Most of us know that Dusty Baker, former half-celebrated/half-maligned Cubs manager, has now been officially named the manager of the Washington Nationals. There is a fun thread on our Facebook page that you can follow for some interesting opinions on Dusty’s tenure with the Cubs…
Now, it IS true that Dusty Baker has taken the Cubs further in the playoffs than most managers in our lifetime, including this past season with Joe Maddon. I mean, he was on the cusp with the Cubs against the now Miami Marlins, and with my hometown San Francisco Giants, so I do have a soft spot for Dusty. He may bat a shitty player second and he may not know how to use his relievers sometimes, but generally he seems like a good manager given his track record. He also sometimes knows what he’s talking about. And most of the stuff that he gets blasted for? Well…it may not even be his fault.
Most of this stemmed from some introspection after a brief conversation with Andy. He did work with a potentially volatile clubhouse containing Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds for quite some time. He seemed to be generally well-liked by his Reds players as they made the playoffs in three of his six seasons, including two division titles when the Cardinals and Pirates AND the Brewers were actually good. So Andy did have a point, that maybe that’s what the Nats need; a guy who will hold a clubhouse together in a way that Matt Williams couldn’t, even if he has a tendency to bat a Zack Cozart second. The Nats have a load of guys who are about to hit free agency, so whatever problems they have coming up probably won’t be Dusty Baker’s fault anyway. At least he’s shown the ability to engender some harmony within his clubhouse, but we’ll see.
So maybe the Nats will be okay after all, even if they seem dysfunctional (and probably are) and went cheap on Bud Black.