Call this the Dusty Baker appreciation post. Call it whatever you want. I love the guy. He might never win a World Series. He might not always make the perfect move. His lineup strategies might cause you to scratch your head by the day. He favors ‘his’ boys, sure. He’s not the perfect manager, but he’s my favorite big league manager in the history of the game.
As far as I’m concerned, I want this guy managing my favorite ball club for as long as he wants. We’re privileged to have him.
I think that managing is more then just baseball knowledge and seeing a situation 100 times. It’s a chemistry equation of managing X and Y personalities. It’s about motivating your men for going to battle everyday. If you’ve played the game you know it’s a battle, I shouldn’t feel guilty in saying that. It’s a mental and physical grind. If you aren’t playing for a manager or coach that you respect and like; you’re going to have problems. I’d say it’s easier to motivate yourself and go to battle everyday if you’re going to battle for a guy like Johnny B. Baker.
Recently Baker gave Jay Bruce the day off to clear his head, and decided that he and Bruce were going to sit by each other in the dugout and just chat about baseball all day. Who knows what was said. But from what I know about Dusty he is a very caring man. He loves his players. You watch often enough, and you’ll see that Dusty goes to battle for his boys every single time you would want him to and even times you’d prefer that he doesn’t go after the umpire.
Dusty is like us. He lives and dies with every pitch, every out, every inning. Is that not a quality you want in your manager? The guy wants to win as bad as anyone in the game of baseball. As far as managers go he’s a warrior in that category. Again, we’re not saying that he always makes the right move; but we are suggesting that if Dusty can’t come up with the “W” it isn’t because he didn’t do everything he possibly could to do it.
You look around the league and you realize that there’s few managers in the game that have much as far as credentials go. Baker’s resume is impressive even though he hasn’t won the big one. And when we think back in terms of who we’ve had managing the Reds in our lifetime, only Lou Piniella might rival Baker. Jerry Narron was a fun guy, but he didn’t have the baseball IQ that Baker has.
There was a time when I thought that Dusty couldn’t manage this collection of young, inexperienced players. We’ve heard from a good source that it’s no misconception that Dusty likes his veterans. But you know what? He’s really adapted to this young roster of players. He talks about Joey Votto and Jay Bruce like they’re his own kids. They’d both probably tell you they’ve more then enjoyed playing for the old timer. Dusty can be hip when he has to be.
No matter how it ends up for Dusty Baker, he’s tops in our book. Not only is he a nice man who engages in conversation with the common fan when you are down at the ball park; but he gets the most out of his players and truly wants to win like his life depends on it. What more could you ask for from your skipper?
Song that needs played over the loud speakers at a ball park near you:
Judas Priest– Living After Midnight
MLB Draft Update
Tuesday is Major League Baseball’s 2009 amateur draft. The Strasburg kid out of San Diego State University will end up going #1 overall to the Washington Nationals. After that the Seattle Mariners have a selection. The older we get the more we realize the importance on hitting on your draft picks in baseball. Smaller market and even mid-market teams can’t afford to miss on these players that their organization will depend so heavily on. Pay attention to the guys your team selects in the first ten rounds. If they have success in the minor leagues and gain some recognition their is an excellent chance your team will make some noise at the Major League level in a few years time.
Game day snack of the week:
Good old salted peanuts. You know with all of the high tech foods that are being sold at concessions at the ball park nowadays, Peanuts are extremely underrated. Grab yourself a bag and enjoy. It’s American, damn it.