I’ve always believed in Cincinnati Reds skipper Dusty Baker. While many people question his ability to win the big game, he’s always found a way to win more than he loses. As a Chicago Cubs fan, I thought the organization treated Baker terribly, but he was enough of a gentleman to finish out his contract and not say one word despite being made the fall-guy for the Cubs.
Let’s rewind to last season. The Reds were one of baseball’s best teams and failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs. What made thing worse for Reds fans was the team blowing a 2-0 lead in the divisional series to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants. It was a very tough pill to swallow considering this all happened at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. But that is why they play the games.
Baker currently ranks 19 all-time in wins (1,581) and will move up at least two spots this season. His career winning percentage of .525 has him 19th all-time. Considering how many people have managed in the big leagues, that’s mighty impressive.
This season, the Reds are returning a very strong team that is expected to once again contend and potentially win both the NL Central and the NL pennant. If Baker comes up short again, questions about his ability to win the big game will be questioned. With his age and some health concerns starting to rear its ugly head, Baker needs to prove that he can win the big game. 2013 gives him that chance.