I’m not a Dusty Baker fan. Many in the CBA are not Baker fans. In my opinion he hasn’t done a lot to get people into his corner. All the same, I saw a quote that made me want to shrink myself down to the size of a moth, then fly into his head to the middle of the voluminous space within, then expand myself to normal size so that I can occupy his body and take over the team. And that’s saying a lot, because I know nothing about managing a baseball team and I wouldn’t know where to start on a shrink ray. Maybe cold water?
Anyway, this is the quote, regarding giving Cedeno the job vs. Theriot keeping the job when Izturis returns:
“We’ll see,” Baker said. “Theriot has done pretty good. We’re in the producing business.” …
I don’t have a problem with Lovie Smith saying things like that, because he does it. He’s benched vets in favor of younger players who produce, and vice-versa. Also, he wins. I tend to like that, too.
But this dude is NOT in the “producing” business. If he were in the producing business, he would understand that it’s never bad that a guy gets on base (no matter how much he might clog the bases) because more baserunners means more chances for runs. If he were in the producing business, he wouldn’t have played Neifi Perez, Dusty’s personal Chewbacca, as much as he did. If he were in the producing business, he’d let Matt “The Red Menace” Murton play every day and hit second and would make Jacque Jones sit every time a lefty came into the game.
The Baker approach has many strengths and I think he’d succeed in the right situation. Guys want to play for him because they feel safe. In theory that means free agents would want to come here and the guys we get would produce (the reality has not worked out that way, but given the many variables I’m willing to cut him a little slack). Guys know they can work through a slump without losing their jobs like they would under Bob Boone, or fantasy team owners, or me, probably.
But there is NOTHING in Baker’s history that says he’s “in the producing business.” There’s plenty in his past to suggest that he likes continuity and is comfortable with seeing the same thing every day. That ain’t all bad if you admit to it.
I was thinking about how I would have rephrased Dusty’s answer and I kept coming back to this: Dusty has never presented a plan for successful baseball. Apart from riding your starters until Dr. James Andrews disciples’ eyes turn into dollar signs every time he turns on WGN, and apart from favoring veterans, I don’t have any idea what he thinks a winning team does.
What are your guesses? What’s Dusty’s BIG IDEA for winning? Please share both serious and humorous thoughts.