Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cub Writers Are Ignorant, Just Like Their Fans

Well, ol' Dusty Baker comes down from the booth to manage the Reds. This could be interesting. I don't think Dusty's a good manager, but I think he's probably the best the Reds have had since Davey Johnson or Jack McKeon, and certainly a better candidate than most of the ones out there at this point in time.

But witness this, by Chris Deluca of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Baker Back in Game

BOSTON -- Dusty Baker's biggest fear was becoming the next Cito Gaston or Davey Johnson -- a superstar manager who got canned, never to return.

Let's play "one of these things is not like the other":

Which one has no World Series titles?

Which one has the most fourth-or-lower finishes?

Which one is only a "superstar manager" in the minds of inane Cub fans?

But after a year away from the dugout -- after he was dismissed by the Cubs -- Baker made his return Saturday night, agreeing to a three-year deal to manage the Cincinnati Reds, a deal expected to be formally announced today.

It's a hire that promises to spice things up in the National League Central, where the Cubs are the reigning champions.

Not unless the Reds get two more starters, re-sign Adam Dunn, and have a bullpen that can get batters out, it sure won't.

The manager with a West Coast tilt has landed right back in the Midwest. And Baker is tentatively scheduled to make his Wrigley Field return to start the Cubs' second homestand of 2008, on April 15.

Yay! You're setting up a column to write next April. For you non-media people, this is called a "teaser".

When Baker signed on last October to become an analyst for ESPN, he made a point of stressing to the Sun-Times that this was a ''nice, temporary gig.''

I caught up with Baker at the 2006 World Series in Detroit, and he was already thinking ahead to his next managerial job -- wherever that might be. He lobbied hard last offseason for the Washington Nationals spot that eventually went to Manny Acta.

Then he spent a year honing his studio skills with ESPN.

I wonder how much skill he actually honed. My guess is that he sat around and offered "seasoned baseball opinions" about important things like "clogging the bases" and didn't hone anything. Maybe he whitened his teeth or something.

Though he was shocked by the amount of money the Cubs spent immediately after he was sent packing, Baker was anything but bitter. Instead, he firmly believed his four years on the North Side were a great education.

I hope, if I am ever fired from a job, I can say the same. Dusty actually seems like a pretty level-headed guy, and I think that's a positive asset.

Baker inherits a Reds team that hasn't reached the playoffs since winning the Central with an 85-59 record in the strike-shortened 1995 season and hasn't had a winning record since going 85-77 to finish second in 2000.

Well, the Reds did tie for the wild-card in 1999, and were leading the NL in 1994, but I do buy the overall point of this sentence, which is that the Reds haven't had a lot of success recently.

The Reds have plenty of work to do to make some noise in an NL Central that is expected to feature a strong Cubs team, an even stronger Milwaukee Brewers club and a rebuilt St. Louis Cardinals.

Three totally unsupported allegations. I guess the Cubs could be as strong next year, if Ted Lilly can continue to pitch much higher than his career numbers would indicate. I don't know why the Brewers might be stronger, except that their core young players have another year. And I don't have any idea why he suggests the Cards will be better or rebuilt, seeing as they FIRED THEIR GENERAL MANAGER last week.

Baker will encounter a young team -- an area in which he has struggled. The rotation is spotty beyond veterans Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, though top prospect Homer Bailey is expected to nail down a spot. The Reds had the worst bullpen in the NL and the lineup -- as always -- depends on the health of future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.

1. The rotation sucks. Obvious point, Chris.

2.Bullpen sucks. Obvious point, Chris.

3. This is why we have the label WRONG. The Reds' lineup success depends as much on Adam Dunn's 136 OPS+ returning to the lineup and Brandon Phillips having another 30-30 season. It could depend on the emergence of Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto, or Josh Hamilton. Ken Griffey Jr., while a good player capable of carrying a team for a time, is NOT the sole dependent factor in the Reds' offensive success next year. WRONG!

Baker -- a three-time NL Manager of the Year -- takes a 1,162-1,041 career record to Cincinnati after stints with the San Francisco Giants (1993-2002) and Cubs (2003-06). He took the Giants to the 2002 World Series, then took the Cubs to the NL Championship Series the next season.

In my opinion, Barry Bonds having possibly the greatest offensive season in all of baseball history was what took the Giants to the Series in 2002, not Dusty Baker. In my opinion, the starting staff of the 2003 Cubs (the top 4, while throwing over 200 innings, posted ERAs of 2.43, 3.11, 3.20, and 4.11) took them to the NLCS.

In Chris Deluca's opinion, Dusty Baker took them there. Well, maybe Dusty made the plane reservations or something.

[boring stuff omitted]

''Hey, man, I'll be back,'' Baker promised a year ago, ''and I'll be back even better than I was.''

Reds fans hope so!

1 comment:

pnoles said...

Brewers will be better. No way Capuano's this bad. Gallardo, Fielder, Braun, Hardy, Weeks have another year of experience. Braun will not be killing the team by playing 3B, and he'll be an outfielder. They are going to sign a good free agent with their excess revenue (possibly Rowand). But then again, I have a minor obsession with the Brewers.

This development confirms Chris W's earlier assertion that yes, the NL is for Dusty Bakers and dan-bobs.