Why Dusty Baker Is Too Easily Blamed for Cincinnati Reds' Struggles

Scott L. HutchinsonCorrespondent IMay 28, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Dusty Baker #12 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts to his team's play against the Houston Astros at Great American Ball Park on September 20, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
John Sommers II/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds are one of baseball's hottest franchises, but it wasn't long ago that Redleg fans were up in arms about the club's subpar play. Taking the brunt of that criticism was none other than manager Dusty Baker.

A poor pitching performance—Dusty's fault. 

A lack of run production—had to be Dusty.

Now, though, with the Reds piling up wins, the question has to be asked: Where is the love? If Baker is the scapegoat for all of Cincinnati's struggles, shouldn't he deserve some sort of recognition for the club's recent success? 

Sure, much-improved hitting and lights-out bullpen performances have been at the root of Cincinnati's surge to first place, but it still takes solid game management to put together—and keep together—such a lengthy stretch of impressive play.

Baker has made plenty of questionable decisions this season, and throughout his entire managerial career, but let's not forget that he has also done a heck of a lot of good in Cincinnati. Managing such a talent-packed roster certainly has its perks, but it also makes certain aspects of Baker's job that much tougher.

Hanigan or Mesoraco? Heisey or Ludwick?

The guy faces tough calls on a nightly basis and does a fairly solid job of dealing with them.

So, while I completely understand that it's only natural for fans to point the finger at the man in charge, when things are going as well as they are in Cincy it might finally be time to give ol' Dusty some props.

Who's with me?