As many of you may already know, this morning we were forced to say goodbye to a dear friend. For six years, Dusty Baker sat at the helm of the Cincinnati Reds, managing them to a 509-454 record that included three playoff appearances in the last four years and three 90+ win seasons. We can only reflect fondly back on the time we spent together.
The reason for Baker's dismissal is unclear, but many point to the lack of playoff series wins. Some believe it was the clash in strategy between Baker and General Manager, Walt Jocketty. Another factor, if the separation was mutual, is Baker's failing health. At this time last year, Baker missed time for an irregular heart beat and suffered a mini-stroke. Whatever the case may be, the three-time manager of the year is done in Cincy.
But why do we care, you ask? Why does this affect me? Why do I feel this burning pain deep in my soul? I will tell you why. For as long as I can remember, Baker has been an integral part of our lives as Cardinals fans. He is someone you love to feel shadenfruede for. He is partly responsible for giving us Dusty's Dugout Dice. He bats Zach Cozart in the 2-hole. He bunts with his position players. He says things like this. For years he and his toothpick have given us something to talk about about, and for that, Dusty, we thank you.