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Dusty Baker on Chicago: “patience wasn’t a real virtue here”

Mar 13, 2012, 9:27 AM EDT

Dusty Baker Reuters

Patrick Mooney of spoke to current Reds and former Cubs manager Dusty Baker about the Cubs’ rebuilding effort. And about how Theo Epstein, Dale Sveum and the new regime are basically asking that Cubs fans be patient during the team’s rebuild.

Baker wishes Sveum the best, but he noted that, based on his experience, patience isn’t an easy sell for Cubs fans:

“From my experience, patience wasn’t a real virtue here,” Dusty Baker said Monday. “They’ve been patient for a hundred years. That’s a hard sell in Chicago – more patience. They might be patient for a little while, but unlike any other place I’ve been, they count. People count. They can add real good in Chicago. Everybody – men, women and children.”

He probably has a point. But at the same time, when was the last time a Cubs rebuild was particularly well-thought-out? I think fans, even Cubs fans, are likely to respond better to a rebuild that is driven by smart people and makes baseball sense as opposed to one that appears to have more emphasis on the tear-down than the build-up.

All of which is to say that maybe this time, with Theo and Jed Hoyer running things, Cubs fans may surprise Dusty Baker a bit.

  1. El Bravo - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    If you are a Cubs fan, you better have patience. Even more so, just have low (reasonable) expectations for a few seasons. If they finish in third and/or around .500, I’d consider that a successful season this year.

    • Alex K - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      If they finish 3rd and/or around .500 I would be very happy with the Cubs. I expect another season much like last year.

  2. brucewaynewins - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    I’m waiting for metalhead to show up and comment :) It’s more about the Cubs but its about his all time favorite manager Dusty.

  3. jason1214 - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    2012 will essentially be a wash. I’m looking forward to 2013 & beyond.

  4. ptfu - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Hey everyone, Dusty thinks Cub fans can count! That’s the first compliment for Chicago Public Schools I’ve seen in a long time, backhanded as it may be. Speaking of long questionable rebuilding plans…

    Anyway, insert comment here about glass house and throwing stones. It’s Dusty’s team, not Sveum’s, that’s expected to win today. Another 79 wins won’t be anywhere near enough in Cincinnati, although 79 would be fine on Chicago’s North Side, and possibly the South Side too.

    So play those veterans, crown your out-machines as leadoff hitters, and run up those pitch counts on young pitchers, because if the Reds fall short then guess who’s on the hot seat? They wouldn’t even have to fire him, since Dusty’s contract runs out after this season. Sveum’s got a much longer leash than Dusty.

  5. buffalomafia - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Give your Cubs 2-3 years & they will contend?

  6. firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Hi! Im Dusty Baker I have a .521 winning % with One, count em one pennant in 18 years of managing.

    Im under .500 with the Cubs
    Im under .500 with the Reds

    I would have been hired and never given another chance in most sports
    but somehow here I am.

    • paperlions - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      HOF-to-be manager Tony LaRussa has a career .536 winning %….you don’t think Tony has had enough of an edge in talent to account for winning 1.5% more games?

      The point is not that Baker is good or bad, but that the influence of the manager on wins and losses is greatly over-rated.

      • firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

        How many pennants and rings does LaRussa have?

        Are you serious?

      • paperlions - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

        He has all of the pennants and rings that the talent on his team has won for him.

      • firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 5:45 PM

        mangers dont matter
        why bother putting any of other them in the hall of fame
        pay all them the same

        The Cards were the most talented team last year

        anymore gems for us?

      • Alex K - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

        It’s not that managers don’t matter at all. It is that they don’t matter as much as the players. I’m not sure why that is a controversial thing to say. If Tony LaRussa had managed a bunch of bad players he wouldn’t be HOF to be manager Tony LaRussa. He would just be former manager Tony LaRussa.

        Also, the most talented team doesn’t always win the World Series (or Pennant, for that matter). Luck and random variance have a lot to do with who wins a short series in baseball.

      • paperlions - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:45 PM

        Exactly. Compared to the other major sports, the manager in baseball has much less ability to have an impact on the game. Of course, they can have some positive or negative effect….but compared to hockey, basketball or (especially) football…that effect is very small.

      • Alex K - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:36 AM

        paper- We’ve both been banging this drum for a while. One day we will get through to people!

  7. pipkin42 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Maybe if Dusty had been less patient with Mark Prior his arm wouldn’t have been ruined…

  8. doublekid - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    As far as patience goes the article hit the nail on the head; it’s time for a rebuild, and as a Cubs fan I can appreciate that. Especially with Theo and Hoyer in here already making (small) waves. It’s a very exciting time to be a Cubs fan.

    As far as Dusty’s comments go, I think he’s completely out of line. When he was managing the Cubs it was not a rebuilding period. During Dusty’s first two years as the Cubs manager we had a rotation that consisted of a healthy Kerry Wood, a healthy Mark Prior, and a young Carlos Zambrano. Not to mention an above average offensive lineup. Patience? The Cubs had a team that was built to win!

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