Loyal readers are cognizant that I don’t believe Dusty Baker is a quality baseball manager. In fact, I’ve written about it on multiple occasions — though not recently. Following his second consecutive early postseason exit Tuesday night, it’s high time for the axe to fall in southwest Ohio.
Do you need reasons why Baker should be fired? I’ve got them:
• Consider the Reds arguably have the most talented roster in the National League, and if not, the second-best after the Los Angeles Dodgers, yet needed the additional wild-card in 2013 just to play October baseball.
• Consider that this team blew a 2-0 series lead to San Francisco in last year’s NLDS, losing the final three games at home.
• Consider the Reds lost their final five regular season games in 2013, all at Great American Ballpark (two versus the lowly Mets), then were swept by the Pirates when it mattered most, forcing Tuesday’s game up river to a rockin’ PNC Park, where they quickly flopped.
• Consider Baker chose to pitch Johnny Cueto over more seasoned hurlers in a do-or-die road game when the young righty had made just two starts since June.
• Consider that not only was Cueto erratic, uncomfortable and basically disastrous, many Reds also seemed lackluster and inexplicably ill-prepared for the biggest game of the season (as they were all last week), especially once Cincinnati fell behind early.
•Cincinnati is a pathetic 2-7 in the postseason with Baker at the helm. Are Reds fans satisfied with that?
• Consider Baker is well-known for ruining pitchers’ careers with excessive work: Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang and potentially Cueto, who’s been constantly hurt in recent years.
• Consider that while the man achieved success with San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs during 2002 and 2003 respectively, his in-game decisions cost both those teams shots at World Series titles.
The Giants were five runs up and five outs away from a first world championship in four decades when Baker made questionable pitching moves in the 8th inning of the potential 2002 Fall Classic clincher. San Francisco collapsed, losing Game 6, Game 7 and the World Series to Anaheim.
And Baker, even after capturing the National League pennant, was off to Chicago, where in 2003, the Cubs blew a 3-1 series lead against the wild-card winning Florida Marlins, dropping Game 6 and Game 7 at Wrigley Field.
During Game 6, Chicago was infamously up 3-0 and, yes, five outs from their first NL pennant in 58 seasons with a chance at their first world title in nearly a century. While most remember Steve Bartman’s mishap from that night, Baker’s ensuing managerial faux pas surely contributed to a 8-3 loss before a Game 7 shellacking.
Despite all this, now including four consecutive first round playoff exits, the media predictably rushes to his defense, while some websites still ponder whether Baker is a Hall of Fame skipper? I ponder why anyone will hire the 64-year-old if Cincinnati finally ends his tenure after this season, which it definitely should.