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Dusty Baker retires with a complicated legacy


Maybe Dusty Baker will wonder what his managerial career would have been like if Jeremy Pena hadn’t been hot for 10 days last year. Maybe Game 5 against the Phillies will turn around, maybe Dusty will face another Game 7, another winner-take-all game to tie the 2002 World Series, the 2003 NLCS, the 2012 NLDS, the 2017 NLDS .

But Dusty got his ring last year, and he will leave at sunset a beloved “baseball man.” Which is fair enough. Almost everyone who met Baker liked him. His former players tend to swear by him, and he has always been available to the press, which does not harm his memory.

Since Baker took over the Astros job following their cheating scandal, he has been said to bring an air of credibility to the organization after tearing it to pieces in previous years. Baker’s longevity is certainly a testament to his credibility. But on closer inspection, skepticism might creep in. After all, he was Barry Bonds’ manager when his hat size doubled. He let the 2004 Cubs get down to business all over the field, whether they were fighting with the broadcasters or trying to fight themselves with other entire teams or whatever they were on. were concentrating, which certainly wasn’t winning enough matches. When the Reds and Nats screwed up, and they always did, it was rarely Baker’s fault, according to Baker.

But that’s okay now, even if his ALCS roster choices, which were decided on a knife’s edge, were abstract to be polite. Three playoff appearances, two World Series and one victory. Stay long enough and everyone will assume and pretend that you’ve always been great.

This is the hallmark of Baker’s managerial career, perhaps more than any other. His teams always won… but not enough. And when they failed, he was usually one of the main causes. But managers rarely lead teams that win enough to try and try again. Especially with so many teams. Bobby Cox was only with one team. Dave Roberts too.

Maybe that’s the problem. Baker has perhaps the most unique managerial career, and too many people confuse unique with great. But that’s not Baker’s problem. He’ll be in Cooperstown soon. That’s why it’s always best to save the best for last.

Let the Juan Soto watch begin

The Juan Soto rumors began, with the Yankees apparently being the first through the door to meet with a seller. Which left us with this beauty from Bob Nightengale, and we must cherish them before he goes back into hibernation for the winter:

Soto had an .893 OPS with the Padres, so what went wrong didn’t have much to do with him. Who do you think will be the first to criticize Soto’s upcoming $400 million contract that he more than earned? Be curious as to why this will be the case.

This will become the biggest story of the winter, as the Yankees shouldn’t be the only ones in the pool.

The Bull Exploration Begins

-Staying close to home, the Bulls season started because the NBA decreed that they had to play it. Although no one really knows why, because everyone is sure it will be as pointless as possible. Far from good enough to challenge, nowhere near bad enough to reset the entire team. How do you sum it up in one highlight?

That’s why my dad told me to pace everything in elementary school. But there, the Bulls don’t really have any rhythm.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @Felsgate.bsky.social


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