August 3, 2005

Dusty Baker, Cubdom, Responsibility & Racism

I am a diehard Chicago Cubs fan every since I can remember, I bleed Cubbie blue. I acknowledge their is racism in sports in the past and currently, but to use racism as an excuse to defend a Dusty Baker from criticism is wrong.

Scoop Jackson of ESPN.com sees racism as the motive of some Chicago-area columnists' suggestion that Dusty Baker's time as Cubs manager should end. Scoop Jackson claims a white-only Chicago media is scheming to vilify Dusty Baker out of a job.
They come from certain members of the 312 area-code media who quietly would like to see someone else at the helm of the organization that best reps America's national pastime. Someone who looks and acts more like them. Someone who won't make the comment: "We were brought over here to work in the heat. Isn't that history?" as you did two years ago, talking about us people.[..]

I noticed how none of the other above-the-fold columnists came to Dusty's defense. Not Rick Morrissey, not Mike Downey or Carol Slezak or Greg Couch, not even my good friend Rick Telander. Not that they're supposed to, but ... they ain't we.

They don't feel your struggle, Dusty.
Don’t feel your struggle? Please, Dusty Baker is one of the highest paid coaches in Major League Baseball, making about $4 million a year. The only struggle in Cubdom is winning the World Series.

Scoop Jackson continues:
Yes, Dusty, you have the second-best player in baseball in D. Lee, and Aramis Ramirez is doing some damage; but you don't have one Cub pitcher who is in the top 10 in victories, ERA, saves or innings pitched (Carlos Zambrano is seventh in strikeouts).

Yet ... still ... in spite of ...

You are four games out of the wild-card race. Playing .500 baseball. In contention.

Yet ... still ... in spite of ...

They expect you to be better than the Cardinals and the Astros.

Yet ... still ... in spite of ...

The Cubs have manager issues ... according to "a citywide debate."

And the color of your skin, Dust, has nothing to do with this, right?

Cool.

If so, then I apologize.

But in the words of the great racial philosopher Charles Barkley: I may be wrong ... but I doubt it.
It is not about color, Scoop. Go ask Jim Riggleman or Tom Trebelhorn.
If Dusty thinks he's being treated unfairly for reasons beyond wins and losses, he should call Jim Riggleman, who often was booed for trying to protect the arm of a young pitcher named Kerry Wood by removing him early from games. Or Tom Trebelhorn, who almost caused a riot when he foolishly called a 'town meeting' by the Wrigleyville firehouse during a particularly rough stretch."
This is not the first time a columnist use racism to defend Dusty Baker, Scoop the and other columnist are wrong about Cubdom.
Let me explain why most of us Cubs fans as less than impressed with Dusty. He let Sammy run wild all last season. He allowed Sammy to dictate where he hit in the order. He made comments about not moving a slumping Sammy out of the 3rd spot because Sammy was "sensitive." Do you think Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre care about the sensitivity of their players in determining where they hit in the lineup? Dusty did nothing when the bullpen started calling the announcers during the game and complaining about their color commentary. Players were taping up nasty notes to each other in the clubhouse. Two players physically confronted our announcers (including the beloved Steve Stone on a team flight. Stone has since left the club). Dusty wasn't even willing to tell Sammy to turn his stupid salsa music off. Many, many people who had access to the clubhouse will tell you that it was absolute chaos in there through most of the season. There was no discipline. In the midst of all of this, all we got from Dusty by way of explanation was "I don't know anything about that. I hadn't even heard that. I can't comment on that, I don't know what you're talking about." The fact that he had no idea what was going on in his clubhouse was even more of a reason for not liking him.

Last season, for the first time in Cubs history (probably), Cubs fans had a winning team that they didn't like. I even knew life-long die-hard Cubs fans who didn't want this team to go to the playoffs because they didn't like the way the players were behaving.

Let me tell you something, Cubs fans want to win a world series so badly, they wouldn't care if the guy managing the team had purple polka dots.
Scoop Jackson claims, If it were Bobby Cox and not Dusty Baker, would I have ever had to write this column?

Yes, true Scoop. Bobby Cox is a creditable coach who take responsibility for his actions, while Dusty is letting columnist like you make excuses for this failure as a coach of my beloved Cubs.

1 Comments:

At August 03, 2005 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post... thanks.

Jon
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