Bigger Than "The Thrilla In Manilla" or "The Rumble In The Jungle," It's "The Reunion At Wrigley!"

Do you remember that supercharged night back in 1999 when former Cub manager Jim Lefebvre, then manager of the Brewers, returned to Wrigley Field for the first time as skipper of another club, in a much anticipated showdown with Jim Riggleman?

I don't either.

But Johnnie B. Baker, Jr., is no Jim Lefebvre, and Lou Piniella is no Jim Riggleman. These guys are managerial heavyweights, and as much as Baker and Piniella claim there is nothing special about Baker's return to Wrigley beside the fact that both the Reds and Cubs will be trying to get a leg up on an NL Central rival, we all know much, much better.

Here, then, is a comparison to help you distinguish the combatants:

  Dusty Baker Lou Piniella
Age 58 64
Ht. 6-2 6-2
Wt. Way more than 187 lbs. Way, WAY more than 198 lbs.
Playing Record
19 yrs., .278 BA, 242 HR 18 yrs., .291 BA, 101 HR
Managerial Record
15 yrs., 1168-1048 (.527)
3 times NL Mgr of the Year
3 division titles
1 NL Pennant
21 yrs., 1611-1502 (.518)
2 times AL Mgr of the Year
5 division titles
1 World Series
Record as Cubs Manager
4 yrs., 322-326, .492 2 yrs., 92-82, .529
High Point
Almost reaching '03 World Series ???
Low Point
Almost reaching '03 World Series ???
Endearing Quirk
Toothpick-chewing Base-throwing
Commonly Used Noun "Dude" "Fellas"
In His Corner Chris Speier
Dick Pole
Darren Baker
Matt Sinatro
When He's On The Defensive
Brings Darren into
post-game press conferences
Gets loud and sarcastic
Quote "My name is Dusty. It's not
"What the hell do you

isn't working? You see
the damn game!



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I remember the Lou quote. What was it, his 10th or 11th game as manager and you already got the feeling the honeymoon was over between him and the local sports media.

That was awesome to see after years of a manager who, if you didn't know any better, looked like he didn't care.

- Great post, btw... very funny.

Thanks. Yes, the eruption came after his 9th game (4/13/07), when the Cubs dropped to 3-6. Here's the box:

So far the Angel Pagan face-off between Charlie and the Big Lowitsky is tilting pretty heavily towards Charlie.

Angel Pagan is looking pretty good so far but there's a lotta season left.

I had a face-off over Angel Pagan?

Oh... and if you really believe that Pagan is going to maintain a 159 OPS+, I have a bridge to sell you.

Is it in New York? I hear they've got good ball players there!

Yea... it is called the Pagan Bridge. It is is Queens somewhere.

And they do have good baseball players in New York. And good Angels. And good Pagans.

But Angel Pagan is not not one of the good baseball players.

Yeah, that OPS+ is not likely to last. But I still suspect that Pagan trade will look dumb, if only because the guys we get will turn out to be absolutely nothing and Pagan will turn out to be roughly the equivalent of Reed Johnson. Roughly.

Ps. When I saw that a "face off" I was involved in was referenced I realized that I need a better moniker. "Charlie" is just totally over-matched by "The Big Lowitski."

from ESPN

After tossing six more scoreless innings in Class-A Monday, 19-year old Korean right-hander Dae-Eun Rhee is now 3-0 with a 0.56 ERA. Rhee has good stuff and is advanced for his age. He's establishing himself as one of the Cubs' top pitching prospects.

A.Phil - this guy good then?

I would disagree with the low point of Dusty Baker. I would say it would be everything from the Met series at the end of '04 until he was fired.

Just to be factual, Dusty was not fired.


That's just manny being manny.

before Dusty was told his services were no longer required by this organization.


How 'bout the entire '06 season when the Cubs finished behind, uh, everybody?

Or how 'bout the press conference when he talked about putting Matt Murton in a platoon with Freddy "Boom Boom" Bynum? Or how 'bout the week or two when he actually did put Matt Murton in a platoon with Fast Freddy "Boom Boom" Bynum?

Somewhere there should be a mention about allowing your starters to throw until their arm sockets pop out, contrasted with Lou's ominous visit to the mound when Dempster was on the verge of blowing an early season game in the last innings last year.

number of starters in entire managerial career sent to surgery: 1, mark prior.

...and that wasn't solely his work nor can it be placed directly on him.

go figure.

Tell Mariotti that so he'll shut up.

hell, who doesn't spout it?

it's his rep, deserved or not. public perception owns the statement, true or not.

he's got a hell of a rep. for not playing kids that's pretty unfounded based on 1- what those "wasted kids" ended up doing 2- how other managers who don't have that tag do the same thing but get a pass (bobby cox, for instance...he's played a lot of kids, but look at what j.shur. had to take away from him for that to happen).

and while people love to talk about dusty and kids...dusty and one wants to talk about how dusty has given a lot of young pitchers chances who HAVE gone on to have long careers.

I don't care to get into this one today...but Kerry had some surgery too.

Livan, Russ Ortiz, Jason Schmidt...not the same pitchers they once were. Clement had some surgery eventually too.

Who's fault? whatever...

some articles of people willing to do the research. 

i wouldnt give you livan, ortiz, or schmidt, myself...wood, no.

btw, having guys like livan and ortiz around isnt gonna help anyone's arguement about pitch counts seeing as they're guys who are built for that kinda work.

also those guys pitched for years after leaving SF and hey, those new/bright/non-dusty managers sure used them as hard or harder...for years.

no, i dont think kerry wood throwing an extra 5-10 pitches here and there did more damage to his arm that wasn't already inherently there.

well maybe they'd get injured anyway, maybe they wouldn't of if someone showed some restraint early in their careers. Is it Dusty's fault? probably not...could be though.

Definitively claiming Dusty isn't at fault is as equally absurd as claiming that he is...

best to err on the side of caution though with young one can argue that Dusty did that.


it's probably got everything to do with the luck of the draw, but I'll take four pitchers making 30+ starts last year and Lou pulling guys early, over keeping them in over 120+ and injuries year after year.

it just seems smarter...

Where Mark Prior, just comming back from his 2nd injury shutdown of the season. Was painfully to watch, circa 2003 Bartman game.Made to go 130 plus at a point where the cubs needed a Roadmap to find a playoff race. Whether it was direct correlation or just a random occurance. Dusty had a moral obligation to keep his pitching healthy. And he forgot to do it..... Dude.

thought he K'd more guys early in his career, but I was mistaken. Just a huge loss in velocity, but rather consistent career when you look at the numbers. 

I was just throwing a few names out there, I really don't think Dusty is any different than 90% of the managers out there.



Everyone knows Dusty was calling Riggs from his SF dugout to tell him to keep Wood in games to achieve BS K records.

Manny is technically correct. However, when your contract runs out and you're not asked back (and Dusty apparently asked for a one-year "final chance" deal), it's a matter of semantics at that point.

CUBNUT: Thanks for this. However, I really think you could have done a bit more with Dusty's - ahem - Bench Coach while here: : "Dick Pole"

Who is the largest, Dick Pole, Matt Sinatro, or Antonio Alfonseco?

Big Dick.

Sullivan, clearly trying to get back at Lou for ditching some press conferences which means he actually has to think to write an article, takes a look at some of the "fiction" behind Dusty....

Kidding around...pretty good piece although just relying on players quotes isn't a fair analysis. But at least we know the players don't blame Dusty...

Or were they just being "professional"?

It's a good question. If I'm paid a lot of money to do a high end job by a company and media comes sniffing around looking for dirt on a member of the management team no longer employed and if I want to make sure my value doesn't decrease significantly, I sure as hell don't talk smack.

This is an era of huge contracts, agents, and corporatism in MLB. I think people forget that when they assume a manager is beloved because no one has anything bad to say about him on the record.

however anyone cares to try and spin this one, I think Dusty is well-respected and liked by most of his ballplayers.

Same goes for Lou...

the same does not go for Larry Bowa or Ken Macha though. 

Rob G... you let me have my fun. It's much more cathartic to blame '06 on Dusty.

Yeah, whatever Dusty's faults are, his players tend to love him.

I lost respect for Theriot for this quote: "Neifi was a great player, and a proven veteran, a guy that did a lot of good things for a long time."

That might be taking "professional" too far.

How professional is it to be high during an interview?

The truth will come out later that Theriot was actually talking about Neifi's poker-playing abilities.

Who is Theriot allowed to talk smack about? Slap-hitters should compliment everybody until they win an MVP. Then they can say what they want.

More Tale of the Tape:

Pet Player:
Dusty: Neifi!
Lou: The Riot!

Lineup strategy:
Dusty: Speed and contact in the 2 spot; OBP need not apply
Lou: Whoever the fuck is hitting, gets to play

Thoughts on rookie position players:
Dusty: Vermin
Lou: If they can hit, they can play

Thought on rookie pitchers:
Dusty: Those arms have a lot mileage, let's use it all up
Lou: Throw a fucking strike already!

162 game strategy
Dusty: It's a long season, pace yourself
Lou: A win today is one less win later on (except Game 1 of the NLCS)


or Whack-A-Lou

or this crappy baseball game where you can't throw a strike

yea Internets...

It is freakin' impossible to throw a strike in that Shockwave game. Holy Cow, now I know how Rich Hill feels.

high 40's for tonight, but 20 mph wind from the south-southwest...

Not the same, but Hendry was on ESPN 1000 for an hour today at Morton's Steakhouse for the appropriately named(Hello Manny!) "Lunch with a Legend". :-)

It's part of a series on ESPN1000, each month they have a Chicago Sports "legend" on the air to take questions from Mark Silverman and former Bear tackling dummy Tom Waddle.

After the people stop gorging themselves with meat and various cheeses they can ask said legend questions.

I didn't hear the whole show today, but here is the podcast-

what, no love for CPat's return to Wrigley?

Well, who are we going to match C-Pat up against, Pie, Reed, or Fukudome? I think most of us would like to avoid anymore C-Pat to Pie comparisons, no?

Actually, I just think most of us who liked C-Pat (though even I was disappointed when he never learned to take a walk and when batting average plumetted) would like to pretend he wasn't booed out of town. And I think most of Cubdom, regardless of whether they liked C-Pat from 2004 onward or not, would like to forget that can't-miss prospects can end up valueless.

I hope Dempster drills Dusty in the head with the first pitch. Screw Dusty.

The best outcome for this series would be for the Cubs to sweep Cincy, and everytime we score a run we run over in front of the Reds dugout and moon Dusty's retarded ass.

Somebody sounds a little angry....

Heads up to out of towners who aren't aware of the weather in Chicago. It's pretty windy today. Tom Skilling, WGN weatherman, this morning predicted sustained winds of 25-30mph tonight blowing out to dead center and 35-42mph tomorrow night. I don't think the wind is blowing that hard out where I live but I'm a long way from the park. We could see some high scoring games tonight and tomorrow.

Whoa. That's some wind.

Thanks for the info.

Great post indeed, but I'm officially protesting the spelling of Manila. See my signature.

Recent comments

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  • FYI: Here's a good link explaining the differences in pitching WAR between Fangraphs and Basebell Reference.

    Rob G. 14 min 57 sec ago view
  • ERA is just FIP with defense and luck. That being said if Hendricks gets his ERA under 2.00, he may have a legit shot.

    That all being said I was looking at Fangraphs WAR and I should have been looking at Basebell Reference WAR because more voters use that. My bad and happy to admit my mistake unlike some people around here that shall not be named (just kidding CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH!)

    Rob G. 18 min 9 sec ago view
  • Yes. That is something up with which we will not put.

    fullykräusened 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • Right, then. Moving forward lets focus on simple declarative sentences, subject-verb agreement, and watch out for punctuation. Avoid prepositions at the end of sentences.

    Jackstraw 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • I love sabremetrics and think FIP and WAR can definitely predict future success. For the Cy though which is an award for current success I do think ERA and WHIP have a place. Also while Hendricks doesn't have the strikeouts he does have the highest soft hit contact and second lowest hard hit contact which does a lot to take fielding skill out of it.

    To me if the ERA is close FIP and WAR should be used but right now its not. That said I agree with you Hendricks won't get it.

    johann 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • Can't get soft just because we have a big lead!

    billybucks 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • kershaw will be lucky to put in 160+ip. even though it projects to be an awesome 160+ip it's going to be extremely difficult for him to do much with that. he's still got minor league rehab game(s) to go through and he's only stretched out to 2ip with his last simulated may take another couple weeks before he returns.

    the numbers are awesome, but he's lost the equivalent of a good chunk of a top-tier pen arm's season in innings of work compared to the rest of the lot.

    crunch 3 hours 32 min ago view
  • Kershaw, Fernandez and Syndergaard are your current leaders and all will be pitching meaningful games down the stretch that could make or break them. Hendricks will not be and his saber-numbers aren't anywhere close to those 3 and he'd split votes with Arrieta and Lester whom all are basically neck-and-neck for  WAR and FIP. If Kershaw pitches like just okay Kershaw in September he deserves to win in a landslide. Voters are pretty much saber-inclined now so it would take a crazy shutout streak or something for Hendricks to jump in the picture.

    Rob G. 12 hours 37 sec ago view
  • AZ PHIL: With starters the likes of Edwin Jackson, even Chris Rusin or Michael Bowden could look good on their staff. At best, he is a #5-6. But as always, LH are at a premium.

    The E-Man 13 hours 30 min ago view
  • Sure we would all want consistency. He is not even 24, has played 5 (!) positions this year. Can you imagine what is in his head? He was only a part-time player at 2 spots last year. And THEN think about hitting?? Cut him some slack...You sure are picky lately. First wishing #6 NL RBI guy Russell have a better average, and now an "unncessarily fancy pick". Geez tough crowd!

    The E-Man 13 hours 34 min ago view
  • it's going to be hard to take down scherzer.

    kershaw is supposedly coming back soon, though he'll probably need a good amount of deep innings to match up with scherzer...probably too late at this point. tanner roark, bumgarner, and hendricks are probably going to steal some votes along with kershaw.

    crunch 14 hours 3 min ago view
  • I absolutely love Javy's game, and I love the way Maddon changed the perception of him as a ballplayer, but I really wish he would just make the routine plays routinely. On the ground ball in the 9th, he made an unnecessarily fancy pick. He made the play, but tried the same thing last night and made an error.

    billybucks 14 hours 24 min ago view
  • How many wins does Kyle need for serious Cy Young consideration? Would 17 be enough if he leads the league in ERA? My goodness, what a season -- makes a Dartmouth alum proud.

    billybucks 14 hours 27 min ago view
  • jacos 14 hours 30 min ago view
  • hendricks WHIP drops to 0.98 over 159 innings after throwing 7ip 3h 1bb 4k, 0r/er

    ERA down to 2.09 on the season.

    crazy good.

    crunch 14 hours 52 min ago view
  • I am pretty well fed up with the majority of home plate umps. Just terrible inconsistencies.

    The E-Man 14 hours 55 min ago view