Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Someone Graphically Told Dusty He's Number Two

It turns out that there are worse things than getting racially charged threats in the mail as manager of the Chicago Cubs.  Someone could take a dump in the space you work everyday.

That is what Dusty Baker is claiming happened sometime at the end of his tenure in 2006.  Via Jon Paul Morosi:

“At the very end, somebody took a dump right where I stood in the dugout every day,” Baker said Monday morning. “That was the low point. The grounds crew guy cleaned it up. He said, ‘Oh, I think it’s dog crap.’ I said, ‘No it ain’t. That’s human crap.’”

This is a new low for an organization that doesn't have a lot of room to get lower.

It is hard to figure who the Phantom Crapper is since Dusty isn't saying who he thinks it was (not that he would know for sure) or even whether it might be a player or other employee of the Cubs.

I looked at the roster of the 2006 team to see if any suspects jumped out at me.  Only one guy made me think, "Yeah, I could totally see him taking a big dump in the dugout just to show the manager what he thinks of him". . . Phil Nevin.

I'm not saying it was Phil Nevin or even that it was any player, but if it WAS a player, then I would put all of my money on Phil Nevin.  That guy was a dick and probably stupid enough to think that dropping a deuce in the dugout was funny.

Or maybe it was Todd Packer.

But what is more interesting is the fact that we are just hearing about this incident now, and it isn't from the Cubs.

Dusty was on the way out, so someone taking a shit in his spot in the dugout wasn't something they wanted to get around, because it might have made him a sympathetic figure in the disgrace that was the 2006 season.  So we never heard a word about it.

On the flipside, the Cubs couldn't wait to tell us fast enough when Carlos Zambrano ate dinner, or Milton Bradley was a psychopath, or when Sammy Sosa left a game early at the end of the season.  They have no problems airing the dirty laundry of the team when it suits their needs to vilify an employee they don't really want anymore.

So we know the Cubs CAN keep a secret when it suits their needs. 

I'm always so proud to be a Cubs fan.


Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo! Sports has the Cubs' side of the story:

Cubs spokesman Peter Chase tells us that GM Jim Hendry has "no recollection" of such an incident happening or Baker mentioning it.

"Didn't see it. Never happened. Nyeah."

Short of finding the crew member that supposedly cleaned up the mess, this will be a game of He Said, She Said with everybody taking a side.  It's a Way of Life.


Eddie said...

You should update your links, Tim. GROTA has a new address at chicagonow and they are no longer posting at the old site.

MGb said...

We're assuming this isn't BS spewing from the mouth of a "Great manager" who is trying to illustrate how horrible things were in a Cubs uniform.

I don't buy it. Wouldn't shock me, but the only crap I beleive is the stuff that comes flying out of his mouth anytime someone puts a microphone in his face.

Aisle 424 said...

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if it were true. Dusty took a LOT of heat and when you look at that team, you have to wonder what he was expected to do with it.

Juan Pierre was the most valuable offensive player on that team. Juan fucking Pierre. Matt Murton was #3 behind Ramirez. That is how bad that team was.

Carlos Zambrano was worth 4.7 WAR as a pitcher. The team pitching was worth 3.4 WAR. So without Zambrano, they were almost a game and half WORSE than a staff full of random AAA call-ups. A whole pitching staff of Justin Bergs could have been expected to be better than that staff. That is just god-awful. No manager could have won with that roster.

It had Neifi Perez AND Cesar Izturis AND Ronny Cedeno AND Tony Womack on it for crying out loud.

So he got racist taunts and letters, which we know is probably true because it isn't an isolated incident, so it isn't a stretch to believe that someone managed to drop a load in the dugout as a "fuck you" to Dusty.

Aisle 424 said...

I'd been meaning to fix that link and never got around to it. Thanks for the reminder, Eddie.

Eric said...

Milton Bradley did it.

Aisle 424 said...

The Reds were in town in mid-September that year. It could have been Marty Brennaman.

mb21 said...

MGb, why do you assume that a well-respected manager would just flat out lie? You do realize that his credibility is on the line. No, not the credibility with fans because that has no impact on his ability to find employment in the future. The credibility he's concerned with is those who hire people like him and if he's telling outright lies he loses it. Dusty Baker is making millions of dollars doing what he does. He wants to make millions more. Where is the incentive to lie? To make a fan base that already hates him call a liar yet one more time? That doesn't make the least bit of sense.

Dusty Baker had a lot of nasty things said about him and he shut his mouth for a long time. Why does he not get to tell his side of the story, but you're free to blabber on about stuff you know nothing about? Why am I free to blabber on about stuff I know nothing about? It works both ways. You can't hurt somebody and expect them to stay down forever. Sooner or later they get up and fight back. The difference between him and you or I is that his credibility is on the line and it could cost him millions if he starts making stuff up. What will it cost you or I?

So when it comes to believing somebody, I'm going to believe the person who has more to lose and that person is so obviously Dusty Baker that I really don't like having to waste time writing this comment.

mb21 said...

Let's not ignore the fact that Dusty feels wronged in the sense that it could have cost him his livelihood. Imagine people saying stuff about you and other employers hearing that. Your ability to work at what you have done for years is in jeopardy. That's what happened to Dusty Baker. There were so many lies told about Baker that it was hard to figure out what was true and what wasn't. The Reds took a smart chance that he was instead the manager from SF and not Chicago and they've been rewarded. Dusty isn't without his faults, but he's also not without his strengths. Based on several years of data we can safely say that his strengths far outweight his weaknesses regardless of what Cubs fans think.

Cubs fans and the Chicago media tried to take his livelihood away. He's rightfully pissed off, but you know what? He's handled the situation a hell of a lot better than some let-down Cubs fans did.

SK said...

I believe Nevin was traded before the very end, so that probably rules him out.

(Who takes a shit in a dugout?)

Aisle 424 said...

Nevin was traded on August 31. End of August could have counted as "near the end." Probably not, but it's enough for me to keep my money on him.

Jae Kuk Ryu whipped a ball at an endangered bird on purpose once so maybe his ethics also don't include the Judeo-Christian belief of not pooping in a dugout.

Maybe Scott Eyre forgot to take his medication one day?

mb21 said...

I doubt anyone actually took a shit in the dugout, but more likely took a shit elsewhere and put it in the spot where Baker stood.

SK said...

Actually, I'm gonna poop all over the Nevin idea. He was a veteran and far too rich and not engaged with the Cubs in any way to shit in Dusty's spot.

The only Cub player that I ever heard say anything against Dusty was good ole' Ryan Theriot. He hated him for 1) making him bunt in a crucial game situation for his first ever major leage at bat, and 2) not playing him, ever.

He would have been finishing his second frustrating cup of coffee with limited playing time, had a grudge against the outgoing manager, and was young enough and redneck enough to do something like that. Case closed.

Weapon X said...

Oh, Maddog... while I agree with some of what you say... come on, man. Dusty deserved some of the shit that came his way (couldn't resist). Seriously, don't clog up those damn basepaths. And no, Tim, no one expected him to win with that crapbage (crap & garbage together- genius!). In fact, iirc there was near universal hatred for the roster from the point at which Todd Hollandsworth was supposed to be the starting left-fielder up to the roster overhaul that began with Soriano.

But... he was expected to do SOMETHING. Play the kids. Figure out which veterans may be worth keeping and/or have bounced back from injury. Play smart. Instead, he played Neifi FUCKING Neifi FUCKING Perez over and over, and over, and over. Need I bring up the 9th-inning down by one with two outs bunt (I just did so I guess I needeth)? Was Ryan Theriot worth keeping like his limited playing time suggested? Can't risk finding out, 'cause then Neifi might not play.

Young players won't play, unless they are ace pitchers in which case they will play until their arms literally fall off. If the arm actually begins to fall off in-game, let's wait and make sure it's actually happening! Maybe let him give up several more runs in a potential clinching playoff game before sauntering over to see what's going on. (Okay, he did play some rooks, but mostly he was forced to and/or Neifi was playing at a different position that day). Does the closer suck? Doesn't matter, we're all racists (some were, I know, but that didn't mean LaTroy didn't suck donkey balls). Is any of this the manager's fault? Nope, never. Never made a mistake in his life that wasn't caused by someone else having clogged up the bases first. Damn, did that kid just watch a strike? We pay him to swing, dammit! Next time up, take three giant hacks at the pitch regardless of where it's thrown or you won't play again kid! Can't have you clogging the bases, dammit. Pierre, get out there and show that kid how to put the ball weakly into play!

Aaargh, this is gonna go on forever. Look, someone may say I was wrong about Player X or Situation Y above but the overall point stands. Dusty wasn't some sinless, self-sacrificing Jesus with us Cubs fans as the Jews demanding that Pontius Hendry crucify him post haste. No one (generally speaking) wanted his life OR his damn livelihood. Just wanted him to get both elsewhere.

(You made reference religious imagery and I'm agnostic. Worse, formerly Muslim. Damn you, MB.)

Weapon X said...

Oh yeah, he probably shouldn't have had shit placed where he would stand. That's nasty and dehumanizing.

On the other hand... at least now he knows how we felt when we turned on our TV to the game we normally liked to watch only to find a steaming pile of Neifi Perez.

Weapon X said...

And Suburban Kid (I'm guessing) is right. His reasoning is impeccable, it was obviously Theriot.

Weapon X said...

Btw, no one actually took a dump ON Baker, did they? No? Oh, good, for a second I thought Cubs fans and management were just dropping trou and releasing whenever he was in range.(Why am I still going on about this? Maybe I did it. I'm done, seriously.)

mb21 said...

WX, you're taking that comment out of context. It's funny to make fun of Baker for saying walks clog the bases, but that's not actually what he said. He was talking about big slow guys walking in front of speedy batters. He said those guys clog the bases for those who can run and he's right. Having speed guys on 1st base with a big fatty at 2nd base takes the speed away from the guy who can run. That's what Baker was saying.

Latroy did not suck. Look at the stats. 2.76 ERA. 160 ERA+. As a Cub.

I'm done though. Your comments seem to be mostly nonsensical rambling in support of people calling Dusty names and shitting where he works. Good luck trying to convince any non-Cubs fan that you're right about that one.

mb21 said...

As I've said before, it's not fair to talk about a manager's weaknesses without also acknowledging his strengths. The weaknesses that Baker has is that he's reluctant to play young position players, but was better at it in SF and in Cincy than in Chicago. Look at the Reds position players.

On the other hand, he's more willing to use young pitchers than most managers are. He also understand that if you're good enough to start then you start. No such thing as a quality pitcher ending up in a Dusty Baker bullpen and that's great.

He, like most managers, relies too much on speed at the top of the order and weights it more heavily than than getting on base. He's had a history of sticking with starting pitchers too long, but it's not like he's the only one. In fact, even if you look at Bill James Managerial Record you'll find that he's not even the worst at leaving starters in too long. Still, he's not very good at it.

The players all love him. I haven't heard a single story from a player who didn't love playing for Dusty Baker. Because of that, he likely gets more out of his players than others might and the fact that prior to coming to the Cubs his managerial record compared to the Pythag record of his teams was the best in the history of baseball (no manager had been worth more wins above the Pythag wins). He expects a lot but he's also understanding, which is why players love him. He's always positive. How many times in his 4 years in Chicago or his 3 years in Cincy have you heard him be negative? I don't know how much this matters, but it cannot hurt and it creates a better clubhouse.

Managers aren't worth much in the end so the fact people get so upset at someone who is no worse than a win below average and no better than a win above speaks more for what people expect out of managers.

Weapon X said...

Look, LaTroy was good here as a setup man and only early on after taking over for Borowski. I'm not interested enough to look up the breakdown right now but I'm sure he was much better as setup than closer. And you know ERA and ERA+ alone are flawed ways of assessing the performance of relief pitchers.

The clogging the bases comment was really meant tongue-in-cheek. We all know what he meant. I kinda agreed at the time, FJM made me reconsider, but only a little. His stubborn refusal to clarify afterwards (after it being brought up repeatedly as "so guys shouldn't get on base if they're slow?") still makes it a ludicrous statement in retrospect and still funny to make fun of him for saying that. Lighten up.

And yes, my comments online as well as in real life are mostly nonsensical rambling. In the interest of clarity-- Dusty != Jesus; Cubs fans/organization not taking a dump on a human being. 'Someone' seems to have done so, once.

Weapon X said...

Yeah, I liked those strengths when the Cubs hired him. But after the ASB of the second season he was often sullen and then when the team was no longer a contender his moves did not make sense for the future of the team.

Frankly, I wasted much of my life screaming at the TV regarding the existence of Neifi Perez on my baseball team so I'm probably bitter. But I'm human, I get to be bitter. So does Dusty. I did not take a crap on him, and, I'm sorry, it must have been hurtful as hell but that was one anonymous incident five years ago. I'm sure Baker doesn't give a cr--, um... a damn about it either other than to say "Fucking Cubs" every once in a while like we say "Fucking Dusty" every once in a while.

mb21 said...

ERA and ERA+ aren't the best ways to evaluate Hawkins, but it was the easiest for me. His FIP was around 3.75 (too lazy to actually calculate it exactly, but close to that). He was really good in 2004 when he was signed and had a terrible 19 innings in 2005 before being traded. After that he was really good with the Giants. His HR/FB rate in those 19 innings was 16% and well above what anybody could reasonably have expected. It went down of course after that as it would have if he stayed in Chicago. He was a much better pitcher than Cubs fans remember. We remember the game in new York when they lost the 3-run lead (Victor Diaz!).

I seem to remember him being worse as a closer too, but I don't know how much worse. It doesn't really matter either because over time those numbers would look similar. Also, he wasn't signed to be the team's closer. It's like getting made at Micah Hoffpauir for not being able to fill Derrek Lee's shoes or something.

The more interesting comments from Baker in my opinion had nothing to do with the shit he says was where he stood. I especially thought the part about there being no longterm plan was important. We've talked a lot about that over the years and this organization for one reason or another feels they can be successful being the only team in baseball without a longterm plan. It's really bizarre and Dusty pointed out that. He knows.

Instead, many people are going to focus on the part we've been talking about when people really should focus on the other things he said. There's a lot of truth to what he said and the fans, media and the Cubs themselves would be smart to consider his comments in a helpful manner even if they weren't intended that way.

Weapon X said...

Well I certainly agree with the part about the long-term plan. I'm sure I mentioned it, along with everyone else, many times on ACB as the 2008 Cubs fell apart with injuries, age and underperformance in 2009.

I took his comments in that section to pertain only to managers in that they're not given a plan of time (like the Bears under Lovie) of reaching one goal then another. Win or you're awful. He would be correct in that assessment as well, though in my opinion that is obvious and widely known. Everyone knows what they're in for and it won't change much, other than occasional and very brief grace periods. Just how it is considering the team's history. I actually sent the article to my nephew earlier in the day so he could get an intro to understanding, a little, the craziness and passions involved in this town when it comes to sports.

As far as LaTroy goes, I think we're mostly agreeing here on his performance. When he struggled in the closer's role, it didn't help matters that he was kind of a dick about it (or at least, seemed to be in a few key interviews and postgame pressers).

I wish they had a plan. Good night.

FrankS said...

I kind of doubt it was a player, if the poop incident happened at all. There are dozens of Cubs employees with access to the dugout during game days. You've got coaches, ground crew members and various pr people. You've got media people near the dugout. It could have been left after a game by someone that worked at cleaning the stadium or a vendor could have sneaked down there for a minute. You could even suspect a security guard. You have hundreds of suspects beside the guys on the team.

As far as the letters go, I suppose they are real. Were these turned in to the proper authorities? I believe the sending of hate mail is considered a federal crime. Also, the players, coaches and manager of the team should not be getting their mail without it being screened by an employee of the team. Finally, who is to say that the people sending that mail were Cub fans? It could be sent by people trying to make Cub fans look bad.

Some of the most beloved Cubs of all time are black or hispanic: Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Derrek Lee, Jose Cardenal, Sammy Sosa. Some of the most hated guys have been white: Todd Hundley, Ken Reitz.

mb21 said...

I agree, Frank. There's a much better chance it was some random employee who cleans the ballpark or something like than that than it was a player.

You're also right that some of the most loved Cubs are minorities and that the most hated are whites. However, there is a pattern of behavior that has become quite obvious. Consider that the following players have said they attacked at Wrigley because of their race: Corey Patterson, LaTroy Hawkins, Jacque Jones, Derrek Lee (he even said he'd heard it and he was a great player), Dusty Baker and I'm sure I'm forgetting other recent players. I have not heard about white players being attacked because of their race. We've also seen a pattern develop in terms of who is lazy and not trying. Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez is a dog and the hard workers are guys like Reed Johnson, Sam Fuld, Kerry Wood and Ryan Theriot.

This does not mean that all Cubs fans are racist and i don't think anybody has ever said that. It means that Cubs fans are prone to the same ignorance that all human beings are and it's unfortunately being directed at players on their favorite team.

One of the things I've not understood for awhile is why fans of a certain team feel they must defend the team. I'm not talking about you here, but any time someone says something bad about their favorite team, almost all the fans gang up on that player or person. This doesn't make sense to me. There's a lot of truth in what people say about Cubs fans and the Cubs organization. I'm not part of a family because I'm a Cubs fan and even if I was, I'd be more critical of them than I am a random person. I'm more critical of my own family because I know so much about them. I can also talk openly with them and know that if I show them the respect they deserve that they can listen to my point of view. There seems to be a gang-like mentality with fans and I think it's disturbing. If Dusty said this, big deal. It's not a reflection of every single Cubs fan and we all know this. The racist fans are not a reflection on me as a Cubs fan. It's only a reflection on themselves and the Cubs organization if they refuse to address it.

Sometimes I feel that important issues are being overlooked because we feel we have to choose a side. I'll be the first to admit that Cubs fans behavior over the last several years has made me much less interested in not just the Cubs, but baseball in general. I'll also be the first to admit that what some random drunk guy says in the stands does not reflect the majority of the people at the game. To be honest, any person that believes it does isn't worth talking to.

Fans want to criticize their favorite team in a certain way, but if someone else does it then people go nuts protecting that organization they root for.

Eddie said...

You were right about the season tickets, Tim. Cubs ticketing called me today to offer season tickets, and then sent me an email with their available packages.

Kin said...

Eddie, what position are you if you don't mind me asking? I was in the 100000s somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Eddie, what sections did they offer & do you plan to buy?

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