When I quit smoking, I took up the habit of chewing on toothpicks — to keep my orally stimulated addiction in check. The worst part about it? People often say: “Hey, Jeff, fiddlin’ with ‘dem toothpicks… you remind me of Dusty Baker.”
Being compared to Baker may make my skin curdle with infectious disgust, but I suppose that’s still better than blackening my lungs and dying young of emphysema.
Or is it?
Dear readers, believe me, I do respect Dusty Baker as a human being. I mean, look at him, he breathes on his own, his heart pumps without having to think about it… all very impressive indeed; but as a baseball connoisseur, there’s no way in Jesus-hates-the-Cubs-Hell I want him managing my baseball team. Often blamed for the mass destruction of young, promising arms with infinite potential (see Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Homer Bailey), Dusty Baker also lacks the one thing that makes good managers great and great managers Tony LaRussa… and that thing is: common sense.
In the 7th inning of last evening’s contest between the Cardinals and Reds, a game that at that point was still wide open, Dusty Baker brought in his nearly-virginal relief pitcher, young righty Logan Ondrusek, to face Brendan Ryan. With Albert Pujols on deck, Ondrusek quickly walked Ryan, unable to find the strike zone like Mr. Krause is unable to find a meaningful relationship with a woman (though, to his credit, he does surprisingly well with primates). Instead of yanking Ondrusek like he probably should have, Dusty left the kid — in only his second Major League appearance — in the game to face one of the greatest hitters of all time.
Albert rocked him.
So did Matt Holliday.
Welcome to the Big Leagues, kid! If your arm didn’t hurt before you became a Redleg, believe me when I say you won’t even be able to shake hands after Dusty’s done with ya!
Hate me ‘cuz I put it out there, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.