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Dusty's Second Cub Anniversary

Sunday, November 14, 2004

UPDATE: 5:03 in the PM

It looks like Omar Vizquel is the first free agent to switch teams this winter. Omar, the longtime Indian, was treated to a royal Mark Grace-ing by the Cleveland ball club. However, of note to me is that Vizquel signed with the Giants and not the White Sox, who were supposedly the front runners for Vizquel.

(def: Mark Grace-ing (v) -- veteran, and fan favorite run out of town by an ungrateful ball club looking to go younger... and cheaper.)

Vizquel's signing also begins to establish the market for this year. He signed a 3 year, $12.5 million deal with the Giants, giving them another over the hill veteran. Don't get me wrong, (because I really like Omar and don't think he is done), but the Giants needed to be getting younger. On the other hand, a $4 million per year shortstop is perfectly in-line with what you expected from a San Francisco ball club worried about making their stadium payments. (The Story from ESPN.com)

Tomorrow is a big day! According to the Cubs Calendar, Its Dusty's second Cubs anniversary.

November 15th, 2002 - Dusty Baker Hired as Cubs Skipper. After guiding the San Francisco Giants to their first World Series since 1989, Giants owner Peter McGowan decided not to bring Dusty Baker back to San Franscisco. All of Cubdom rejoiced because Jim Hendry had waited to sign Dusty, passing up other candidates such as Bob Melvin, Ned Yost, Ken Macha, and Fredi Gonzalez. (Hendry also declined to pursue Ryne Sandberg who mentioned that he would be interested, much to my heart's sadness, and my brain saying "Thank God.").

Of course, any mention of Dusty Baker is sure to bring forth the same emotional differences in Cubdom as mentioning George W. Bush in the real world. For some reason, both individuals are highly controversial.

As for me, I like Dusty Baker. I think some of his in-game decision making is poor (to say the least), but I can't and won't argue with results. I have never played Major League Baseball, much less Minor League Baseball. I've watched a ton and a bucket of games on the tellie, and been to a goodly number in person. However, I am not an expert... but one needs to look no further than a .541 career winning percentage (.546 with the Cubs) as a manager to realize that Dusty is at minimum a top-tier manager.

A few more reasons I think Dusty is a good manager?

  • Bruce Kimm (.423 career winning %, all with the Cubs)
  • Don Baylor (.476, .459 with the Cubs)
  • Jim Riggleman (.448, .472 with Cubs)
  • Tom Trebelhorn (.505, .434 with Cubs)
  • Jim Essian (.484, all with Cubs)
  • Jim Lefebvre (.485, .500 with Cubs)
  • Don Zimmer(.508, .507 with Cubs)

Those are the Cubs managers I remember... and aside from Popeye (Zimmer) and Riggleman (who I thought was a good manager, saddled with poor players)... they were pretty much brutal. Not to mention, Dusty comes out on the plus side on any comparison.

As far as current managers around the Bigs that I would trade Dusty for straight up? (Heck I'd even throw in Neifi Perez!)? (The order may be debatable except for Bobby Cox.)

  • BOBBY COX!!! (.567)
  • Tony LaRussa (.534)
  • Joe Torre (.531)
  • Mike Scioscia (.525)
  • Lou Piniella (.523)
  • Felipe Alou (.510)

Sure, Dusty doesn't manage in a manner blessed by those 'enlightened sabermaticians,' but neither do most managers in baseball. The Cubs organization is not a Billy Beane disciple, and so I don't expect the organization's field manager to behave like he is reporting to Beane... Epstein, DePodesta, or Riccardi. Dusty needs to behave like he is reporting to Jim Hendry and Andy MacPhail, and judging from the state of the organization (compared to the early and mid '90s), I'll take the good with the bad.

So, Congratulations Dusty on a second complete year with the Cubs, give your dog an extra milk-bone this winter, and read 'moneyball' while you are at it. Like every other manager, you have lost a game or two... which means you've got some warts, but this corner of Cubdom appreciates you.

Now, lets win a World Series next year! (p.s. All of the manager stats came courtesy of baseballreference.com)

Posted by Byron at November 14, 2004 3:15 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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