2012 Reds / Dusty Watch / Reds - General

Baker Unhinged

Johnny B. Baker (Photo: Steve Mancuso)

I know the Game Thread is about to be posted, but take a second to read this. According to John Fay, after having all night to think about it, Dusty Baker exercised poor judgment in responding to Derek Lowe’s ramblings after last night’s game. Really, really, unprofessional stuff by Baker.

It really got ugly when a reporter asked Baker if it bothered him when a player says he doesn’t respect you?

“Man, I don’t care,” Baker said. A lot of people don’t respect me. He don’t respect himself. The word was whatever he did and said probably there was a good chance he was drinking at the ballpark and he don’t remember what he said or what he did. OK.

“When he said I shook my finger at him to say I didn’t have nothing to do with it. It wasn’t to say I didn’t have anything to do with it. It was to say: Don’t mess with me or my team. That’s what that means. He better learn sign language. OK.”

52 thoughts on “Baker Unhinged

  1. Dusty should be expecting a phone call after this. Not classy, and probably fine-able.

  2. You know sometimes Baker boggles my mind with lineups and in-game decisions and the such. But I kind of like the fire coming from Baker. He’s always so even keel all the time, its refreshing to see him get upset. I like how he asked Latos to give Lowe some chin music.

    Also, it looks like we wont have to make a decision on Rolen’s situation with the Reds until Monday. He’s rehabbing at AAA over the weekend.

    And yet another side note, I like the lineup from Dust-bag today (even though he has to play Ludwick at this point):

    Chris Heisey 8
    Zack Cozart 6
    Joey Votto 3
    Brandon Phillips 4
    Jay Bruce 9
    Todd Frazier 5
    Ryan Ludwick 7
    Devin Mesoraco 2
    Mike Leake 1

  3. To the people who think it’s ok to intentionally hit a batter, how do you feel about blatantly late hits in football?

  4. Let me be clear about where I find fault with what Baker said. It’s not the part about pitching inside to Lowe or responding to Lowe’s previously hitting Reds players. For better or worse, that’s part of baseball to old school types. It shows fire, loyalty, etc. All positive stuff.

    Where Baker crossed the line was making a public accusation that a player on another team “probably” was “drinking at the ballpark” to the point where “he don’t remember” what he said.

    You just can’t make accusations like that without proof and certainly not directed toward players on other teams. It not only isn’t classy or professional, but it’s petty and small. Not to mention maybe slanderous.

    • It not only isn’t classy or professional, but it’s petty and small. Not to mention maybe slanderous.

      And kinda funny.

      Of all Dusty Bakers faults, I have a feeling it’s tax evasion that’s going to be his undoing.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      Let me be clear about where I find fault with what Baker said. It’s not the part about pitching inside to Lowe or responding to Lowe’s previously hitting Reds players. For better or worse, that’s part of baseball to old school types. It shows fire, loyalty, etc. All positive stuff.Where Baker crossed the line was making a public accusation that a player on another team “probably” was “drinking at the ballpark” to the point where “he don’t remember” what he said. You just can’t make accusations like that without proof and certainly not directed toward players on other teams. It not only isn’t classy or professional, but it’s petty and small. Not to mention maybe slanderous.

      It’s clear that Lowe and Baker REALLY don’t like one another. Would love to know what the original incident was.

      The drinking dig was directed at one player, and while saying it publically comes off as petty, it’s rooted in their intense dislike for one another. This is seemingly a bigger deal, because Baker seems like such an even keeled guy; he’s not typically a hot head. If Ozzie Guillen or Lou Pinella said something similar, people would dismiss it out of hand as “that’s just Ozzie (Lou) being Ozzie (Lou).

      It certainly doesn’t rise to the level of Ozzie stating his admiration for Fidel Castro while managing a Miami ballclub.

      I like the fact that he clearly has a long memory regarding Votto getting hit by Lowe, and sent the message: Don’t Mess With Me or My Players.

      It’s good to see that the fire in Baker’s belly runs even hotter than his joyful celebrations at games end.

  5. Can anyone remember other examples where a manager explicitly accused a player on another team of something like being a drunk?

    (I’m sort of shocked there hasn’t already been an apology.)

  6. The drinking stuff was indeed classless. Fineable? I don’t know.

    And I don’t have a problem with him calling for a warning shot to Lowe. I just have a problem with him saying so, Cole Hamels.

  7. Quotes from Latos on McCoy’s blog:

    “If I wanted to hit him, I would have hit him,” Latos added. “Flat-out. I would have hit him. It wouldn’t have been something that was close. It was 96 and inside, a two-seamer. I throw inside to pitchers and I’ve never heard a veteran pitcher whine so much. It is whatever he wants to think and we’ll let him play into his ego. If he wants to whine about it, let him whine about it.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/entries/2012/06/14/baker_fires_back_at_lowes_char.html?cxtype=feedbot
    WHEN LATOS WAS told that Lowe could have retaliated by throwing at him, he said, “Lowe doesn’t throw hard enough for it to hurt, so I wasn’t too worried about it. If he wanted to retaliate, he could have. But he didn’t. That’s pretty crappy, to be honest.”

  8. I don’t know. Usually this kind of stuff really turns me off, but this time I kind of like Dusty more. Everyone makes errors in judgement. That is not an excuse. Everyone can say things in anger. But the “fire and loyalty” is something that is not as easy to dismiss. I love that about Dusty and is at the root of why I am a Dusty fan.

  9. To me it’s time for Bud to step up and do the right thing like the comish of the NFL is doing and suspend Dusty for the rest of the season. This kind of baseball, especially from a manager is unacceptable and should not be permitted. Want to make a statment Bud…do a Roger and suspend Dusty for the year.

    • It blows my mind that you people think Dusty saying a guy was drunk is worse than throwing at a guy.

      This is the first chance I’ve had to read the news of the day. There is a big difference between buzzing a batter and intentionally hitting a batter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pitching inside and making a batter uncomfortable. For one it shows you have confidence in your pitcher that he can put the ball exactly where he wants and secondly, it shows you are going to fight for your team. To me, that part of what Dusty did was one of the best things hes done all year.

      The second part about the drinking was probably not wise to say unless Dusty has actual proof. If he has proof, then if Lowe keeps talking about it, he ends up hanging himself.

  10. Word on mlb.com is there was an incident with the Dodgers in 2008 when Lowe was there. I actually saw it on MLB At Bat (which is an amazing app by the way). Lowe went on to say how Duty will deny anything ever happening and then just starts rambling, repeating past quotes. He says that Dusty has been instructing his guys to throw at Lowe for the past 5 seasons (I’d really like to see some stat crunching to prove/disprove that). All in all it makes for a good story. I agree that its nice to see Dusty get fired up. He’s got mroe than toothpicks to chew on now.

  11. To add to my previous quote, you did not see Latos throw inside to Lowe his first time up. Only after BP was hit did anything come of it. In fact, Lowe had the Indians first hit of the game. For Latos to throw inside in the first place would be more of a warning pitch to show who is running the show (that would be Latos).

    RC thanks for the greatest Latos quote ever, “Lowe doesn’t throw hard enough for it to hurt, so I wasn’t too worried about it. If he wanted to retaliate, he could have. But he didn’t. That’s pretty crappy, to be honest.” I love this guy!

  12. @Steve Mancuso:

    As for “petty and small” what would you consider certain posters here calling Baker: Crusty Faker, Dustbag, Toothpick, etc. from the comfort of their keyboards?

    It’s sad that some here cannot make an intelligent post without resorting to grade school names/labels.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      As for “petty and small” what would you consider certain posters here calling Baker:Crusty Faker, Dustbag, Toothpick, etc. from the comfort of their keyboards?

      It’s sad that some here cannot make an intelligent post without resorting to grade school names/labels.

      That’s a very good and fair point.

  13. Good for Dusty. I like how he showed some fire and backed up his actions. For better or worse, he always backs his players. I love this kind of stuff. This is competition, people need to relax.

  14. I am happy to our manager defend our players and himself.Lowe opened his mouth,and begged reporters to go ask Dusty.I hope the whole story comes out. Latos classic quote …LOVED IT!!

  15. Meanwhile, Joey Votto can foul off pitches, scream the f-bomb at the top of his lungs — repeatedly picked up by the home plate microphone (thus repeatedly broadcast on TV to thousands of people) as well as heard in the first 20 rows at the ballpark — and the moral majority of Redleg Nation says nothing. So there’s that.

    Brandon Phillips can call the other team “whiny little b****es,” sparking a brawl, and Redleg Nation adopts “WLBs” as an acronym for the St. Louis Cardinals.

    But if Dusty Baker talks some smack about an opposing player possibly having a drinking problem(?), that’s unprofessional.

    I’m just trying to be clear on all of this. I’ve misplaced my copy of The Official Redleg Nation Code of Conduct for Other People.

    • Meanwhile, Joey Votto can foul off pitches, scream the f-bomb at the top of his lungs — repeatedly picked up by the home plate microphone (thus repeatedly broadcast on TV to thousands of people) as well as heard in the first 20 rows at the ballpark — and the moral majority of Redleg Nation says nothing. So there’s that.

      Other than this statement, I am in agreement. But that bothers you? It might make me blush a little, but really? Baseball is not Sunday School. The “f” word has been a part of baseball for a long, long time and will continue to be part of the game a long time after we are dead and departed. Personally, I tend not to use that word, but I don’t think those who do in a high stress situation as immoral.

      • Meanwhile, Joey Votto can foul off pitches, scream the f-bomb at the top of his lungs — repeatedly picked up by the home plate microphone (thus repeatedly broadcast on TV to thousands of people) as well as heard in the first 20 rows at the ballpark — and the moral majority of Redleg Nation says nothing. So there’s that.

        Well, “intensity” definitely has its plusses and minuses. But really, if you’re trying draw parallels between athletes cursing in frustration, athletes namecalling, and MANAGEMENT making unsupported (so far)insinuations of OTJ drinking towards a player on another team… I think you’ve failed. They’re different things.

        Another point – the pitch that “buzzed” Lowe was a pitch that ran in on his hands. I imagine a pitcher would rather have one aimed at his melon than at his hands. Maybe why he lost it after the game?

        But the thing is, if you’re going to bring up old feuds years after the fact, you should be willing to lay the facts on the line and support them. Neither Baker nor Lowe come out of this looking shiny, to me.

        Plus, as I said earlier, Baker saying he told Latos to “buzz” him is really not much brighter than Hamels’ dumb admission that he hit Harper on purpose. I don’t mind some smack talk and chin music, but for God’s sake, be grownups about it.

  16. Personally, I don’t see the big deal. I tried to put the shoe on the other foot and imagine if LaRussa would have said the same thing about one of our guys (of course the irony of Tony talking about a topic such as this wouldn’t leave me), and it really wouldn’t bother me much. It’s just fuel to an intrastate rivalry.

    It would have been exceptionally objectionable if someone plunked a batter with a 95 mph heater in the helmet, but just buzzing someone? Really? Maybe it’s just the old schooler in me, but that’s baseball. I expect Joey or Brandon to get buzzed every once in a while, and they expect it too. And I expect whoever we have on the mound to police the situation, and I’m sure Brandon and Joey expect it too.

    I don’t see the coorelation between buzzing someone and a late hit in football. This is not Bounty-gate. Even plunking someone on the backside or throwing behind their head is not going to end a career. And warnings or ejections can be issued. There are penalties in place for it.

    Maybe Dusty should have asked if Lowe still beats his wife.

  17. @John: You mention Votto’s profanity. It’s a practice common to virtually every athlete. Brandon Phillips’ phrase WLB is also a pretty common expression of a rivalry among peers. What separates Baker’s statement about alcohol is that you have a person in a supervisory role offering speculative, damaging non-baseball gossip about an employee of another organization.

    I’ll repeat my question, can anyone else remember an example where a baseball manager/football or basketball head coach, made a public comment about the alleged personal behavior of a player on another team?

    The lack of response to that question proves pretty well how Baker’s statement stands apart from the other relatively common occurrences you cite.

  18. @Steve Mancuso: I’ll repeat my question, can anyone else remember an example where a baseball manager/football or basketball head coach, made a public comment about the alleged personal behavior of a player on another team?

    You accuse Dusty Baker of acting unprofessionally after you used the headline ‘Baker Unhinged’? You might want to think about that one for a while. Wouldn’t ‘Baker Angry After Pitcher’s Accusations’ have been the more professional way to have handled that? Those were some pretty serious accusations Lowe threw at Baker and then challenged reporters to go question him about it. Why wouldn’t Baker be angry over that? Given your apparent disgust with anything Baker, there’s a chance you would have been criticizing him just the same had he remained silent about the situation.

    • Given your apparent disgust with anything Baker, there’s a chance you would have been criticizing him just the same had he remained silent about the situation.

      I’m not disgusted with anything Baker. I answered your similar accusation from yesterday on an earlier thread. I’ve said many times on the blog that there a plenty of things I respect about Dusty Baker. I think he’s intelligent, perceptive and worldly. I’ve even said he’d be the kind of person I’d enjoy having dinner with. I like his competitiveness (and didn’t criticize his ordering Latos to “buzz” Lowe, if you read carefully) and I’ve said that I would LOVE it if the Reds did well with him as manager. If he had said “no comment” about Lowe, I certainly wouldn’t have criticized him. You don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to how I feel.

      I’ll defend my headline. (And note, that you didn’t defend Baker at all.) To me, when a public person like Dusty Baker, who is supervisory-level employee of an organization, makes a gossip-like, unsubstantiated accusation about a player on another team, dealing with a subject unrelated to workplace behavior, that demonstrates judgment that to me is unhinged from his otherwise professional behavior.

      • I think he’s intelligent, perceptive and worldly. I’ve even said he’d be the kind of person I’d enjoy having dinner with.

        I had a post up about why I disagree with statement, citing Baker’s history of saying very dumb stuff. Seems it got taken down. Any mods want to say why?

        • I had a post up about why I disagree with statement, citing Baker’s history of saying very dumb stuff. Seems it got taken down. Any mods want to say why?

          It popped up in my email to moderate it, and I’m not sure why. I tracked down the article you cited at length because it seemed too outlandish to believe. It was. The article was obviously satire and Baker didn’t say any of it. I tried to email you about it, but the email associated with your comment bounced back. If you want to submit the same basic comment, just not quoting the satire as reality, and if it comes up for moderation, I’ll gladly let it go.

  19. If Dusty isn’t suspended for at least 3-5 games then it just goes to show you how weak the MLB comish is…

  20. @Steve Mancuso: You don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to how I feel.

    No disrespect intended, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the use of “unhinged” in your headline on Day Two of your commentaries on the Dusty Baker/Derek Lowe controversy. Perhaps given a do-over you might have chosen a different word than “unhinged,” as the word is synonymous with “deranged, demented, unbalanced, unglued, crazed, insane, out of one’s mind, out of one’s tree.” That’s quite a bit different than your definition of change “from his otherwise professional behavior.” Words do matter. As you yourself noted, Marty Brennaman mentioned the controversy and said Dusty is one of the nicest people he deals with in the game. Obviously, an old pro like Marty is giving Baker what he deserves — the benefit of the doubt in this situation. How do you know Baker’s comments about Lowe are “gossip-like and “unsubstantiated” accusations?

    • “deranged, demented, unbalanced, unglued, crazed, insane, out of one’s mind, out of one’s tree.”

      Agreed, I certainly didn’t mean anything like that, or I would have used one of those more colorful words. I meant more like “disconnected, unfettered, unrestrained” etc. I’m glad to clarify.

      In terms of giving him the benefit of the doubt. Pretty much everyone agreed that it is the maddest they have ever seen him. I’ll agree it seems out of character. Yet he still said it, and it crosses way over the line. (I see you still haven’t defended him.) I’m certainly not going to use Marty Brenamann, or any other employee of the Reds, as my standard for whether a criticism of Dusty Baker is warranted.

      The reason I said gossip-like was because Baker introduced the entire thing by saying “word was” not “I saw myself” so he’s repeating someone saying that Lowe was drunk. That’s gossip (“talk about others, spread rumors”).

      The reason I said “unsubstantiated” was because Baker offered no proof of his claim that Lowe was drunk. That’s unsubstantiated (“unfounded, unconfirmed”).

  21. @Steve Mancuso: @Steve Mancuso: I see you still haven’t defended him.

    Actually, I thought I was defending Baker when I said earlier that he had every right to be angry when Lowe brought the issue up last night and challenged reporters to question the Reds’ manager. Baker certainly doesn’t need the likes of a long-time fan like me (a southeastern Kentuckian who can still remember his first visit to see the Reds at Crosley Field as a young child as if it were yesterday), but I will say I think he did the right thing in showing his team that he will come out swinging when someone from the opposing team disrespects him. I think it says much for the man that he calls the shots for a tough team that began the week with a terrible loss to Detroit and managed to turned that into a three-game sweep over an in-state rival that came to Cincy in first place in the AL Central. Baker’s team plays hard and shows class. I don’t pretend to know all the answers to what may or may not ill the Reds, as I’m certainly not managerial material and I don’t know the strengths and weaknesses of the players that make up the team. I do, however, enjoy regaining a 2-1/2 game division lead while the manager shows some fire.

    • but I will say I think he did the right thing in showing his team that he will come out swinging when someone from the opposing team disrespects him.

      I just don’t see that.

      Lowe says, in essence: this guy had a problem with me years ago and has been having his pitchers throw at me for year, and i’m tired of it. It’s low-class, and he needs to stop.

      Baker responds: well, I heard that when that guy says stuff after the game he’s drunk and doesn’t remember what he said later.

      How is that coming out swinging? Somemone called Baker out, and instead of addressing it head-on, he tries to defame the guy’s character with a nasty accusation so people don’t believe the story? C’mon, that is gutless.

      A strong response would have been to say: Lowe and I had an issue a long time ago, but I never think about it anymore, and I didn’t tell any of my pitchers to hit him. I told Latos to throw inside to make him uncomfortable, and last I knew, that was still a part of men’s baseball.

      Done.

  22. @kywhi: Also, other than 1990 and the team Davey Johnson had a few years later, I was spoiled rotten by the Big Red Machine and can’t help but feel as if something extra-special is being built in Cincy for the first time in a long time. Whether Dusty Baker is the man to take us to the promised land I do not know, but I know he is by far the best manager we’ve had since Johnson. I never want to go back to the days of Bob Boone.

  23. Here’s how I see this:

    Baker Remembers stupid crap that went on between him and Lowe and that Lowe has a history of plunking Baker’s players.

    Baker tells Latos to throw inside (not hit, this is important) to Lowe. I would interpret this as a “we’re watching you” kind of move. It doesn’t bother me.

    Lowe gets angry and hits Phillips.

    Later, angry Lowe says stupid stuff about Dusty Baker.

    In response, Dusty Baker says stupid stuff about Derek Lowe.

    If Baker should be suspended it’s for his last stupid comments, not for pitching inside. Pitching inside is fine. Hitting someone on purpose is not.

    If Baker is suspended, Lowe should be suspended, too as it is pretty clear he hit Phillips on purpose.

  24. @Steve Mancuso: cool thanks. and good catch. it was pretty outrageous, but was linked from another actual article, so i guess it fooled a couple of people.

  25. I have no problem with Dusty’s comments. I like the fire that he showed. I have often wished that Dusty would go out onto the field on a questionable call and throw his hat and kick dirt on the umpire. Maybe it was all of the years of frustration finally built up and he blew his top. It sounds like the Battle of Ohio has taken an ugly turn. Go Reds!!!

  26. “According to Lowe, Baker has been instructing his pitchers to throw at Lowe for the past five years.”

    If that’s true, that is really crappy.

  27. Really, you guys are upset about this? We’re talking about Derek Lowe here. The guy who did the WWF crotch move when he struck out a guy in the playoffs on national TV. Hell, if he were drunk at least he’d have an excuse. I thought it was funny and human. You guys regularly refer to the Cardinals as the WLBs–which I also think is funny. Please stick to criticizing his line ups and substitutions. You are on much firmer ground there.

  28. @Steve Mancuso:
    I want to give my opinion on Dustys response to Lowe….I think Lowe opened the can of worms by insisting Baker be asked about the bad blood.I think the fact that Dustys response was out of character for him,and was not questioned by anyone gives it some credibility.Acta calling it gossip was the only defense.as far as Dusty saying he ordered a brushback,is that unusual? I dont think so.Why is no one coming to Lowes defense? The accusation if false is slanderous,I would guess there is subtstance to it,and Bud knows the details

  29. @dn4192:
    you have zero credibility,we get it…..you hate Dusty Baker.He has the team in first with no leadoff hitter,no clean up hitter,no bench,and a patchwork bullpen(missing Madson,Masset,And Bray)….but i understand your view,YOU HATE EVERYTHING HE DOES.

  30. @al:
    Lowe told reporters to ask Dusty …and predicted Dusty would say he didnt know…he bluffed thinking Dusty would not tell reporters the reason…I am glad Dusty did what he did,I hope the whole story comes out. Lowe is a jerk,he hit BP because he was buzzed by inside pitch.The fact that no one is defending him speaks loudly

  31. @al:
    Al……baker said it was because of hittin Votto….when pressed about bad blood /lack of respect he gave us a taste of details…Lowe/booze

  32. @Bruno: Lowe didn’t really demand that reporters go ask Dusty anything. He said, go ask him and he’ll deny it, which is more or less saying, don’t bother asking him, he’ll just deny it.

    I don’t think Lowe is a class act either, so I’m not really defending him, as much I am saying Lowe seems to have voiced a reasonable complaing (this guy has been telling his pitchers to throw at me for a long time and I’m real tired of it) and Dusty’s response was not to address that, but to call the guy a drunk.

    That’s the part that just seems petty and dumb. It’s the type of response you would expect from a kid who gets busted doing something wrong. Rather than defend their action they try to kill the messenger.

  33. @al: Al….Thats not the way I see it ,but I understand your point.lowe whined about almost getting hit,I dont think he has ever actually been hit.I think he did challenge reporters to ask Dusty. I think Dusty replied that it was about Votto being hit…..and then when pressed abou Lowe not respecting him he took the next step and gave a little insight into the start of the bad blood.Lowe actually has been hitting our guys because of this bad blood,Im happy Dusty and Latos defended our guys…….we get Cleveland again and pitchers dont bat…..could get messy

  34. Pingback: Game Thread: Reds at Cleveland (2012.06.18) | Redleg Nation

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