It’s been a busy couple of days for Dusty Baker. On Monday he finally decided to tell the epic tale of the day somebody took a dump in the spot where he liked to stand in the home dugout when he managed the Cubs. Who am I to doubt the truthiness of Dusty’s story…just because I don’t believe it?
And today, Dusty got really really excited when his 12 year old son called him with the news that Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright had caught Tommy John Disease again.
The best baseball writer in the business, Hal McCoy was there and he chronicled the nonsense going on at Reds’ camp today.
The telephone in manager Dusty Baker’s office rang early Wednesday morning while he was meeting with the writers and he said, “Hey, son. Thank you, my son. Thank you big-time. Significant, huh? A significant injury. Thank you, my son, for the tip. I love you.”
No “dudes” but lots of “my son” and a “big-time.” Cut Dusty some slack, he’s not used to talking to the media without Darren sitting on his lap.
Baker hung up laughing and said, “That was my son, Darren, giving me the Adam Wainwright Report. That’s my scout right there.”
The fact that “his scout” was 11 years old last October is likely the reason the Reds became only the second team ever to get no-hit in a postseason game. Dusty couldn’t believe it, Darren told his hitters just to hit the X button really hard to hit Roy Halladay.
Told that (Wainright) had elbow issues, Baker smiled shyly and said, “Who are they going to blame for that one?” Baker, of course, is forever being accused (wrongfully) of ruining pitchers’ arms with overuse or misuse.
I think any baseball fan in Chicago or San Francisco would argue with Hal’s parenthetical use of ‘wrongfully’ there. If Dusty’s been consistent about anything in his big league managerial career it’s been shredding guys’ arms. It’s not like Billy Swift, John Burkett, Kirk Rueter, Russ Ortiz, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Aaron Harang or Edison Volquez all suffered from Dusty’s curious use of them or anything. Nah. We all know it’s not Dusty’s fault.
Nothing is ever Dusty’s fault.
Like his inability to read a map.
Of the Reds and Cardinals, Baker added, “The Cardinals were the incumbent team and we were the coming team. When you’re the incumbent team you don’t want anybody to be the coming team. We play each other a whole bunch of times, too – like Boston, the Yankees and Tampa Bay. They play each other all spring then a bunch of times during the season. In only takes one little thing to spark things for a long period of time.”
Yup. The Reds and Cardinals are just like the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays playing each other all spring and then all season. You know, because the Cardinals train in Jupiter, Florida and the Reds train in Goodyear, Arizona.
The early version of McCoy’s blog post started with a note about how creepy outfielder Jonny Gomes wandered into the clubhouse this morning singing “Wainright is gone! Wainright is gone!” Hal didn’t recognize the tune, but he did recognize Jonny’s new lyrics.
Mark Sheldon of mlb.com knew what the tune was, that Karate Kid soundtrack classic, by Joe Esposito, “You’re the Best.”
Now it’s easy to wed the tune with Jonny’s lyrics.
But Sheldon also reports that Jonny disputes he did that.
Here’s Jonny’s take:
“I was doing an interview with [Rob] Dibble and Dibble gave me the breaking news that Wainwright was flying back to St. Louis with arm problems. That’s all I heard. I came in and I said ‘is Wainwright gone, is Wainwright gone?’
“To clear up everything, I came up with Wainwright. I know Wainwright. I think he’s one of the top notch pitchers in the National League and baseball. Outside of different uniforms that we wear and different cities we play in, playing in the Major Leagues, we’re all brothers. There’s a brotherhood there. There’s one thing you would never wish upon any other player and that’s an injury. We’ve all had them at some point coming up and we might currently be having one now.
“From the bottom of my heart, I would never wish anyone an injury. If they did have an injury, you wish them the best in rehab. As Major League ballplayers, we have a brotherhood for each other. On the field, we’re going to battle and play our nine innings and we’re going to compete. Off the field, we’re still human and we have families. There’s one thing you don’t wish upon anyone and that is an injury. Even if they are on the other team, you wish them the best of health. If Wainwright is gone, it doesn’t mean anything to us. It maybe gives them the opportunity to make a trade for another big ace. The Cardinals are top notch themselves. They’ve battled with injuries there. They are a top notch organization with a top notch general manager and a top notch ownership.”
Talk about “protesting too much.” That explanation smells worse than whatever Dusty pretends was steaming up that little corner of the Wrigley dugout where he used to try to botch double switches.
What a fun bunch those Reds are. They want to act like tough guys, but they can’t change their stories fast enough.
Not that the Cubs didn’t join in on the fun. Check out the horrible things Kerry Wood and Mike Quade had to say about the Cardinals’ misfortune.
“He’ll be ready to go in spring of next year,” Wood said. “He’ll be strong. It’s just going to be a long and boring summer for him. You feel bad for the guy. You never want to see guys get hurt, especially top-of-the-line guys like that. But he’s not the first, and he won’t be the last.”
I know that seems rational, but he actually sang that response to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger.”
“You want to win and compete and all the rest of it, but you don’t want to see anybody hurt,” Quade said.
Sheesh. Rookie manager. He didn’t fake a phone conversation or dare anyone to blame it on him, for no apparent reason.
As for Dusty, he says the competition for a coveted spot on the 60-day DL to start the season is down to Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. Stay tuned.