The good ol’ days?

Here is the list of Reds managers since their playoff berth in 1995:

Ray Knight 1996-97, 2003, 125-137 (.477)
Jack McKeon 1997-2000, 291-259 (.529)
Bob Boone 2001-03, 190-238 (.444)
Dave Miley 2003-05, 125-164 (.433)
Jerry Narron 2005-07, 157-179 (.467)
Pete Mackanin 2007, 41-39 (.513)

Dusty Baker 2008-present, 419-391 (.517)

The first six managers on the list combined for zero playoff berths. From 2001-09 there were nine-straight losing seasons. Baker did have three losing seasons, including 2008-09, but has two winning seasons and two division titles in the last three seasons. For the several people I’ve heard from who are not happy that Baker was re-signed on Monday, what nostalgia are you clinging to?

By the standard this franchise had set for nearly 15 years, Baker has done a better than decent job. Does he have shortcomings? Yes. Most managers do. I have yet to see a perfect manager, including the four who have teams still alive in the playoffs. Does Baker bear some of the responsiblity for the NLDS exit last week? Yes. Did he deserve to be let go after the exit? Not at all.

Be unhappy all you want about what happened in the playoffs, but rare is the time I’ve seen this many fans unhappy from a 97-65 season that was the second-best record in baseball…especially considering where the team came from in recent years.

Did anyone see this type of success happening back in 2004 or 2005? I’d guess not.


Dear Mark, the voice of reason has no place on the intertubes. Sincerely, The Haters

Hard to argue with that. Jocketty’s explanation for continuity makes perfect sense. I have to agree on this one. I will be wearing my No rolen and no stubbs shirt opening day though and I will be sitting as close to the reds dugout as I can get.

You do realize the team was void of a lot of talent and had next to nothing pitching wise during that time right? You media guys want to give Dusty credit for everything and when things go horribly wrong nothing is ever his fault. You cannot have it both ways. By the way, what has he ever won as a manager?

Wayne Krivsky has far more to do with the success of this team than Dusty Baker and he has been gone for a few years.

I think the players Dusty has are better than the others on this list. Could the team have won more games without Dusty? Maybe they could have won a playoff series with a better manager. Comparing Dusty to the others using his regular season record as the only measurement is a silly argument.

While I’m profoundly disappointed by the way the post-season ended for the Reds, I’m delighted to hear that Dusty will be back. I get the impression that the players are as well.

you are as bad as dusty

I really appreciate the way you cover the Reds. At some point certain fans need to realize that there is a very good reason why, for example, I’m driving a truck and purchasing Reds clothing but Dusty Baker considers it part of his work apparel. And he is given enough to wear everyday of he so desires. Thanks for putting out the facts. Dusty Baker has brought winning baseball back to Cincinnati.

Great post. Too bad the negativity dwellers will dismiss your comment as being a Dusty lover. To Jonathan, Scott and Kurt, there are MLB teams looking for a manager. Why not apply for those jobs since you 3 would win the World Series every year and never have one regular season defeat and would go down as the greatest ever? Oh yeah, because you are full of piss and vinegar behind a keyboard. Go Reds!

In being a faithful Red’s fan since I turned 9 in 1965, I have seen many ups and downs and good/bad managers – Dusty Baker is one of the best I have seen at turning things around and really building a team! Sparky was great too!!! And I believe Dusty will keep the Reds at the forefront – some people just don’t appreciate quality, they just want microwave championships – they are not fans, just the ones who are fans when they win (fair weather fans) – hope Dusty and the team will remember that those who are for them are greater than the vocal few who are never pleased. How many managers can keep a team motivated with all the adversity that they faced and take them so far. I look forward to a team that has something to prove then a reshuffle any day!

Thanks, Mark. That does put things into perspective. Personally I like Dusty’s management of the team. During the regular season I stopped reading comments after the wrap of each game as I couldn’t stomach the vitriolic rants by several posters in particular against Dusty whether it was a win or a loss. If anyone said anything positive about Dusty, these posters would also turn on them with ridicule. I appreciate your blog and read every post. Thanks for being the Reds beat reporter for 2012.

Could not have said it any better. I gave up on reading the comments as well for the exact same reason.

It was a great season, nothing for anyone to hang their heads about. Overcoming all of the obstacles this year and then being two up at home in the NLDS I think we all thought this was a done deal. Well baseball is baseball and that is why we love it.

Great reporting Mark, and that’s why I check here every day for new news. I have mixed emotions about Dusty, and look at this as two years to get us over the hump or we’ll look elsewhere for someone who will. I think Bochy totally out-managed Dusty in game 3 (which was the turning point of course in the series), and that’s the kind of thing I want to see out of Dusty and not the opposing manager. Baker needs to step it up a notch, because I don’t think business as usual is going to get it done. Nobody is pulling for him any harder than me, and I truly am optimistic about the next two years.

Great Season! Good Reporting! As a new Reds fan I will expect the same next year. Last 4 teams left have payrolls well over 100 million (they buy bats)! We will be division champs at best with Dusty, (I am loyal to those guys). We may not see Chapman as a starter, Stubbs bunt or Brandon stop trying to be a clown. Team is not scruffy enough, mentally prepared enough to compete with the Big Boys! Sorry that is what I see.

Now that I can agree with Walt. We lack scruff, mental toughness, bunters, clutch hitting. The only thing we have in abundance is great pitching.

Mark, Do you know if you will be the Reds Beat Writer again next season?

Yes. I will be. No plans to go anywhere.

The argument isn’t that the Reds should hire another lousy manager; the argument is that the Reds should fire the current lousy manager.

My retort: how many managers of teams with the second-best record in baseball are called “lousy” by fans of that team?

Mark, you placed the quotation marks in the wrong spot. The quotation marks should be around the word “fans” when dealing with the negative ninnies. Go Reds and glad to hear that you will be back next year.

How many managers deserve the label? I take a lot of issue of judging a manager based on his record alone. A large part of it is based on the team’s talent and we can’t really credit a manager for the drafting/free agent decisions of a GM. Relevant to the discussion here: I really don’t believe that the Reds had winning talent on hand during the reigns of the managers you listed above, and certainly not the talent we have today. More importantly, I believe that we had a pretty compelling argument for being the most talented team in the NL this year. Despite the result, I still believe the Reds were better than the Giants.

Rather than judging a manager based on win-loss record alone (bring back Jack McKeon!?), I’d rather judge a manager on the on-field decisions he makes and determining whether they were the right decision.

Instead than enumerating the misuses that have been hashed and rehashed, I’ll just argue that Dusty mishandled lineup and bullpen decisions, and frequently let starters go too long. Since I believe Dusty’s on-field decisions were bad, I conclude he is a bad manager.

I don’t think it’s fair to give Dusty credit for having Votto, Phillips, and Cueto on the team (each of whom could be the best players at their positions). Nor do I believe it’s fair to give him credit for so many of our other players hitting their prime years. Give Dusty credit for good timing if you want to, but his day-to-day roster decisions are objectively bad.

(sorry about the essay)

I’m not allowing for excuses about lack of talent. Look at the A’s this year and the Rays in recent years. That’s a copout by you. You also can’t just say that Baker had great roster so he can’t take credit for any success, because then you slap all of the failure on him when players don’t produce? Is that fair? Do players make this happen or not?

Finally look at the teams with supposedly great rosters — ie Phillies. They didn’t overcome their injuries and the Reds did. Who gets credit for that?

I’m not saying Baker didn’t make mistakes or missteps but I’m tired of some very tired arguments. And you’re wrong — record is ultimately the bottom line. Did the team win on the field? That is all that counts. Not whether you like the lineup.

Some great arguments here both pro and con. I think one thing that we all can agree on is that for the most part jocketty is a good gm and our owner is willing to pay the price to win right?
I do believe Jocketty has a proven track record and the owner likes what he is seeing in the direction of this team.
I don’t think we are settling. We have a love hate relationship with Baker. Team management as a core believes that keeping dusty is going to provide the most consistent results from our core players which back Dusty Baker 110% the concern probably is there that some of the young guys such as Cueto,Chapman, and maybe even Votto might shut down with a new manager and we would get uncertain results. With Baker the results of the core can be safely predicted. Without Baker it cannot. I really think it is that simple of a decision.
Baker’s legacy is going to end with the Reds. Good or bad there it is.

Scoreboard for Mark! Save yourself the bickering with the same small minded folks who just want to pee on everything Reds related. As for the Reds being a better team than the Giants, well, as a Reds fan, I look at the scoreboard and I give the Giants credit. Also, Posey had an incredible year and they seemed to get better after Melky went down. I guess Jonrox thinks Ron Washington is a lousy manager as well.

You got to be out of your baseball mind if you think the Reds are a better, more balanced club than the Giants.

Hmmm. You conclude that he is a bad manager. I will take Walt Jocketty’s opinion on ANYTHING baseball over yours or mine. I would offer up an “enjoy the offseason” or some such well wish but you just seem like a miserable person. Have a very adequate day.

The A’s are a terrible example for your side of this. Melvin was 47-52 last year and 94-68 this year. He didn’t suddenly become a managerial powerhouse in the offseason; Billy Beane made a couple of savvy acquisitions and the young A’s are predictably improving, which gave the A’s a lot more talent to put out on the field. Same point regarding TBR and Joe Maddon between 2007 and 2008 and the infusion of quality pitching. Also, low payrolls doesn’t mean lack of talent.

I believe Dusty has a team here that is immensely talented and it keeps improving because most of the players are hitting their prime and Walt has made a few wise acquisitions. Dusty has had significantly less impact on the roster than Walt, so at the very least that should diminish how much value we place on record. That’s why I suggest we look at on-field decisions, which you admit are not Dusty’s strong suit.

A’s are predictably improving? Haha, that’s a good one. I forgot how everybody picked them to win AL West this year. I think we can end the conversation now.

Yes. Young players tend to get better. Can you argue without straw men?

Jonrox, I suggest you go to the Reds caravan tour that Dusty will be on and say all that you say behind a computer and say it to his face and give him a chance to respond. I would then suggest that you go and say the same to Brandon Phillips and any other players that will be on the Caravan because you claim to know what is better for the actual players than what Dusty does. You don’t have the guts to do this because the players would slap you down verbally because you don’t know .000001% of what you think you know and nor do I or most any of the other posters.Have an adequate day.

@lonesome, just tell me where and when. I’ll tell Dusty to his face that he shouldn’t bat his worst two batters in the 1 or 2 spots in the lineup, and that he gave Frazier a raw deal. I want to see the Reds to succeed, so I have vested interest in seeing Dusty put out better lineups. Unfortunately, down the stretch, Dusty wouldn’t even justify his terrible lineups; instead, he just said “manager’s decision” as if that justified objectively wrong decisions.

Also, Ron Washington is widely considered a bad in-game manager.

Sheldon is lecturing the fans for expecting more than mediocre results? What crazy, backwards world did I stumble upon?

The Cardinals are two wins away from another pennant, but Reds fans should bow down to Dusty Baker because he’s not as bad as Jerry Narron. That’s the definition of lowered expectations.

Why am I shocked, though? Sheldon has never missed an opportunity to take a shot at a fanbase that hasn’t seen a postseason series victory in 17 years. Why on earth would you ever want to criticize a franchise with such an embarrassing record? You silly, ungrateful fans! For shame!

Now known as negative ninnie #2. You are in good company with Jonrox.

The Cardinals are better, pure and simple. Some of it lay in the winning tradition and in the consistent quality of the organization from the front office downward. But most of it lay in the fact that, every year, they always have several tens of millions of dollars more at their disposal due to filling the ballpark continually and a larger market stretching across the Midwest prairies. Do we not expect the Yanks or the Red Sox or the Phils to be competitive most years. No different for the Cards relative to tiny Cincinnati.

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