More Than Balderdash on Baker

While taking part in some Mother Day festivities, I was fortunate enough to catch most of the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds contest. This so happens to be a pairing of Dusty Baker’s two most recent employers, so there’s all that added excitement and motivation to an already anticipated divisional rivalry.

Baker takes heat for a lot of things. The two most common criticisms of Baker are his abuse and misusage of young pitchers and toothpicks alike. It’s not like the Cubs from his day or the present-day are dry on pitching prospects. As such, there’s a distinct possibility that Baker views the objects as ultimately similar in construction and availability.

Mike Leake, for his part, pitched well. He actually maintained a no-hitter through five innings that was broken up on an infield single by Starlin Castro.

I bring up Baker for more than a lame joke attempt, though. He – and I’ll assume he is the one who called for these plays – had the Reds execute two plays that were pretty fun to watch, even if they changed the outcome very little.

In the second inning, Jay Bruce and Jonny Gomes hit consecutive doubles to net the Reds a 1-0 lead. Drew Stubbs came up next and showed bunt long enough to bait Aramis Ramirez towards the plate, and sending an avalanching Gomes to third base without a throw. Gomes would then score on a Stubbs’ grounder to short. With nobody out it seems probable that Gomes would’ve scored anyways, but it was a fun and smart play that depended on Stubbs’ fake being believable and Gomes making the right read.

The other Baker act worth noting came on a Cubs’ bunt attempt following the aforementioned Castro single. Ryan Dempster got the sac down, but as Bob Brenly pointed out on the wonderful WGN broadcast, the Reds were set up for a pickoff play. First baseman Joey Votto charged earlier than normal, hoping Castro would take an excess lead while second baseman Brandon Phillips came in quickly to fill in at first base. Even catcher Ramon Hernandez was coming out of his stance before the pitch arrived.

newest oldest most voted

I love that first play. I definitely have to keep that one under my hat and use it in one of my own games sometime later this year.

As a side point, are you being serious when you refer to the WGN broadcast as “wonderful”? They have among the worst television broadcast products in Baseball. They spend an inordinate amount of time talking about anything but the game at hand. When the Cubs are home they actually give over at minimum one entire half inning to a booth guest to talk about their latest projects and whatnot, frequently not even referring to the action on the field. I know of no other broadcast that does this so regularly. And when the subject does happen to be the game or baseball in general, they expel more words while saying less than any other broadcast team in Baseball.

It’s a typical Cubs product: all fuzzy Cubbie style, very little baseball substance. If they weren’t making money hand over fist from running on the fumes of Harry Caray, they’d be embarrassed.


This is why even when the Cubs are on WGN, I pay for the right to listen to the Pat and Ron show, aka. an actual baseball broadcast.


Are you out of your mind? Pat’s o.k., but Ron doesn’t do much more than shout “Gosh” or “All right!” in lieu of saying anything about the action. I’m forced to listen all the time while I’m at work, and would much prefer Len and Bob.

They’re all better than Hawk though.