Anarchists' Brunch: I Think It's Coming On The Wind

I wouldn’t have predicted that the Dusty Baker angle has been a touch underplayed for this series. Maybe the idea that these are just two really good teams is enough, and certainly the baseball itself this weekend has been taking center stage. It’s clearly the best series going by some distance.

I hadn’t really thought about it before The Score’s Dan Bernstein had brought it up before the series kicked off. How our perceptions have changed about Dusty since he left. It’s been a long time now, and that always changes things and how we see them. There was on particular angle that I had forgotten.

When Dusty was hired away from the Giants, it did signal a new era for the Cubs (though maybe a team that was just in the World Series letting go of their manager so easily should have been a clue). Before he arrived, the Cubs were a basketcase, and it was thought they were more than happy to open the gates, and the beer taps, and then simply stay there with terrible teams. They’d spasmed a wildcard berth in 1998 and were competitive in 2001, but those were seemingly out of the dark.

When the Cubs hired Dusty it signaled they weren’t content anymore with the occasional good season. That they were going to shop at the top of the line for managers and players, and were going to start throwing their financial weight around, even if they couldn’t put an actual system together. While it seems silly now, Dusty was considered one of the finest managers around then, and him shifting to the Cubs was a huge deal.

It led to a stretch where the Cubs at least mattered, even if they weren’t always good. 2003-2010 seems like one constant season to me, where the offseason was just as onerous and important as the season itself. It never stopped. There was an urgency to erase the heartbreak of 2003, almost too much of one, and then it would collapse and the Cubs would start over again with Lou and the whole cycle repeated itself until Theo arrived and put an end to it and stopped the clock for a few years.

Perhaps Dusty the manager wasn’t as important as Dusty the symbol, which we didn’t know then. Maybe Don Baylor was just as much of a signing that just didn’t work.

It could have worked. Perhaps it should have if he hadn’t gotten in his own way. It took all of that for the Cubs fans and organization to learn a better way, and far too much of it. I wouldn’t say we should thank Dusty, for he was the one who let the 2004 team become probably the most unlikable Cubs team of my lifetime. Who lost the plot in 2003. But he is a marker, and it’s worth recognizing that much.
-Yesterday’s loss was a tough one, but I fear too many fans are looking at it through the prism of what the Cubs used to be. Yes, before last year we would have seen this 8th inning collapse as the signal of another disintegration in Cubs history. But this Cubs team isn’t really going to care much about it. It’s almost as if they revel in getting to overcome these sorts of things. If they lose this series it’ll be because the Nationals are better. Not because there is some overhanging voodoo on this team. We know that now.

We can go over the decisions made right up until first pitch on Monday. In the end, the right decisions sometimes don’t come off and the wrong ones come up trumps (Ned Yost has a World Series ring, for God’s sake). Edwards was probably the right decision to face Harper. Monty may have not been to face Zimmerman, but every other day that fly ball isn’t getting to the outfield wall. Baseball, much like everything else in life, can’t be controlled.

It was never going to be easy. This is the fun part now.

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  • Kind of glad that I decided to give your spot another read. Good perspective, I think. If the Cubs can't beat the Nationals, we probably just were not good enough this time. I'm not looking for goats either. Whoever is called upon at this point needs to execute. Time will tell and I hope Cub fans end up happy.

  • At the time, I agreed with Edwards facing Harper, but only because I was laboring under the false belief that Harper was still nursing an injury and it was worth the risk. So get past him and have Edwards to face Rendon. I hope they don't make that mistake again. Although if you go Duensing vs.Harper, who is the righty to face Rendon? A Davis four-out save is an option, but one I am not super keen on.

  • "We can go over the decisions made right up until first pitch on Monday." I'm just hope we won't be doing it until til Opening Day.
    But, but . . .

    We got Q and Jake and Hendrix/Lester if necessary. And we got a group of players who came back down 3-1 in the WS and after another crushing 3-run homer last Nov. 2nd. So I'm not throwing in the towel.

    Sam is absolutely right. This is the fun part! Can't wait til Monday afternoon! In the meantime, enjoy that knot in the stomach, fellas! It's better than eating and sleeping well like my Sox fan friends. This is want you wanted! Enjoy it! Relish it! It's the post season, baby! Let's go Cubs!

  • I'm really confused with all the hand wringing with the Harper/Edwards decision. Edwards made him look terrible on the first pitch and no one complained about his game 1 performance when he was lights out. He just happened to hang a curveball to a really good hitter. It's not like he gave one up to Nefi Perez.

  • I would have liked Maddon to play matchups a little more that inning, especially considering the Cubs carried 4 lefties. Plus Lackey could have been used worst case.

    All that said Edwards threw a bad pitch plain & simple & the guy he threw it to was Bryce Harper, you top 10 player in the game guy. The guy who really killed them was Zimmerman, though. I thought bringing in Davis there was the right call.

    Regardless Cubs did there job, they took a game. The Nationals by the way are a very good team.

  • Can't really argue with that (my comments were no specifically aimeda at anyone in particular so hopefully did not offend). Also would like to add that even I love the article. I'll always have a soft spot for Dusty Baker. He didn't quite get us there but he was an important piece on the road to where we are today. Funny thing is every time I think of him in a Cubs uniform, I also remember him as a guy who hit a game winning home run against the Cubs that barely made it around the foul pole back in his playing days with the Dodgers - I'm still not sure if it really was fair. There's part of me that loves the man for his time managing in Chicago but still resents that one home run from my childhood.

  • Sorry about the bad grammar. Sometimes weird stuff comes out when i type on my phone!

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