Dusty Baker hasn’t managed the Chicago Cubs in over four years, but that’s not stopping him from harping on his negative experience on the North Side. And his memory, like his managerial skills, remains intermittently poor.
After sharing a story about poop left in the Cubs’ dugout near the end of his time with the Cubs (who would have thought I wouldn’t have focused on the poop aspect of a story?), Baker dropped another steaming pile in a recent interview.
“[The Cubs] turn over their managers pretty quick,” Baker told FOX Sports. “They don’t stick with anybody for a period of time, because everybody’s counting — Year 100, Year 101, Year 102. There’s no such thing as a four- or five-year plan. It’s a one-year plan.”
Baker’s complaint, of course, ignores the fact that he spent four seasons in Chicago (as one of the highest paid managers in baseball, I might add). But he wasn’t done reminiscing.
“[My time with the Cubs] really hurt my reputation,” Baker said. “Ever since then, all of a sudden, ‘I don’t know how to manage. I don’t know how to handle pitchers. I don’t like young players.’ … They don’t even have a clue about it. I never heard that in San Francisco.
“I was one of the top managers around, supposedly, and then all of a sudden I don’t know expletive, know what I mean? They the critics were always looking for something critical, ever since I went there to Chicago.”
No, Mr. Baker. We were not looking for something “critical” (perhaps you mean “something to criticize”). But you certainly gave us plenty to criticize:
- You took over a talented young team in 2003, led them to the playoffs, and watched them blow a 3-1 lead in the NLCS wherein you made at least two indefensible decisions with respect to 23-year old Mark Prior that very well could have lost the Cubs the series: (1) with an 8-2 lead in Game 2, you allowed Prior to go out for the 7th inning, and allowed him to throw 118 pitches; and (2) when Prior was clearly rattled by a critical Alex Gonzalez error in the infamous Game 6 8th inning, you sat on your duff and let him – along with the team – founder.
- You presided over one of the worst choke jobs in recent memory in 2004, watching as the Cubs blew a healthy late season lead to miss out on the playoffs.
- You then led the Cubs to successive losing seasons, culminating in a 2006 season where the Cubs finished dead last in the National League.
- You routinely stretched pitchers thin, insisted on starting utility players like Neifi Perez and Jose Macias, and treated OBP like it stood for Odious Baby Puke.
No such thing as a four-year plan? You’re damn right there’s no such thing as a four-year plan if that plan looks anything like your four years in Chicago.
It already filled me with an admittedly penis-envy-tainted anger to see Baker’s Reds win the Central last year, but if he keeps espousing this kind of revisionist history, there won’t be a team in baseball whose inevitable Dusty-induced struggles please me more.