Joe Sheehan reminds us that Dusty Baker is still wrong:
…. A few years back, the blogosphere had a field day with Baker’s talk about “clogging the bases” while he was with the Cubs. We’re right back to that point again, with Baker not getting one of the most basic things about baseball: not making outs is the best thing you can do. Baker is fixated on the end result—the event that leads to a runner crossing the plate—and still doesn’t understand that in the big picture, keeping the line moving will put more runs on the board.
…. I’m not entirely sure how Dusty Baker, a man who owes his reputation as a manager in no small part to Barry Bonds, can have learned nothing from managing Bonds all those years. The Giants’ offense was capable of contending because Bonds would draw 100 walks a year and lead the league in OBP. Baker no doubt associates Bonds with homers and RBI, but it was the walks, the not making outs, that kept the line moving so that Jeff Kent and Ellis Burks and Moises Alou and others would face pitchers throwing from the stretch.
Yeah, well, I was there, and Baker was one of the reasons Jeff Kent won the NL MVP instead of Bonds in 2000. It was Baker who made sure everyone knew what a “gamer” Kent was, how much respect everyone in the clubhouse had for him, blah blah blah. The fact that Bonds out-produced him by about 40 runs, while making almost 100 fewer outs hardly mattered. Kent got his uniform dirty, Bonds was a prima donna who wouldn’t swing at crap to drive in a runner.
Baker and Sabean are the same man, in different roles. Neither one of them has what it takes to be a winner. Everything they’ve accomplished needs to be understood as happening under the shadow of the greatest player of all-time. Without Bonds, both of them would be out of baseball right now. No division titles, no pennants, no World Series, no five MVP’s in a row, nothing. Seriously, imagine what would have happened, imagine how the Giants next ten seasons would have looked like if Magowan had gone out and gotten somebody else in 1997, like, say, Frank Thomas, or Larry Walker, or Jim Thome, just regular great players. Bonds’ greatness made it all go away, all the mistakes, all the millions of dollars thrown away on mediocrity, all the at-bats wasted on the Shawon Dunston’s and Neifi Perez’s. That’s how great Bonds was, he took a team of misfits, led by two boneheads; and carried them to ten straight years of national attention, contention, and to the precipice of a championship.
Sabean and Baker are cut from the same cloth. Both men value experience over ability, speed over the ability to get on base. Both men overemphasize the wrong things, Sabean selects the wrong attributes and overpays for them, Baker chooses the wrong players and tells them to do the wrong things.
Bonds is gone, and both of these pretenders are still earning millions. How about a thank you?