Much hoopla was made about a couple of weeks ago when Reds' manager, Dusty Baker reportedly said:
"I didn’t come here to leave. You’ve got to agree we've made progress...Mr. Castellini told me we’d talk about it after the trade deadline...I don't want to create a distraction.”
Let's look closely at what Baker said:
"I didn’t come here to leave." Okay, I don't think there are too many people who enjoy being fired.
"You’ve got to agree we've made progress." Alone in first place in August, yes, that is progress—tremendous progress considering the Reds have not finished with a winning record in a decade.
"Mr. Castellini told me we’d talk about it after the trade deadline." If true, Baker was simply stating a fact.
"I don't want to create a distraction." Good for him. It was one comment, probably in response to a reporter's question.
He is not creating a distraction. Bloggers like Lack made it a distraction.
In a July 22nd post titled, "As if a split with the Nationals wasn't bad enough...," Lack quipped, "He’s coming back…if they weren’t going to bring him back, why would you talk before the end of the season?"
To me, that looks like Lack doesn't think Baker will be back next year. That, or Lack simply doesn't want him back.
For the previous two seasons, I was a Lack-ian thinker.
This year is different. The Reds have jelled, and they are winning.
Reds' owner, Bob Castellini should get the paperwork done and sign Baker this weekend.
For the morale of the team.
These guys seem to love playing for Baker. As much as I don't like a player's manager, he fits well with the Reds.
At least for the next two years when, for the most part, the team's nucleus will remain intact.
Take what Joey Votto said regarding his snubbing in favor of Philadelphia's Ryan Howard by the guy who was in charge of picking the National League's reserve players, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel:
“I think what Charlie did was great.
"I’ve got a manager in Dusty Baker who would do the same thing. I think any player that plays this game wants a guy who will cover their back."
If a team does not respect their manager, they will fail.
Look at this season's Mariners or Cubs. In the pre-season, both teams were thought to be contenders.
The Reds open three games at home versus the Cardinals on August 9th, next Monday. The Reds and the Cards have been battling back-and-forth for first place in the NL Central since mid-June.
On August 17th, the Reds embark on a nine game western road trip. They have traditionally been awful playing NL West teams away from home.
Mr. Castellini, please give Dusty a two-year extension this weekend.
The timing is perfect.
The players would love it and, quite possibly, will play harder than they have been.