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Friday, August 10, 2012

McGrath: Dusty Baker went from Chicago blues to Cincinnati Reds

Yeah, a regular Non-Champion Jack Dupree. (disconsolate Carl Davis fan ends rant)

Cubdom’s love affair with Baker hit the rocks in Game 6 of the ’03 NL Championship Series and then unraveled like a Kardashian marriage.

Pick any of the flaws and misfortune that bedeviled the Cubs from 2004 to ’06: Mark Prior’s many ailments, a tiff with Steve Stone, Corey Patterson’s perplexing obsession with high fastballs. Baker was blamed for all of it.

‘‘Corey Patterson is a mystery to this day,” he said. “Before he got hurt in ’03, he was our best player. When he came back, he couldn’t hit high fastballs or breaking balls in the dirt, and he couldn’t lay off them. He never developed a plan at the plate.”

Criticism comes with the job —Baker knows that. But the Chicago style was cynical and personal, much of it delivered by baseball sages who never went to the ballpark or spent any time around him or his team.

Repoz Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:03 AM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, reds

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4205120)
Patterson was pretty good (hardly amazing) in 2003 but not because he had any kind of plan at the plate but mainly because he had a 353 BABIP (compared to 296 career and 294 in his career to that point. He still K'd a ton, he still never walked. He was essentially as good the next year (better defense).

And does Dusty take no blame for Patterson's lack of development? What's he for if his reaction is "he's swinging at everything now -- oh well." And did Dusty's long insistence that he hit lead off and his (reported) attempts to get him to bunt more have nothing to do with Patterson's struggles?

But the Cub fans (generally) didn't start turning on Dusty until around mid-2005. And there's not a team that wouldn't have fired him for 2006 -- that team was an embarrassment even by Cub standards.
   2. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4205170)
Corey's 2003 was pretty typical for him except he got hurt before he could have his couple of bad months.
   3. Repoz Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4205176)
Corey's 2003 was pretty typical for him except he got hurt before he could have his couple of bad months.

Wasn't Patterson sorta slumping just before he got hurt?

Or am I thinking of a different Patterson slump...since there's so many.
   4. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4205179)
Did not RTFA, but the excerpt seems to gloss over Dusty's bigger bonehead moves (e.g. waiting for Sammy Sosa to ASK to be dropped in the lineup, pitcher abuse, etc.). He's a terrible manager. Just wait, Reds fans.
   5. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4205189)
I think Dusty in order to be successful needs a really good and strong GM above him and somebody who knows how to run a pitching staff next to him.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4205190)
walt

dusty's team as a whole have done pretty well offensively and individuals have progressed under him. the two ugly sores are corey patterson and drew stubbs, guys who just wouldn't/won't control the strike zone
   7. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4205211)
For being an old school guy, Dusty is incredibly thin-skinned. He's agitated easily by anyone questioning his batting order or anything else. But the players seem to like him, which counts for something.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4205212)
He's a terrible manager. Just wait, Reds fans.


It's gotten to the point that I just find this kind of thing cute. Baker took over a team that hadn't been above .500 in seven years, and it looks like he'll have them in the playoffs for the second time in his five years at the helm. But Reds fans will soon find out he's really terrible!
   9. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4205229)
You're right; it's pointless to consider his actions from previous teams. Clearly the only relevant information is that the Reds may be headed to the postseason, and of course that must be entirely due to Dusty's management skills.
   10. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4205246)
I poop where you stand Dusty.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4205248)
How long should they wait for Dusty to betray his terribleness? It's been 5 years already
   12. JJ1986 Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4205253)
I remember Dusty constantly running down his players in the media in Chicago. Has he stopped doing that or does the world just ignore the Cincinnati media?
   13. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4205256)
Ok, there are few fans of Dusty on sabermetrics friendly web sites, and with reason. but he is not a "terrible" manager. He's made the post season 4 times, won a pennant and was NL mangaer of the Year 3 times. We can debate Dusty's value, but he has had a measure of success.
   14. PerroX Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4205271)
The only reason he's been successful in Cincinnati is Barry Bonds.
   15. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4205272)
Dusty had some good ideas, but he went too far.
   16. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4205280)
Dusty's success in 2010 was a fluke created by a very very weak schedule and I was not surprised and even called it when they got swept in the LDS and fell mightily the next season. The team he has this year is again playing in a crappy division and despite that he still has a mediocre offense. But he does have a good pitching staff. Unfortunately for him and trying to give him credit for that that is the one area he knows the least about and historically has had the least amount of control over.

He does some things well. He appears to not sink good teams or to let his ego somehow derail a good team during the season. That is no small thing but as was seen in Chicago he isn't Mr. Clubhouse. If things aren't going well he most certainly can get in the way and can help make bad things worse.
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4205283)
You're right; it's pointless to consider his actions from previous teams.


is it pointless to consider his record from previous teams? Because that's not half bad.
   18. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4205286)
You're right; it's pointless to consider his actions from previous teams. Clearly the only relevant information is that the Reds may be headed to the postseason, and of course that must be entirely due to Dusty's management skills.

It's just as pointless to only consider his actions with previous teams and ignore them with his current team.

I mean, I get it, I'm not defending him. Almost every Cub fans dislikes him, and with good reason. But it's just time to let it go already.
   19. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4205287)
Ok, there are few fans of Dusty on sabermetrics friendly web sites, and with reason. but he is not a "terrible" manager. He's made the post season 4 times, won a pennant and was NL mangaer of the Year 3 times. We can debate Dusty's value, but he has had a measure of success.


But Kerry Wood! Dusty Baker is worse and stupider than ten dogs, fifteen Hitlers, and eighteen Joe Posnanskis.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4205301)
I mean, I get it, I'm not defending him. Almost every Cub fans dislikes him, and with good reason. But it's just time to let it go already.


Dusty did very well in San Francisco, not so well in Chicago and has done a nice job in Cincinnati. I don't know why it's a given that some players can have up-and-down seasons, but a manager is only defined by his worst performance.

Cubs fans have very good reasons to dislike Dusty. The team not only cratered under him, but did so in the kind of loathsome way that the Red Sox have perfected. But his tenure in Chicago is just part of his managerial resume, which is otherwise pretty decent. I don't know why that's so difficult for some to grasp.

   21. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4205320)
But his tenure in Chicago is just part of his managerial resume, which is otherwise pretty decent.


His record in Chicago was pretty decent, too.
   22. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4205329)
So he's a decent manager. Congrats.
   23. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4205346)
You see, Dusty was a simple country boy. You might say a cockeyed optimist who got himself mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy and international intrigue.
   24. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: August 10, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4205371)
Also dusty was a big part of the stone murker blow up
   25. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 10, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4205375)
Funny how at the time, I was ready to take Stone's side versus anyone on the Cubs' roster and now, I'd even endorse Wendall Kim beating him down.
   26. Spahn Insane Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4205409)
I remember Dusty constantly running down his players in the media in Chicago. Has he stopped doing that or does the world just ignore the Cincinnati media?

I remember Don Baylor doing a lot of that; Baker, not so much. (I had all sorts of criticisms of Baker, but that wasn't one of them. If anything, he did the opposite, fomenting resentment against anyone [i.e., the press] who criticized them, to the point that his players were more focused on settling scores with the media than on winning games [see, e.g., 2004].)
   27. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4205417)
Dusty is a good manager at a macro level, but does some really stupid things at the micro level. Which is probably true for a lot of guys.
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4205420)
cubs fans have reason to resent the 2004 team. they wouldn't have caught the cards but that team should have won 95 odd games.

the defense was better than it seemed and even with the kid pitchers not contributing as expected run prevention was ok
   29. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4205422)
with all the older positional players who have done well under dusty it's pretty clear he knows how to both stroke egos and keep old guys fresh. or fresher depending on how you view things
   30. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4205429)
Either that or he knows how to dispense steroids.
   31. Spahn Insane Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4205430)
cubs fans have reason to resent the 2004 team. they wouldn't have caught the cards but that team should have won 95 odd games.

I almost added that in my parenthetical in post 26--they weren't as good as the Cards, but they should've won 95 games and run away with the wildcard.
   32. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4205435)
Hell, the 2005 team could have made the Wild Card very interesting as well.
   33. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4205500)
And the 2011 Red Sox should have won 95 games and walked away with the Wild Card. Does that mean Francona is a bad manager?
   34. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4205539)
I like how everyone always points to W-L record when discussing the manager, like there's always a direct correlation. Seriously, it's cute.
   35. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4205612)
chris

dusty has managed almost 3000 games in the major leagues. that has some significance.

   36. smileyy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4205651)
I like how everyone always points to W-L record when discussing the manager, like there's always a direct correlation. Seriously, it's cute.


It tells me that a manager is good at identifying teams to manage!

I think Dusty makes $5M this year. Would the Reds be better with a $1M manager, and an extra $4M in salary? How much marginal value is Dusty adding to what appears to be a fairly but not massively talented team?

(Those are legitimate questions I have, not veiled aspersions)
   37. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4205670)
Hey, 4 million is just enough to sign Neifi Perez or Tom Goodwin.
   38. Swedish Chef Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4205675)
I like how everyone always points to W-L record when discussing the manager, like there's always a direct correlation. Seriously, it's cute.

Not as cute as relying on bitter Cubs fans as the only evidence.
   39. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4205679)
You see, Dusty was a simple country boy. You might say a cockeyed optimist who got himself mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy and international intrigue.


You've been reading one too many Dusty Baker articles.
   40. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4205684)
Not as cute as relying on bitter Cubs fans as the only evidence

Hey, I didn't like him even before there was talk of him coming over to the Cubs.
   41. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 10, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4205701)

Not as cute as relying on bitter Cubs fans as the only evidence.
count me as one of the bitter Cubs fans but here is how I saw Dusty:
Pros: He was a great manager from the 9th inning to the 1st inning, he knew how to get the most out of a lot of his players and diverted attention away from them when it was not good attention. His player knew what to expect from him and in turn he knew what to expect from him (according to interviews). With his position players he seemed to play for the season and not day by day, meaning he rested appropriately and didn't panic with bad spells.

Cons: taught that walks were something out of the hitters control, constructed line-ups based on old principles (speed at the top of the order regardless of obp). He was not patient with position player rookies, was a little more patient with young pitchers though. Left pitchers in after they should have been taken out way too much, was not good at getting everyone in the bullpen enough work to keep sharp but would ride the "hot hand" forever. Not a great tactician, horrible manager from inning 1 to 9.


As frustrating as he was he was still, sad to say, one of the better Cubs managers in my lifetime, but the man had large pros and large cons.
   42. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 10, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4205702)
I am agnostic on Dusty Baker's abilities as a manager, but circa 2012 with many of the duties that used to fall to the manager now kicked upstairs to the GM desk, it seems reasonable to think that any lineup regular or regular starting pitcher has a bigger impact on the team's fortunes than does the manager. And so counting up the wins and losses for the manager doesn't seem to be a particularly reliable way of evaluating one, since counting up Skip Schumaker and Troy Tulowitzki's wins and losses wouldn't give you much of an idea of their abilities. Clay Bellinger's lifetime winning percentage is amazing.

Now it might be the _only_ objective way we have of doing such a thing, but that doesn't really make it any more reliable.
   43. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 10, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4205710)
As frustrating as he was he was still, sad to say, one of the better Cubs managers in my lifetime, but the man had large pros and large cons.


And when the end of the 2004 season saw a lot of those pros disappear, we began to see that maybe the emperor had no clothes.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4205793)
1) I think #41 sums up Dusty pretty well.

2) No he's not a terrible manager. And he's no worse than the 3rd best Cub manager of my lifetime (Durocher and Piniella probably being 1 and 2 ... and they both had pretty annoying flaws as well). Granted, that is the lowest hurdle imaginable.

3) HW is right for calling me out and I should have said the same thing. I think, in general, Dusty is pretty good with hitters and maybe especially more aggressive hitters. I suspect he's been good for Phillips, I suspect he was a good part of why ARam became such a good hitter, I think he probably helped Derrek Lee take that step forward. I'd be curious if anybody thinks he's played a significant role in Votto's development. Has he played a role in Bruce's stagnation? The thing with Patterson* (and maybe Stubbs) is that Dusty kept trying to mold him into the type of player Dusty thought a speedy CF should be instead of playing to Patterson's strengths. Patterson probably wasn't ever going to be great, but good defense, good baserunning and decent power can add up to a perfectly decent CF (e.g. Tony Armas). It's kind of reminiscent of the stories I heard about how the Cubs screwed up the young Oscar Gamble back in the day.

He is really pretty bad at lineup construction and bullpen management. Those Cub teams had some of the worst baserunning I've ever seen. And I got the feeling that Hendry gave Dusty the bench that Dusty wanted in which case Dusty sucks at bench construction and (given it was such a lousy bench) gave that bench too much playing time. Note, especially with vets, I think relatively heavy use of a bench is a good thing. But when the bench sucks as bad as some of those Dusty Cub benches did, you can't give them that many PA.

But the total package of Dusty is somewhere in the mediocre to good range. He's certainly a lot better than Essian or whats-his-name from last year (I honestly don't remember, please don't remind me).

*I'd never really thought of it before, but Kenny Lofton is probably the greatest CF to don a Cubs uni since ... Hack Wilson? I always think Rick Monday but Lofton was better. (Obviously Lofton wasn't around long enough to be considered a "Cub", it had just never struck me that we did briefly have a borderline HoFer playing CF.)
   45. The District Attorney Posted: August 10, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4205800)
Kenny Lofton is probably the greatest CF to don a Cubs uni since ... Hack Wilson?
Jim Edmonds?
   46. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: August 10, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4205807)
I think, in general, Dusty is pretty good with hitters and maybe especially more aggressive hitters. I suspect he's been good for Phillips, I suspect he was a good part of why ARam became such a good hitter, I think he probably helped Derrek Lee take that step forward. I'd be curious if anybody thinks he's played a significant role in Votto's development. Has he played a role in Bruce's stagnation?

I think it's significant that Votto seems to be the first young hitter to develop under Dusty. He may, in fact, get more out of his veteran hitters, which would be good. But who was the best position player (as a hitter) that came out of Dusty's time in SF? I think it was Bill Mueller and he didn't get 500 AB until his age 27 season. Dusty just doesn't like (or trust, or whatever) young hitters. I don't know if the Giants had any hitting prospects during his time there, but the Cubs had highly regarded prospects like Patterson and Choi. Of course, you can say that the prospects were flawed and wasn't Dusty's fault, but then you can't really turn around and say that his win% and length of career point to some sort of vague managerial talent.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4205813)
nobody on the face of earth besides dusty would bat brandon phillips cleanup

it works for them though
   48. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4205835)
Andy Pafko was a pretty good player and was a Cub for several years. He's also still around at 91 years old making him a living person who played for the Cubs in a World Series. One of two left according to Wikipedia.
   49. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:57 PM (#4205841)
Kenny Lofton is probably the greatest CF to don a Cubs uni since ... Hack Wilson?


Do you mean CF as a Cub? Or a guy known as a CF who also played for the Cubs at some point? If it's the former, Monday and possibly Sosa were better. If it's the latter, Lofton was tons better than Wilson.
   50. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4205849)
Richie Ashburn apparently spent two years with the Cubs.
   51. McCoy Posted: August 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM (#4206626)
MGL has a post up today entitled "How a manager can do everything wrong in one PA (and the opposing manager can be just as dizzy" which is about Dusty Baker against the Cubs today.
   52. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM (#4206641)
Its amazing any baseball teams win at all with how bad all managers are.

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