Dusty Baker; what can I say? He is the most notable manager
Cincinnati has had since Jack McKeon (291-259 during '97-'00 with the Reds).
Upon his signing in 2008, I felt it gave the Reds some instant credibility.
He took over a franchise that was in complete shambles (514-620 during
'01-'07) and in the third year of his tenure, the Reds are coming together
as one of MLBís best teams. You would think fans would start to take notice,
but all we can seem to do is wait for him and the team to fail.
I myself, am a Dusty fan. I think a young team looks up to his leadership,
fire, and positive attitude.
The two time all-star and 1981 Gold Glove recipient had a very solid career
as a player (.278 AVG, 320 2B, 242 HR). The Reds skipper also served six
years in the military (1969-75). So why is it that every time I tune into a
local sports show, all I hear is negativity from callers and hosts? Donít
give me that lame Kerry Wood and Mark Prior bit. You have seen Dusty be
nothing short of careful with the use of young arms such as Johnny Cueto
(averaged 173 IP in '08 and '09) and Homer Bailey (113.1 IP in '09) early in
their careers. Donít give me the ďheís not a winnerĒ speech either.
As a player Dusty was part of the 1981 L.A. Dodger championship team and he
currently owns a
victorious 1363-1254 managerial record. Between the three teams Dusty has
managed (Giants, Cubs, and Reds); one went to a World Series ('02 Giants),
one was five outs away ('03 Cubs), and the other is on the up and up for the
first time in 15 years. The fact that he has only managed three teams and
you know who he is speaks volumes.
Now in his third season, the Reds are looking good and Dusty is still
looking for respect in the eyes of Wild Man Walker, Ken Broo, and various
other local sports personalities. Are we never happy or do we need to hunt
for reasons to criticize? I think it would be a great accomplishment just to
make the playoffs at this point, but fans and local media will destroy Dusty
if we fall anything short of a championship after only a half a season of
success. By no means am I saying that Dusty Baker is the best manager in the
world, I just wish fans would realize the mess that Bob Castellini inherited
and the strides made to compete in a short period of time.
The Reds have new ownership and a new established GM in Walt Jocketty. Dusty
is only a small piece of the cherry pie. Finally, we have players left and
right coming out of our own farm system like Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, and
Travis Wood etc... I have been a Reds fan my entire life and have seen
everything from terrible ownership to terrible manager hires. Take Bob Boone
for example if you want to talk about lineups (a famous pet peeve of Reds
fans). Can you remember Boone batting Adam Dunn leadoff in 2003? Enough said
for me. It's tough to recall such an uproar over a manager in Cincinnati
during recent history.
What a bunch of ingrates. Itís funny that Wild Man Walker and Ken Brooís
opinions are not shared with the national media. If you tune into
Baseball Tonight, you will hear more professional opinions and will hear
Dusty and his organization getting their due. I canít help but imagine that
if Joe Torre was in his third year of managing a small market team like the
Reds and was successful, he may be overly praised by these local
know-it-alls. You can take what you want from that statement and will
probably be right, just donít take away my Dusty Baker.