This goes hand in hand with Chris’s excellent post last night (definitely go read that one before it gets bumped too far down the page). America’s Best Sportswriter (TM) has weighed in on the ongoing debacle we are witnessing at the hands of our intrepid manager. An excerpt:
Still, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s this latest bit of Dusty magic that has me nodding my head in admiration. Seven times this year Ã¢â‚¬â€ and twice in the last week Ã¢â‚¬â€ Dusty Baker has led off his lineup with center fielder Willy Taveras and followed him, in the No. 2 spot, with shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something awe inspiring about it. In case you are wondering whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so special about this, well, Willy Taveras has a .279 on-base percentage this year. In case you are wondering, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the second worst on-base percentage in baseball (350 or more plate appearances), the worst being the always enjoyable Bengie Molina. Dusty is leading off with a player who makes outs 72 percent of the time he comes to the plate. His OPS+ is 49.
And then Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ he moves right to Alex Gonzalez who, almost unbelievably, is much worse. GonzalezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on-base percentage is .250 and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really not out-of-line with his career numbers (.293 lifetime on-base percentage, and he had a .229 on-base percentage in 2003 with the Marlins). He has no power, no speed and he has walked 11 times all year. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not too good. His OPS+ is 39.
Now, you really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to have two players that weak offensively in the lineup at the same time. Maybe in an emergency situation. A day game after a night game. A second-game of a doubleheader. OK, look, I have followed bad baseball teams pretty much all my life, and I know that sometimes you just get caught in a situation where you have to play struggling players.
But to lead those two players off Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ well, that takes something more.
Sigh…. This whole Dusty Baker thing just exhausts me. It’s hard work to remain indignant day after day.
But let’s be clear: Dusty Baker is not going to change. And he is going to be the manager of the Cincinnati Reds next year. Get used to this nonsense.
Posnanski sums Dusty up perfectly:
And part of me just is in awe of the fact that Dusty Baker is still Dusty Baker, even after all these years, even after all the mockery, even after all the oh-so-obvious flaws. The world may change, but Dusty endures Ã¢â‚¬â€ heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still just an ex-Marine looking hard into the eye of the storm and saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care. I am who I am. And I am invincible.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Go read the whole thing. It’ll make you cry.