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Thursday, October 14

Thorn vs. Dusty

Gentle Reader Thorn suggested in the comments section from yesterday's throat-clearing that the problem isn't the Curse, or Bartman, or Sammy, or Wavin' Wendell, or the Training staff, or the crumbling Confines...but Dusty his own self.

Hmmm. Under his guidance, we got within 5 outs of a World series, and the next year, was in playoff contention until the last day.

But it is true that a manager needs to do something in terms of his team keeping its composure. For the Cubs lost their composure during the last two innings of game 6, and the seventh game in 2003. And they certainly lost their composure down the stretch this year. He needs to accept the blame for this, which he certainly has not.

But back to my first premise, the Cubs have not won 88 and 89 games in successive seasons since....? I don't have my numbers in front of me, but I don't think they won that many in '70 through '72, the so-called Glory Days of latter-day Cubs baseball.

A simplistic approach may attempt to categorize everything neatly, giving Jim Hendry total credit for the level of talent on the team, and attribute all good things to him, and conversely attribute all blame to Dusty for not getting the most of the talent Hendry gave him.

That is assuming Dusty has zero influence on the type of players that have come in the past two years as free agents, which is certainly not true. Nor is it true that Hendry has completed his puzzle with pieces that fit perfectly together. There are not enough guys on the team that can run, and too many that swing too hard.

This also does not lay any culpability at the feet of the players, many of whom earned far more than they contributed this year.

It's not a simple question, with simple answers. Baker may not be the best manager for this team, but who alive is?