OBSERVATIONS: So why did the Reds dump Dusty Baker?

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave wondering every day if it can get any worse. . .then I watch a Cincinnati Reds game and it gets worse.

~To borrow an ugly phrase from Cincinnati Reds COO Phil Castellini, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Except in this context, it involves Dusty Baker and it is true.

When Baker managed the Reds, many fans wanted him gone and he once showed me a cardboard carton stuffed with hate mail, many of it containing racial epithets.

And those hate-mongers got what the wished for. . .Baker was fired by the Reds after the 2013 season when the Reds were 90-72, but lost a one-game wild card game to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Fans heaped blame on Baker’s broad shoulders after the 2012 campaign. The Reds won 97 games and won the first two postseason games in San Francisco. Needing only one win in three tries at home to advance, the Reds lost all three.

Of course, the vitriol was aimed at Baker, a guy who has managed in five cities and taken each one to the post-season — San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington and Houston.

Baker manages the Houston Astros now a and won his 2,000th game as manager this week.

That leads me to my point: “Be careful what you wish for. Dusty Baker should still be managing the Cincinnati Reds and the club’s recent history could be far different.”

When he managed the Reds, Baker answered every question I ever asked, he never lied to me (not once) and many times confided in me and trusted me with off the record stuff, so I would be well-informed on what was going on.

~QUOTE: From Houston manager Dusty Baker: “Everybody knows something, but nobody knows everything.” (Baker, though, knows more baseball than about everybody.)

~How many fans have pulled out their credit cards to pay $375 to $450 for tickets for the Reds’ appearance in The Field of Dreams game against the Chicago Cubs? There is no truth to a report that they are changing the name this season to The Field of Nightmares game?

The Reds? As former NFL coach Denny Green once said, “They are who we thought they were.” (But did anybody believe they could lose a game by 18-4?)

~While the Reds were stumbling along at 3-21, the team’s high-A affiliate, the Dayton Dragons, were on a streak of 13 wins in 15 games. And their overall .762 winning percentage was the highest in professional ball, minor or majors.

Can we have the two teams switch ballparks and uniforms?

~To be announced soon, all Cincinnati Reds televised games will be switched from Bally Sports to Comedy Central.

~From Josh Campbell, quoting George Knox in the movie ‘Angels In The Outfield:’ 
“I have never ever seen a worse group of 25 players.” Added Campbell, “And then the 2022 Cincinnati Reds came along.”

~Like Roger Clemens, Los Angeles Angels sensational leadoff hitter Taylor Ward was born in Dayton but left town at an early age.

Unlike Clemens, Taylor never said, “The best thing about Dayton was seeing it in the rear view mirror.”

Maybe nobody has asked.

~Competitive balance in baseball? Yeah, right. At one point this week, teams from New York and Los Angeles were in first place in four divisions.

The New York Yankees led the AL East, the New York Mets led the NL East, the Los Angeles Angels led the AL West and the Los Angeles Dodgers led the NL West.

No teams from New York or Los Angeles led the AL Central or NL Central because there are no teams from New York or Los Angeles in the AL Central or NL Central.

~With the current plight of the Reds, reader Larry Klug suggests fans listen to a song by Blessid Union of Souls called, ‘Go Home.’ I listened and, well, wow Larry. That’s cold. But apropos when your team is 3-and-21.

A sample of the lyrics and the entire song is available on YouTube (The song was released in 2003 and. . .you can’t make this stuff up. . .Blessid Union of Souls is from Cincinnati):

“Ball one, outside. Ball two, up high. You threw a strike and then he yanked it out of the yard.
“Yeah, now you gotta go home. You’re done. Hit the showers. But thanks for the runs.
“You bum. You got rocked. So just beat it.
You got the hook. Go home.”
~Wonder if umpire Dan Bellino thought fans paid to see him. He ruined many fans’ trip to the ballpark by ejecting Arizona pitcher Madison Bumgarner in the first inning.

Bellino checked Bumgarner’s hands for a foreign substance after the first inning. He held Bumgarner’s hand long enough for it to be a wedding ceremony. And the entire time Bellino staged a staredown at MadBum.

Bumgarner apparently used some words umpires consider a disgrace and insulting and Bellino ejected him.

Well, somebody had to take the place of retired umpire Joe West, right?

~The NFL’s Buffalo Bills used their sixth-round pick to draft punter Matt Araiza out of San Diego State. His nickname is ‘The Punt God’ because he set an NCAA record with 36 punts of 50 yards or more.

~QUOTE: From former NFL coach Rex Ryan: “We will not build our offensive game plan around our punter. We hope we don’t major in punting.” (In 2014, Ryan’s New York Jets majored in losing with a 4-12 record.)

5 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: So why did the Reds dump Dusty Baker?”

  1. Thanks for the humor, we need it. Very harder each day to follow. The organization is getting the heat in Indiana

  2. What I remember was Baker was seething the Reds let Marlon Byrd with 20+ HRs go right past the Reds and gifted to the Pirates. Ludwick was hurt and we needed a bopper. Mets released Byrd and I was also pissed the Reds didn’t claim Byrd. I went to the last series ag the Pirates and watched Byrd hit a big homerun at GABP to beat the Reds and again help beat the Reds in the one game playoff. I remember Baker making a statement that there was no urgency to Win.. he was right. The Reds screwed that up. Yeah Baker did some bone head decisions in the 3 games ag the Giants at home in the 2012 Playoff games. Like not walking the hitter to load the bases when the Giants closing pitcher was on deck and they had one position player left on the bench, thier backup catcher. I was yelling walk him. Of course they didn’t and the hitter helped beat the Reds to win the game. But when I saw Bob looking pissed at the one game playoff game ag the Pirates as they were about to loose,I said Baker will be replaced with someone better. I wasn’t expecting Price the cheap way out of getting a legit Manager!! Still the debacle not getting Ludwick’s better replacement bat was on Bob!!

  3. OK – so today lead off homers (2) given up by Greene – following yesterday’s lead off homer by Brewers. Can we say this pitching staff is a pile of ________?

  4. Dusty’s strength was evaluating players and finding matchups for them to succeed. Baker became a victim of his success finding match ups for players. Two players come to mind, Chris Heisey and Johnny Gomes. Dusty would match them up against a pitcher they could handle. They would have a big game and fans would scream to give them more playing time, not realizing they weren’t star material.

    There was Drew Stubbs who struggled at the plate but was arguably the best center fielder in the game. He saved that pitching staff way more runs than the team leader drive in. The Reds won 97 games with Stubbs in the lineup every day even though he didn’t hit much.

    Another example of Dusty’s leadership. As many of us know, Homer Bailey could be stubborn and a rock head. One spring Dusty lined him up to face the Yankees on the road, the Red Sox on the road and the Yankees on the road again. Dusty knew that those teams played their stars at home to boost attendance and Bailey would be facing multi million dollar lineups.

    Bailey was hit hard and the coaches were then able to get threw to him. He wasn’t facing a Midwest League team he could dominate with just his fastball.

    Another time early in Bailey’s career with a game on the line and the bases loaded Dusty let Bailey face Albert Pujols when going to the bullpen might have been a better choice.

    When asked why. Dusty said, “if we’re going to make him our ace. We have to let him face down the best in the clutch. You don’t want to bail them out of tough situations all the time. You may get beat in that game but it will turn into more wins later.”

    That is why I say Dusty Baker is a Hall of Fame manager and a Hall of Fame human being.

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