Dusty Baker

Roster Update: Angel Guzman to the DL with a right triceps strain, Kevin Hart called up from Iowa.


Happy Father's Day everyone.

I've mostly been shoulder shrugging since the story came out that Sammy Sosa was on the positive test list for PED's that the MLB Players Association didn't destroy. To me it was old news. After the "Steroid Era" cloud passes and everyone in it washs off the stink, I wonder what will be the impact on what baseball should consider one of it's most important assets, the kids who fall in love with the game because of their father's (or mom's, but today is father's day) love of the game.

On this father's day, one of the things I treasure most is that my son is a Cubs fan and a Baseball fan. So when I read this brief Fred Mitchell article in the Tribune, it made more impact on me than when the Sammy news was leaked in the NY Times.

"The worst part for me is that I don't know what to tell my son [Darren]," the Reds manager said after Saturday's Civil Rights Game luncheon at the Duke Energy Center. "He asks me, 'Dad, are there any good hitters not on something?' I just tell him that everyone is under suspicion. I will just be glad when it's all over."

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:

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Dusty Baker may juggle the Red Legs' pitching rotation heading into next week's visit to Wrigley Field.

Damn....just damn. (emphasis added)

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Dusty Baker wants his hitters to hit. He likes aggressive hitters. He was talking about Joey Votto and finished with this: 

“I really, really hate the called third strike. I hate that. You're guess and you ain't ready to hit.” 

Does the aggressive stuff go for Adam Dunn, too? “Like I said, I don't like called third strikes. Dunn’s not a kid. He's not old, but he ain't a kid. I bet you he gets better. He's from Texas, right? There’s not a cow in Texas if he don’t get better.” 

“He wants to get better. Barry Bonds he always told me Dunn would be one of the best around. Comes to hitting, Barry’s got a pretty good idea.” 

On Votto: “He needs to swing some more. I talked to him about that. Strikeouts aren't the only criteria. I'd like to see him more aggressive.” 

“A lot of this on-base percentage is taking away the aggressiveness of some young kids. Most of the time you’ve got to put handcuffs on a young to keep him from swinging.”

Slow news day.

I was reading The Hardball Times today, which eventually led me to this Retrosheet page of all known instances of a major league player batting out of order.

Care to take one guess at the former Cubs jersey-wearer who has been involved in not one, not two, but three instances of batting out of order in his career? (Yes, I'm being a bit legalistic in how I've phrased this...)

May 4, 1980, Dusty Baker hit in Ron Cey's place in the order for the Dodgers, hitting into a force out that also left runners on the corner and the inning still going. Ron Cey was called out, and who came back up to bat? Baker, again. Second time being the charm, he hit a three-run homer.

August 8, 1998, and Giants' manager Dusty Baker makes five (count 'em, five) substitutions in the top of the sixth. Long story short, Rich Aurilia batted out of turn. The Giants weren't the only ones confused - the Braves didn't figure it out, but it didn't matter. They beat the Giants 14-6.

April 16, 2004, One of the more famous Dusty Moments on the Cubs, as Baker thinks he has made a double switch, but fails to inform Mr. Congeniality, C. B. Bucknor. When Ramon Martinez comes up in the pitcher's position and the Reds object, Kent Mercker is called out. Baker leaves the field, but not before throwing his lineup card (hey, it's a bad carpenter who blames his tools), his hat, and a fit.

Like I said, slow news day.

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