one is not familiar with the gong show that is the NHL disciplinary system.
   25. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4453780)
Or once in a while, Chara acts like a ##### and for no reason picks on guy who never fights and is much smaller than he is, other than the fact that he'd been a fight filled game and was apparently upset that he hadn't gotten in on the action. So in a game his team leads by four goals with three minutes to go, he lines up as a forward solely to bully Tim Gleason, and throws a punch at him before Gleason even has a chance to protect himself.


Sounds awesome to me. Hockey is awesome.
   26. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4453782)
I see one is not familiar with the gong show that is the NHL disciplinary system.


For anyone who's unfamiliar with the NHL disciplinary system, here's a copy of the flowchart they use, leaked a few years ago.
   27. Shredder Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4453798)
Meant to post a link 23.
Sounds awesome to me.
Yeah, beating up on people much smaller than you for no reason is awesome. I'm a big proponent of fighting in the NHL, but any heavyweight who takes on a much smaller player without provocation is a wuss.
   28. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4453805)
In Chara's defense, almost every player in the NHL except himself qualifies as much smaller, so your argument is that he should never pick fights.
   29. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4453816)
Giacomin strap, if you will.


and here I thought only those of us who hated the Rangers back in the day made that reference! Actually, it was "Giac-strap-omin" in our case.

-- MWE
   30. theboyqueen Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4453843)
Baker: "In case basically everything I've done since leaving San Francisco hasn't convinced you that I'm a moron, here is definitive proof."


How many current managers in MLB are better than Baker? By my count, maybe 3 (Bochy, Showalter, Maddon maybe but with a much shorter career) but I'm not even sure of that. Again, the "Dusty Baker is an moron" meme is tired. The guy's record as a manager is outstanding.

Is the focused hatred for Joe Morgan and Dusty Baker amongst the mom's basement crowd racist? I don't see websites devoted to Tim McCarver's firing nor anyone getting so worked up about Charlie Manuel's idiotic ramblings.
   31. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4453846)
Everyone knows that Baker deliberately says crazy things so that the media focuses on what he said and not on his players, right?


Well, some people think that's what he does. I don't think that anybody other than Baker knows.
   32. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4453850)
Is the focused hatred for Joe Morgan and Dusty Baker amongst the mom's basement crowd racist?


Oh, good, this question again. Let's rehash this.

Look, I think the idea of Dusty Baker as a great manager is basically a relic of his Giants days. Since he left there, he's had as many losing seasons as winning ones, and he has routinely made an ass of himself in the press. Some people will tell you he does this in a willful attempt to keep pressure off his players, but I think that kind of Kremlinology is pretty silly. I think there's a fundamentally a level on which Dusty Baker is just a guy, and just like all other guys, he wins when his players are good and he doesn't when they aren't. Full stop.

As far as you not seeing the hatred for Tim McCarver on the internet, you're not looking very hard. I'm not going to defend myself against frankly silly charges of "racism" because I don't think Dusty Baker is a very good manager. While I tend to agree that there is more racism both institutional and attitudinal in the world than a lot of people would like to think, my feelings about Baker are much more colored by my distaste for machismo and dislike of celebrity managers than anything else.
   33. Shredder Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4453854)
In Chara's defense, almost every player in the NHL except himself qualifies as much smaller, so your argument is that he should never pick fights.
Well, he probably shouldn't, but if he does, at least do it with a guy who is a) deserving, and b) known for fighting every now and then. Gleason was neither. That a fight filled game (the Kings had some weird games against Ottawa full of fights*, which is weird for teams that played about once every five years in that era), but to my recollection, Gleason hadn't done anything of note. And it's not like they bumped and it escalated. Chara targeted him, which makes him a pvss in my opinion.

*The best was in 2001 when Adam Deadmarsh practically took on the entire Ottawa roster. After fighting Wade Redden, he skates past the penalty box telling someone (Ricard Persson or whoever was in their with him "You're f---ing next!".
   34. BDC Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4453856)
I think it's a complicated issue. Baker gets very much his share of praise here on BBTF; after a certain point, you really can't argue with success, even if the successful manager annoys you. Sparky Anderson and Tommy Lasorda had similar profiles among statheads: yeah, maybe they didn't always do the strategically brilliant thing, but there they were in first place again.

Much of the racial attitude surrounding Baker stems from his one ill-advised comment about black players and the heat, which a few do not seem able to get past; but I'd say even then that 95% of the people who remember it have forgotten about it, to paraphrase Yogi Berra.
   35. theboyqueen Posted: May 28, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4453857)
my feelings about Baker are much more colored by my distaste for machismo and dislike of celebrity managers than anything else.


You have just admitted that your evaluation of him is based on a subjective personal response. Do you really have any idea whether he is a good or bad manager, or whether he is a moron or not?

Can you explain what you mean by "celebrity manager"? I have never heard that term. Who else would you consider a "celebrity manager"?
   36. spike Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4453863)
McCabe was one such would-be hero when Chara was on Ottawa. It was like Pippin trying to fight a Nazgul.

Not to be that guy, but as I recall, Merry gives way better than he gets in his encounter with one.
   37. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4453869)
I see one is not familiar with the gong show that is the NHL disciplinary system.
Well, sure, their disciplinary system is absurd on a good day. I was speaking hypothetically, because fighting's not going to be legislated away.

Although in the NHL's defense, when you're running a league in which two losses can be as good as one win, your joke of a disciplinary system is the least of your worries.
   38. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4453950)
You have just admitted that your evaluation of him is based on a subjective personal response.


Well, not really. I do not feel that the those things contribute to winning in a meaningful way, and they're a large part of what Baker brings to the job. It's not a subjective personal response so much as it is an opinion about how to effectively build the management structure of a major league baseball team.

When I say "celebrity manager", I mean guys whose names are as big as the teams they manage, as a rule. I mean, some of them have come to be celebrities because they're actually very good managers, but a lot of them got that way more by force of personality and dint of good luck as much as anything. The classic case of this is Bobby Valentine: Valentine may or may not be a good manager, but he was hired by the Red Sox at least in part because of his celebrity, and he wasn't any good. Others include Scioscia (who I actually think is a better manager than Baker, but benefits from some of the same things), Showalter (who I do not think is actually a good manager, really), Davey Johnson. Lou Piniella was one.

I think its significant that a lot of the consistently good teams in baseball began by hiring guys who were not really someone to excite the fans, who were then competent and useful. Tito Francona in Boston, Joe Torre when he was first hired in New York, Joe Maddon in Tampa, Bruce Bochy in San Francisco . . . the list goes on. My point is that nobody ever turned a bad team into a good one by hiring somebody famous, and honestly most of the guys who are famous are compensated way beyond their abilities, both in money and media attention. Torre in fact exposed this when he moved on from New York to LA, and proved to be what he was: just a guy. He was just a guy with the Mets, with the Cardinals. Then he hit New York just as a young core was coming into its prime, won some championships, and was allegedly a great manager. Went to Los Angeles, and was just a guy. Baker exemplified this, as well. His teams finished near the top of the division when they had Jeff Kent & Barry Bonds, or the three young aces he had his first two years in Chicago, or whatever. But I don't see that he has demonstrated any particular ability to get better results than anybody else. He's certainly no tactical genius. People used to think he had a knack for getting unusually good performances from semi-washed-up vets, but that hasn't held up since he left San Francisco.

And beyond all that, the man doesn't seem to have a track record of incredible success to match his reputation. He's won one pennant, a few division titles, and no WS. He's demonstrated no ability to do anything other than fairly consistently finish second.
   39. Lars6788 Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4453954)
my feelings about Baker are much more colored by my distaste for machismo and dislike of celebrity managers than anything else.

You have just admitted that your evaluation of him is based on a subjective personal response. Do you really have any idea whether he is a good or bad manager, or whether he is a moron or not?

Can you explain what you mean by "celebrity manager"? I have never heard that term. Who else would you consider a "celebrity manager"?


It's an interesting coincidence the President at times has been referred to a celebrity president -big name, big voices, man of the people at times, both black - maybe the argument that when it comes to managing a team, much less being elected to be the President, these guys [Dusty and President Obama] don't / didn't get it done by merit but by how their name is supposed to mean something to a group of people who must be drinking a lot of Kool-Aid to put these guys in the positions where they are.
   40. smileyy Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4453963)
It was like Pippin trying to fight a Nazgul.


So you're saying he stabbed him behind the knee?
   41. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4453965)
maybe the argument that when it comes to managing a team, much less being elected to be the President, these guys [Dusty and President Obama] don't / didn't get it done by merit but by how their name is supposed to mean something to a group of people who must be drinking a lot of Kool-Aid to put these guys in the positions where they are.


Oh, blow it out your ass. I don't like any celebrity managers, almost all of whom (other than Baker) are white dudes. It's not a good allocation of resources. Jesus Christ.
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4453974)
And beyond all that, the man doesn't seem to have a track record of incredible success to match his reputation. He's won one pennant, a few division titles, and no WS. He's demonstrated no ability to do anything other than fairly consistently finish second.


His reputation? The one of him being a managerial idiot who churns through young pitchers like butter? Well yes, that reputation isn't really true.

He's been a damn solid manager, save for his last two seasons in Chicago (when he was legitimately terrible and earned the enduring wrath of Cub fans). But very few managers have a career that's better than Dusty's, regardless of his occasional ridiculous statements and Neifi fetish.

   43. cmd600 Posted: May 28, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4453990)
So Baker seems to be cool with whatever the result is, as long as his pitchers are the only ones throwing at batters. Garza and Cueto can duke it out, but everyone just "overreacted" when just one day later, Chapman also had one just "get away" and the very next pitch was some 100 mph chin music to Swisher. Baker may or may not be a decent manager but he's a punk who deserves to be called out whenever he says something dumb.
   44. GregQ Posted: May 28, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4454020)
I think that Baker has had an interesting career arc. I think that he did have some early success with scrubs in Sf but developed a belief that he could do that to any player. In the last two years in SF he seemed to become increasingly thin skinned, which was odd if you consider how light the real criticism of him was.

He moves to Chicago where he has rapid success but increasingly falls in love with playing who obviously do not deserve it. Also I think in Chicago he was bad with his pitchers, something that had not been an issue in SF. When the team went south he got very prickly again, and got into some stupid confrontations with the press/broadcasters.

It seems that he has grown past that in Cincy, to a great degree. I do not follow him that much now but it does not seem like there is a Neifi Perez on the team and his handling of pitchers seems pretty solid. It looks like in many ways he has learned from his past.
   45. theboyqueen Posted: May 28, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4454023)
He may be a punk, that is certainly different than being a moron. I don't really care if he is a punk or not.

He won manager of the year three times with the Giants. I would argue his Reds tenure has been as good, if not better.

The only really bad year any of his teams have had was that last year with the Cubs. I have no idea how much blame to assign to him but given his entire career that seems like an outlier. Are people still mad that he didn't play Hee Seop Choi enough? Do we know enough about pitching injuries to blame him for the flameouts of Prior and Wood?

Just taking his Reds tenure, what other manager could have done better? I see lots of ways in which the Reds could have been worse off, but their trajectory over the past 5 years or so is as close to best case scenario as I can imagine. That starting staff is bereft of "celebrities", but they have probably been the second best starting staff in the majors this year.

Look, I have no rooting interest in Dusty Baker. I am an A's fan, and his Giants team is probably my most hated team of all time. I just think the extent to which the mom's basement crowd ignores his apparent success at doing the things managers actually do is rather unfortunate. It's the kind of lazy thinking from which sabermetrics is supposed to abstain -- instead of objective data he is judged on what seems to be entirely subjective and irrelevant criteria.
   46. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4454035)
I don't see websites devoted to Tim McCarver's firing nor anyone getting so worked up about Charlie Manuel's idiotic ramblings.


I read this as Jerry Manuel and thought to myself "He's white?! How did I ever not notice that?!"
   47. cmd600 Posted: May 28, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4454073)
his apparent success at doing the things managers actually do is rather unfortunate


This seems quite subjective and lacking the necessary data to me. Is it just that his teams have generally good records? Should the mom's basement crowd just assume that all teams with good records must have good managers? How do we know that his B.S. didn't distract the clubhouse and cost his team a couple wins?

And none of this suggests that when he talks like a moron that he shouldn't be called one.
   48. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4454077)
There are several professional sports in which fighting is the stated focus; fighting should stay in those sports. Participants in other sports who wish to dabble in fisticuffs should be encouraged to take their aggression to one of these more appropriate venues.
   49. PerroX Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4454105)
Dusty Baker will soon be 16th on the all-time wins by manager list, and he's eighth amongst those 16 in winning percentage. The Reds have the best record in the majors since the beginning of 2012 and show no signs of being anything else the rest of the way.

Any rational analysis of Baker says he's very good at what he does.
   50. PerroX Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:29 PM (#4454108)
As for the comment, basically he was saying Garza sure can talk a lot of #### in the press without actually having to back it up. Men who actually might have to fight and occasionally do quickly sort things out.
   51. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4454113)
The Reds also play in a joke of a division with only one good team to compete with.
   52. cmd600 Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4454124)
Dusty Baker will soon be 16th on the all-time wins by manager list, and he's eighth amongst those 16 in winning percentage


I didn't want to get into a discussion of Baker's managerial career. That's about as banal an argument as there is in baseball, but he's been in charge of some highly talented teams. All you've proven is that he hasn't screwed them up. I'm not saying he's a bad manager, but the only analysis that says he's very good at what he does is the way oversimplified "good team must mean good manager".

And again, I still see nothing powerful enough to convince me not to call him a moron when he talks like one.

As for taking Garza to task for talking a lot of #### in the press without having to back it up? That would be ####### rich as it gets from Baker.
   53. BDC Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4454125)
Is it just that his teams have generally good records? Should the mom's basement crowd just assume that all teams with good records must have good managers?

Not at all, and there are World Champions (Joe Altobelli, Bob Brenly) that nobody, in mom's basement or baseball front offices, would think of as particularly good managers.

When a manager stays employed for a long time and makes the postseason with several different clubs, though, it becomes harder and harder to argue that he's a bad manager.
   54. mrmacro Posted: May 28, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4454133)
Wake up, Zeth, it's not 2007 anymore. The NL Central has the highest 3rd order winning percentage (per BP) in the majors.
   55. PerroX Posted: May 28, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4454246)
Wake up, Zeth, it's not 2007 anymore. The NL Central has the highest 3rd order winning percentage (per BP) in the majors.


What, and actually pay attention to reality? Interferes far too much with pretending to know it all.
   56. theboyqueen Posted: May 29, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4454322)
This seems quite subjective and lacking the necessary data to me. Is it just that his teams have generally good records? Should the mom's basement crowd just assume that all teams with good records must have good managers? How do we know that his B.S. didn't distract the clubhouse and cost his team a couple wins?


I don't have any idea what the Platonic manager would do with the talent he has had, but the null hypothesis, given his record, would be that he is not significantly harming his teams. If anyone has any data to refute this please provide it.

You could probably do 3-5 year projections of all of his players starting from when they last played without him as a manager (minors, other teams, whatever) and see how his actual teams did compared to the projections. I am not going to do this, but I think the chance you would disprove the null hypothesis with such data are pretty close to zero, especially for this Reds team.
   57. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 29, 2013 at 12:55 AM (#4454328)
Wake up, Zeth, it's not 2007 anymore. The NL Central has the highest 3rd order winning percentage (per BP) in the majors.


I smell a friendly bet :)

I guess I'll have to admit I'm overselling it here, but the division's winning percentage is inflated by the Pirates playing over their heads. My $10 b-ref subscription of your choice says the division finishes no higher than 4th in 3rd order winning percentage when the season's over.
   58. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: May 29, 2013 at 01:00 AM (#4454330)
Zeth, you forget houston is gone only one vortex of suck in the division instead of 2
   59. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 29, 2013 at 01:11 AM (#4454332)
Dunno, Chicago and Milwaukee both look like suck vortexes to me, and the Pirates are below average. Makes it a pretty weak division overall even without the Disastros.

Though I do have to admit it's possible I have it backwards, and the Cubs and Brewers' records look worse than they should because the Reds and Cardinals are really good.
   60. The District Attorney Posted: May 29, 2013 at 01:42 AM (#4454344)
A couple of months ago, Bill James wrote about a formula to rank managers. The formula was:

A) Wins divided by 40, plus
B) (Wins minus Losses) divided by 10, plus
C) 3 points for division champ, 6 points for league champ, 9 for World Series champ (non-cumulative), plus
D) 1 point for every 5 wins over expectation in a season (i.e., 1 point for +5 wins, 2 points for +10, etc.)
[Expected winning percentage = ((W + L two years prior) + (2*(W + L previous year)) + 162 W + 162 L)), then divide W by (W+L)]

It was designed so that a score of 100 was the "Hall of Fame line." Baker came out at 94. James wrote:
In plain English, Dusty Baker may well be as much of an idiot as many of you claim that he is. I don’t really care; it’s not my problem. Good manager or bad, he has enjoyed a significant amount of success over a long period of time. He won 90 or more games with the San Francisco Giants five times, including 103 wins in 1993. He won a divisional title in Chicago, and has won two more in Cincinnati.

The San Francisco Giants won 75 games in 1991, and 72 games in 1993. They added Barry Bonds that winter—and Dusty Baker. They won 103 games.

Is it unrealistic to say that that team exceeded expectations by 27 games, given that they added Barry Bonds? Sure.

But the team did succeed. It is not unrealistic to say that the Giants exceeded expectations by 15 games in 1997, or that the Cincinnati Reds exceeded expectations by 15 games in 2012. Dusty Baker has had nine seasons in which his teams have exceeded expectations by a total 115 wins. That’s a very solid record.
   61. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 29, 2013 at 01:51 AM (#4454348)
The San Francisco Giants won 75 games in 1991, and 72 games in 1993. They added Barry Bonds that winter—and Dusty Baker. They won 103 games.


This is some of the sorriest-assed analysis I've ever seen, and I don't care if Jesus Christ wrote it himself on the cross.
   62. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 29, 2013 at 01:54 AM (#4454350)
That's not analysis, though? It looks like a simple statement of facts to me. I read the whole piece and I don't think at any point did James try to ascribe success to Baker. He just pointed out, as several in this thread have done, the fact that Baker's teams have been remarkably successful.
   63. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 29, 2013 at 02:00 AM (#4454352)
Except that they haven't been, sure, that's true.
   64. Loren F. Posted: May 29, 2013 at 02:44 AM (#4454357)
Comment deleted
   65. Loren F. Posted: May 29, 2013 at 02:45 AM (#4454358)
Comment deleted
   66. Baldrick Posted: May 29, 2013 at 03:32 AM (#4454362)
Meh. Baseball is not a game of large-scale strategy. Thus, managers are pretty darn irrelevant. By far their most important tasks are: 1) preventing the team from blowing apart due to personality issues, and 2) not running terrible players out there when you have better players available.

Both of those things DO matter, but not really THAT much. And there's not a whole lot of complexity to them. It seems like Baker is perfectly good at #1 and not particularly good at #2. And he's got a tendency to blow out young pitchers' arms, which may be difficult to directly attribute to him, but probably also matters.

The fact that he appears to be kind of a moron doesn't really tell me much about whether he's a good manager. But, equally, the fact that he seems like a perfectly cromulent (and perhaps better) manager doesn't do anything to convince me he's not a moron. Even an idiot can send Bonds and Kent out there to murder the baseball.
   67. Baldrick Posted: May 29, 2013 at 03:34 AM (#4454363)
Honestly, I think pitching coaches matter far more than managers do. Pitching DOES involve a lot of strategy, and it involves a lot of complex mechanics, too. A good pitching coach can contribute real value. In terms of strategy, a good manager could be replaced by a weighted random number generator and you'd probably end up with basically the same results.
   68. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: May 30, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4455836)
I've been down on Baker since the Chad Fox Incident.

Turning all sports into bloodsports would have some merit, though. Earn that $252M, ARod.
   69. McCoy Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4455865)
Dusty Baker has had nine seasons in which his teams have exceeded expectations by a total 115 wins. That’s a very solid record.

It would be interesting to see how much exceeding he thinks the 2003 Cubs pulled off and how much further exceeding Baker did during his tenure with the Cubs. It would also be interesting to see if he knocked Dusty for those years in which his team failed to meet expectations.

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