And this division belongs to the Reds!!!!!

28 09 2010

For the 2nd time in the last week+, Jay Bruce had a 9th inning, game ending play. This time it was with his bat. And this time, it officially clinched the division for the Redlegs. I’d like to be one of the few who acknowledges the impact Dusty Baker has had on this team. He isn’t always the best in managing a pitching staff, though this is overplayed due to a couple higher-profile blow-ups. The Giants blew a 5-0 lead in the would-be clinching game 6 2002 World Series, and of course the Bartman incident with the Cubs. In both situations, it could be argued that he stayed too long with guys. But that comes from his measured loyalty to his players, and I think that’s his biggest strength.

The most important thing a manager does is manage the psyche / ego / emotions of his ballclub. In baseball, a 162-game marathon, nothing is more important. Managing the pitching staff and lineup are secondary, and every team has a hitting / pitching coach to assist with this. And Dusty has been perfect for this team. A young group with some key veterans sprinkled in, Dusty has been criticized for staying with guys like Bruce and Cordero, but both have had significant impact on the team’s success. When Brandon Phillips, the only all-star when Dusty arrived who is still with the team, didn’t run out a ground ball, Dusty found a way to bench him without losing his starting 2nd baseman’s respect. He guided a team that hadn’t had a winning season since 2000 to the Central Division title, a surprising run-away championship that has the Reds currently up 7 games with 5 to play. Dusty’s track record speaks for itself – in San Francisco, Chicago, and Cincinnati, he did significantly better than his predecessor, and in SF and Chicago, he’s had more success than the guy who followed him. So here’s to you Dusty – I was mixed on the hire at the time, but it’s shown itself to be a good one!

I think their postseason chances rest significantly on avoiding the Phillies in the first round, which they can do by keeping up the winning and getting the 2nd seed. Or they could slide into it as long as the NL West loser beats out the Braves for the Wild Card.

But that is for another time. Today, we celebrate.

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29 09 2010
1956 Jay Bruce « The Writer's Journey

[…] there was much rejoicing (except in St. […]

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