Chicago Cubs: Feelings toward Dusty Baker are still complicated

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Feelings toward Dusty Baker can be complicated considering the type of guy he was and how things turned out.

It is easy to have a lot of angst toward a guy who was supposed to be the savior of the team but ended up arguably leaving it a bigger mess than when he got there. However as wounds have been healed by time (and a World Series in 2016) the feelings of angst can be mellowed.

One thing I can honestly say is that Baker is a hard man to dislike on a personal level. He is a passionate guy who wants to win, treats his players very well and just seems like a down-to-earth nice person. While I was very happy to see the Cubs winning the 2017 NLDS, watching Baker’s presser after game 5 with the look of pure defeat was tough to watch. He has gone through so many brutal losses and his team flat let him down. Really hard to blame Baker for that Nationals series loss.

Some stuff that happened during Baker’s tenure in Chicago was a combination of rotten luck and rosters not constructed well enough. Derrek Lee breaking his wrist in 2006 in a freak accident and Sosa being out due to…a violent sneeze. Who could have thought that would happen? The 2005-2006 rosters had some talent but not enough to contend, especially with Prior and Wood hurt. Bullpen was mediocre with the rotation was being held together with chewing gum and Greg Maddux who was well past his prime. At least they had Carlos Zambrano.

No, this is not going back and saying everything he did was good. Losing the clubhouse in 2004 and grinding Prior’s arm into dust (no pun intended) will always make me cringe. There was no reason to keep Prior in Game 2 to throw over 110 pitches while ahead 12-2. Seeing Baker not take action during that fateful eighth inning in Game 6 until it was too late haunted me until 2016.

Then way things fell apart in 2004 is something a manager has to be held accountable for, you cannot lose your clubhouse and see your team fall like that. Big moments like these will unfortunately overshadow the good he accomplished that first season.