The question is an odd question. Is Dusty Baker a Cincinnati Reds kind of guy? Moreover, does it matter on the field? Let’s be honest here, how much control does the manager have on a major league baseball team anyway?
Let’s look at some history of Dusty Baker and the city of Cincinnati.
Baker grew up right outside of Sacramento, California. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves and played most of his career for the Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cincinnati became an important city because of its proximity to the Ohio River. Its people are generally considered blue collar, working class people. Cincinnati was called Porkopolis at one time because of the hog processing industry that made it the city it is today. (Remember Les Nessman’s Hog Reports everyday on WKRP in Cincinnati? He did win the Siver Sow Award, ya’ know?!) It is the home of professional baseball and the home of the tradition rich Cincinnati Reds. Reds fans are just like the city – tough and resilient. Now the question is: does Baker fit with the people of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Reds fans. He has a reputation for being hard-nosed, both as a player and a manager. Dusty Baker is considered by many to be strong willed and unwavering in his approach to the game. Sounds a little like Cincinnati and Reds fans to me.
Second question: does it matter to the fans of the Cincinnati Reds? Absolutely. Cincinnati Reds’ fans are not like those of the Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees, or even the Houston Astros, for that matter. The Reds’ fans are a proud and tough bunch. They deserve a manager that has a similar personality as they.
The bigger question is really the last question. How much control does the manager (in this case, Dusty Baker) have on a major league baseball team? I submit that the manager in baseball has the least amount of control on the success or failure of his team than the coach or manager does in any other professional sport. Baseball is such a different game, it is difficult to even make the comparison to other sports. The baseball manager can’t substitute in and out of the game. He can’t run the clock out. There is only so much he can do once the game begins that will change the outcome of the game. So does it matter who your manager is? Yes, of course it does. He does set the tone for the team, the line-up, pitching changes and pinch hitters. However, during the game, Dusty Baker is, very often, a highly paid spectator.
Spectator or not, effective or not, I do believe the answer is yes. Dusty Baker is a Cincinnati Reds kind of guy.