Dusty Baker’s Hiring a Race Issue for Reds Fans?
Word came out over the weekend that the Reds had hired Dusty Baker as their new manager. Apparently the news was not well-received by fans in Cincinnati. Tom Fornelli over at MLB FanHouse quotes someone from the Dayton Daily News who’s suggesting the negative fan reaction is the result of Baker’s race.
Well, Cincinnati Reds fans wanted a big-name manager and now they have one.
Turns out, plenty of them seem to have wanted a big-name WHITE manager.
Saturday night the Reds signed Dusty Baker to a three-year deal – making him the first black manager in the history of baseball’s oldest franchise – and by Sunday morning the move was being met with some very nasty venom on internet web sites and call-ins to talk radio shows.
I’m guessing there are some fans out there who might be opposed to having a black manager (in addition to having a black head coach in Marvin Lewis), but I’m really thinking that most people are upset because they know Dusty Baker is a poor manager. Really, to know all you need to about Dusty, just look at the biggest game he ever managed — Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. Facing a predominantly left-handed hitting Angels lineup, Baker elected to start Livan Hernandez over southpaw Kirk Rueter, who threw six innings in a Game 4 win, and shut the Angels down coming out of the pen in Game 7 (after the damage had already been done). Oh yeah, let’s not forget that Baker elected to pinch hit Japanese slugger Shinjo over Dunston when the Giants were threatening with two men on in the 9th. Shinjo did what he does best — struck out to put the Angels one out away from the World Series win.
Baker is just a bad decision maker, and that’s why I’d be upset if he were hired to manage my team, and that’s why I’m guessing Reds fans are upset. That, and they were probably hoping for Tony LaRussa. But sure, blame it on race, that’s always good as an attention-grabber.