Dusty Baker's Good Qualities*

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIJuly 9, 2009

PHOENIX - MAY 12:  Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is helped off the field by manager Dusty Baker during the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 12, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It was recently made aware to me that perhaps I have been too harsh on Cincinnati Reds' Manager, Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker.  They could have Arizona General Manager, Josh Byrnes' lap dog manager,  A.J. Hinch.  So it could be worse. 

The thought Reds' General Manager, Walt Jocketty, running field operations is not a vision that I want anywhere near my head.

If Dusty were Walt's puppet, I have this recurring nightmare of a dugout full of ball players, all with their legs crossed 1890's English dandy style.

Tea would replace Gatorade.  Tea biscuits would replace Skoal.

It's not that much of a compliment, but I would rather have Dusty manage before Jocketty who seems to have a level of pomposity on par with the red carpet on Oscar night.

In the year and a half that Dusty has managed the Reds there are at least a few positives.

Joey Votto

Earlier this season when Votto missed time due to depression.  Many folks in Reds' country were thinking vertigo or worse.  Votto wanted it kept private.

Votto sat in Baker's office and told him the deal.  Only Baker, Jocketty, and owner Bob Castellini knew.  Therefore, negating any possible press leaks.

The Votto situation was handled perfectly by Dusty.

Loyalty

Baker is a "player's manager," meaning he knows his players on a more personal level than, say, a Tony LaRussa.

The team is just a little less a part of his family than his wife and two children. 

It's doubtful that besides Jerry Hairston Jr. he would take a Last of the Mohicans style bullet for any of the Reds.  But that is asking a lot.  Suffice it to say, Dusty Baker probably ranks among the top five managers in the loyalty department.

Intangibles

He's got class.  You will never hear him call out a player to the media.  He doesn't throw temper tantrums.  And, when not in uniform, he is quite a snappy dresser.

Dusty Baker can not run to the diamond and hit, field, or pitch for the Reds.

His job is to manage the game.  And while I do not personally feel that he is a good manager, perhaps I am wrong.

Who knows?  Maybe player managers are capable of winning titles.

*Okay, I have done it.  Please start winning some games.

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