Saturday, May 27, 2006

On the Weekend When America Honors Its Dead, the Cubs' Dusty Baker Gets the Dreaded Vote Of Confidence From His Boss

Finally, something good happened today to the Chicago Cubs.

On the weekend when America historically honors its dead, manager Dusty Baker got a vote of confidence.

Naturally, that means ol’ Dusty will probably fired in the next two weeks.

General manager Jim Hendry, who is trying to end speculation that Baker’s job is in jeopardy, told Chicago reporters on this Memorial weekend that he’s sticking with the skipper.

“I’m hearing every time we lose a game that Dusty is going to get fired,” Hendry said before the Cubs lost their fifth straight game –- a 2-1 decision to the Atlanta Braves.

“Dusty is going to get every opportunity to manage the club and get us out of this hole, and he’ll get the opportunity to manage the cub when we get health the next couple of weeks.

"I’d like to put that speculation that every time we lose a ballgame [Baker will be fired] and we stop putting that for public discussion every single day.

Today’s loss dropped the Cubs’ record to 18-30, including 5-20 in the month of May. Told of what Hendry said about him after the loss, Baker said, “My track record, they know what I can do, and I know whatr I can do. As a unit right now, we’re just not getting it done…..”

Historically, votes of confidence from bosses aren't worth the time it takes for a general manager to say the words. They usually come back to haunt managers –- especially incompetent managers like Baker.

Baker's strength supposedly is being able to motivate players, but he hasn’t been able to motivate anything or anybody in the last couple of seasons.

Even the batboy seems dead on that team.

Strategy was never one of Baker's strengths, and he’s usually as mystified about Cub losses as are most of the players.

Waiting in the wings for a possible elevation to the manager’s job is Bob Brenly, who managed the Arizona Diamondbacks to the world championship a few years ago.

My personal choice to be the Cubs’ next manager, however, is Lou Piniella, who should be able to light a fire under the asses of an ailing [i.e., Derrek Lee, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior], underachieving team.

Hendry better not wait too long to make a change. If he does, his own job may be in jeopardy.