Three days after the Cincinnati Reds were eliminated in convincing fashion in the NL Wild Card game, Dusty Baker has been relieved of his managerial duties. In other words, Bob Castellini and the Reds have fired Dusty Baker.
Judging by the talent and the recent success of this Reds team, 2013 was a big disappointment. They coasted through the season and never really came together as a team. Maybe it was due to lack of leadership on the field. Maybe it had to do with all the injuries. Or maybe it was simply time for a change in the clubhouse.
Dusty Baker is a good manager. He’s taken three different teams to the playoffs and been named Manager of the Year on three different occasions. You don’t rack up those kinds of numbers unless you’re doing something right.
Dusty prides himself on being a players manager. By all indications, guys love playing for him and rightfully so. He always sticks up for his players and gives them ample time to “find their groove”. Since taking over in 2008, he’s done a good job of keeping the pulse of the team and pushing the right buttons at the right times.
Until this year. For whatever reason, it seemed like Baker lost the team this year. Players seemed lethargic or uninterested at times and they rarely showed emotion on the field. Losing the last six games of the season and being dominated by the Pirates along the way proved it was time for a change.
Perhaps more than anything, this news proves it was time for Dusty to go…
With all that being said, Dusty did some great things during his tenure in Cincinnati. Similar to what Carson Palmer did for the Bengals, Dusty helped make the Reds relevant once again. He led the Reds to their first playoff appearance in fifteen years in 2010 and changed the culture in Cincinnati along the way.
Eventually his laid back approach and stubbornness wore on the fan base and apparently on the ownership, but we shouldn’t forget everything Dusty Baker did for this franchise. He’s the most successful Reds manager since the beloved Lou Piniella and he deserves some recognition.
Alas, it was indeed the time for a change in Cincinnati.
While fans and analysts continue throwing around ludicrous names such as Pete Rose and Johnny Bench to become the next manager of the Cincinnati Reds, I will trust Bob Castellini and Walt Jocketty to make the right decision. The best part about this franchise is they have the right men leading the team from the very top.
Regardless of the decision, I hope Reds fans remember Dusty Baker for more than just this season.