Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

A shot at Dusty?

| 25 Comments | No TrackBacks

During his first news conference of spring training Wednesday, general manager Jim Hendry seemed to be taking a shot at former Cubs manager Dusty Baker while heaping praise on Lou Piniella.

"A big key to us getting back on track last year was we had a manager who played the people who came up right away, which is very important,’’ Hendry said. ‘‘Lou plugged them right in the first two or three days and got the most out of them. So you don't have to have all these high-profile, superstar prospects. The guys who filled in the cracks last year really helped us win the division as much as the star players."

Piniella had no problem playing youngsters at different points of the season,  including spark plugs such as Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Sam Fuld, Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Hart.

‘‘I’ve always believed in young kids,’’ Piniella said Wednesday. ‘‘You know, my reputation has always been, ‘Well, Lou’s tough on young kids.’ No, I’ve never been tough on young kids, but I expect young kids to come up to the big leagues and not be intimidated by the situation and relax and play.’’

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


I don't have a problem with what Jim Hendry said. It's absolutely true. Dusty Baker had an issue with being way too political when it came to playing time. Lou plays the hot hand and it's effective. Dusty played guys like his man-crush Neifi Perez because he felt loyalty towards him. This isn't high school football where everybody understands playing the senior at the homecoming game when you have a better, younger option, Dusty. This is the big leagues. Managers do things to shake up the line up all of the time. It's supposed to create a spark. Lou is good at that. Dusty fails.

As I've said many times, Dusty couldn't manage his way out of a wet paper bag with a razor blade. We (Cub fans) will feel vindicated when he absolutely ruins the Cincinnati Reds.

Don't forget about Lenny Harris at 3B back in early 2003.

I never understood that part, why it HAD to be a veteran. I think you can see the biggest difference when Howry and Eyre were struggling early in the year and Piniella pulled them back and put Marmol in the big spots. He gave Marmol a shot and let Howry and Eyre work in little/no pressure spots to get their stuff back. This is especially true with Eyre. Dusty would have kept trotting them out in the same spot all year and they would have never bounced back. I'm starting to wonder if Dusty's tinkering maybe killed all confidence in guys like Corey Patterson and ruined potential careers.

Hey, Hendry: What "high-profile superstar prospects"? Is that what you think you furnished the empty bench that Dusty had to manage in "06? He was left high and dry, and you have the nerve to suggest that he had a bunch of talent to draw from but didn't use it. CYA time.

I'll never forgive Dusty for ruining Corey Patterson's career

Hey Hendry, Aren't you the guy that gave contracts to all these veteran bums year after year? Maybe had he signed some descent veterans to begin with, Dusty wouldn't have been in a situation of playing youngsters over veterans. It all starts at the top, Jimbo!

That's a compliment to Lou Piniella, and although it can be read the way you're taking it (a shot at Dusty), I think that's a misinterpretation. But even if he meant it that way, Dusty Baker is an awful, awful manager. Managers don't do that much, and there's only a few in the past 10 years that have truly hurt the team they manage. Baker was one of those managers. He only rose to prominence because he had the privilege of riding the coattails of one of the three best baseball players of all time in San Fran.

A shot at Crusty? Jeez, I thought we were watching the 1969 Cubs again, except for the 03 season. Sweet Lou is the reason the Cubs got enough wins in 07 to make the playoffs, and will be there again this year. GO SOX, of course!!!

Many of us in Cincy are worried that Baker is going to ruin all our young players. We've spent years waiting for our farm system to produce some real talent-now we've got it & we hire a manager who likes older players. We're hoping & praying he doesn't mess them up. Or kill Homer Bailey's arm.


Have you ever seen Dusty and Bartman in the same place? No? Because they're the same person!

It is funny how revisionist history works. I seem to recall Cubs fans being so in love with baker, until they saw what Brian Sabean in SF already knew, Baker wasn't all that good. A manager has to have a backbone, and Johnny B. was a jellyfish. He never could manage a pitching staff, and he allowed the inmates to run the asylum (clubhouse). Piniella is a manager that can both appease his players by giving them common courtesy, but yet they know that he is the boss, period. Any good manager, whether it be baseball or the local Jewel, lives by this principle.

Reading most of these comments confirms why I hate the Cubs and their fans. Dusty had one of the worst lineups in baseball provided by Jim Hendry and what was he supposed to do with a bunch of Triple A ballplayers? He couldnt manage? He just had a lot of superstars in San Francisco. WHAT??? Lou Piniella is not that great of a manager either if thats the case. He's not the smartest coach I've seen and the Cubs spent almost a half a billion dollars on players to make this guy look good and why didnt they do this with Dusty? How will Cub fans spin this when they lose again this year in a bad division?

It's really quite simple. Any team is only as good as its personnel.

Anybody that starts by saying he hates the Cubs and Cub fans, shows that there is a negative bias in his thinking. Anybody that says Baker is a good manager, either didn't watch him or just doesn't know anything about baseball. He helped blow the Prior game by hiding in the dugout when evrything was unraveling. If I remember correctly his 2004 team was the favorite to go to the World Series(worst lineups???). He lost control of that team. He allowed them to blame the announcers for some of their poor performances. They lost focus and he did nothing. That's his biggest problem. He does nothing. Noles is right. He built a reputation because Bonds would bail him out with three run homers. That said, I'm glad he is back managing. Especially in our division. The Reds had me worried because they have alot of young talent. But unless there is a Barry Bonds in the bunch, he will not win any championships in Cincy.

Look guys, I mean gosh - I am the one responsible for bring Neifi to town. I am the one who brought Lenny Harris to Krusty. Look at the rosters I gave him - they were full of these guys. And it is not like my farm system has produced much of anything over the past 10 years. Blame Krusty for Corey Patterson being a bust - uh yah . . . it was all Krusty's fault . . . pay no attention to the man running the organization (or the selfish kid himself).

Gotta go and bring MacFail his mocha latte (I know how much he loves them because I have brought him hundreds over the years) and try to sweeten the deal for Roberts.

Anonymous is an idiot. On 2-17, he said Bartman and Crusty were the same person. Leave poor Mr. Bartman alone. What he did was legal, and was the same thing everyone else in this state of Cubdom would have done. Moises is and will always be a crybaby. Did Bartman also boot the grounder hit to short? Did he also pitch? Jesus, the Cubs LOST the series, not Bartman...

Ahh, the stupidity of my fellow Cubs fans never ceases to amaze me. Big Jim, could it be that Dusty failed becuase YOU kept relying on Prior and Wood going into every season? Or could it be that YOU left him with Corey Patterson as a leadoff hitter? Could it be that YOU left him with Joe Borowski's bum shoulder and LaTroy Hawkins as a closer? Marmol couldn't get a spot in the bullpen under Dusty because he had to start in place of Prior and Wood. Hendry is so incompetent it amazes me. But we continue to defend him and Lou is a genius. Lou barely won the weakest division last year when he clearly had the most talent. Let me see, Lou won't remove Soriano from the leadoff spot, but Dusty is the one that acquiesced to veterans. Hope Big Z enjoyed all that rest from last year Lou, he certainly got 3 more innings of it than he needed in preparation for Game 4, I mean Opening Day.

Dusty was awful and the Reds are screwed with him at the helm. Dusty's always been loyal to his veterans -- and to a fault. To me, the true test of a good manager is whether or not young players can develop under him. Look how many younger players have thrived under La Russa or Torre. The only young player that did well under Dusty was Mark Prior -- until the overuse and extended innings wrecked his body. Patterson's career was pretty much destroyed thanks to Baker.

Baker never knows when to pull a pitcher; he never knows how to generate offense. I lost count of how many times I'd be screaming at the television during his tenure, "Dusty, do you know what a hit-and-run is? A suicide squeeze?"

I just love the the revisionist history that some Cub fans aspire to. While I agree that Dusty was a lousy manager at times, it still takes talent to win in sports and the talent got worse every years that he was here. The fact is that young players didn't do well under Baylor, Riggleman and the other victims that came before Dusty. Cub fans always like to blame the manager for the lack of development of the young players and point to other guys like LaRussa and Torre, but the simple fact is that the Cubs have done a lousy job at drafting and developing young ballplayers. If these guys were leaving the Cub organization and tearing up the league, I would agree with the Dusty haters. But when was the last time one of these "great" players that Dusty wouldn't play did anything?

I wasn't a fan of Baker, but I'd never claim Lou is a genius by any stretch. Of course Soriano has no business leading off -- we all know that. But Lou has plugged in younger players and seems to be a bit better with them than Baker was/is. Baker's reputation for coddling veterans and not working well with youth preceded him from his SF days.

And I'm sorry, but look at how many pitches/innings Prior logged under Baker, and you wonder why his shoulder gave out? The Cubs misdiagnosed him for a couple of years after abusing him, and then they wanted to paint him as a whiner? I wouldn't be surprised if Prior tears it up in SD for the next decade.

It's true that the Cubs haven't developed tons of prospects in-house. Teams that deftly avoid winning championships for a century tend to have those sort of problems. When they have had some respectable talent in the farm system -- Jon Garland or Dontrelle Willis come to mind -- they trade them away for a bag of balls. Anybody remember Matt Karchner (who we gave up Garland for)? Exactly. Garland's not a superstar, but he's a solid starter and gets you 15+ wins a season.

It's not necessarily that these guys will become top-tier players, but that they'll be productive. It's hard to ignore that La Russa or Torre teams never seem to be counted out, even when beset with injuries, while a few Cubs go down and suddenly the season is over because we're 14 games out of first -- in June. It is the manager's job to get the best out of his players.

As I stated, Dusty did some awful managing here, but there seems to be a pattern that cannot be ignored. The Cubs get a new manager, add some decent talent but don't sustain it because the farm system cannot supply the players to support the production dropoffs and inevitable injuries that will occur. I think that the point of giving away players too soon is key (scouting, player development?).

I can see the same train coming down the tracks in Felix Pie. He has been hitting in the three hole in the minors with success and now that he is in the majors, the club wants him to be a high on-base contact hitter. He hasn't been developed to fill the role that the organization wants and when he fails at the big-league level, the Cubs will dump him for some over-the-hill bum. Even if he does crack the starting line-up, which I doubt he will, he will be in the eight hole being fed a steady diet of off-speed junk. Not exactly the best spot for a young player that doesn't have a good feel for the strike zone. I can see him five years down the road tearing up the league for someone else. Fix the farm system!!!

Just because you can play a game doesn't mean you're qualified or even intelligent enough to manage people. Dusty and Ozzie of the White Sox are pure examples. Both have no business leading people! With people like these two it's alway I, I, I, I, I,! It's all about them! Nobody really cares about them! We care about the results of the TEAM! With Lou, he's a team person and can actually come up with a though process!

The majority of people in Cincinnati are POed Dustrag got the job here.

When Dustbin was in 'Frisco, a fire hydrant could've won 100 games as manager, yet he still couldn't win in the clutch. Anyone remember the Giants blowing a 7-0 lead in the playoffs? How about him starting Salomon Torres and losing 11-1 in a regular-season tiebreaker? Weren't the Giants leading the 2002 World Series and close to wrapping it up? If he was so great with the Giants, why didn't they renew his contract after 2002?

Then he comes to Chicago and he blows a 3-games-to-1 lead in the LCS. A real manager would've realized Prior was spent in Game 6 and gone to Borowski for a five-out save, rather than let him implode on the mound. But hey, the Cubs made up for it in 2004 by choking in the wild card race then not showing up for '05 or '06.

You can complain about Dusty all you want but it still comes down to play on the field. The day I see a manager stand on the the mound and give up a game-winning home run or stand at shortstop and let a ball bounce off his glove is the day I will blame a manager for not winning a championship. The simple fact is that the Cubs were outplayed in every series the have lost since '84. Did Dusty lose those games too? No, they just weren't good enough. You can blame Dustrag or Dustbin all you want, but the players just didn't step up and win for themselves.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Chris De Luca published on February 13, 2008 11:28 PM.

Cubs ready for Roberts deal was the previous entry in this blog.

Night Moves is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.