Dusty’s Legacy

Tonight at Wrigley will be a sort of homecoming for Dusty Baker.  I would anticipate a mixed-to-negative crowd reaction when he is announced just prior to the first pitch.

Despite how Dusty’s tenure as Cubs manager ended in 2006, let’s not forget the “In Dusty We Trusty” magic of 2003.  As David Kaplan pointed out on last night’s WGN Sports Central, Dusty really was the first modern day manager of the Cubs that came in with the clear expectation of winning. Don Baylor was much like his million predecessors as more simply minding the store, and not really expected to win – the culture on the Northside had been more hoping to win.

In my view, Dusty was not a very good in-game manager.  His strength was in getting the most out of his players but the X’s & O’s were mostly lost on him.  His player-centric management style sometimes works against him (ie his handling of LaTroy Hawkins & Neifi Perez) but let’s not overlook what he represents in the bigger Cubs picture – he brought the expectaion of winning to the Friendly Confines.  Now it’s up to Lou to get it done.

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    April 15, 2008   Posted in: observations

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