Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Say it Ain't So

This morning's story in the Chronicle gave every suggestion that Dusty Baker would not return as Giants manager. The week-plus of time that had passed since the Giants' Orange County Fade Away hadn't left the skipper feeling warm and cuddly toward the ol' gang. The only way to phrase Dusty's posture is to say he continued to whine. It's painful to put things so bluntly, because for ten years Dusty was the heart and soul of the Giants, but honestly: It is difficult to think of another prominent professional so frequently and powerfully shaken by ungenerous critiques (and so unable to separate that minority of viewpoints from the mammoth tide of praise that regularly washes over him). So on one hand, the news tonight that Dusty is officially history here brings a shrug and a "whatever." On the other hand: that's the pain speaking, lashing back, shielding the hurt. Yep, it hurts to see Dusty leave. He is thin-skinned, to be sure. His big-game calls were sometimes suspect. But when we shovel away all the talk-radio BS we find a man of tremendous character and charisma, a man with a peculiar ability to keep and maintain respect and order in a time when shoddy behavior and chaos rule sports. We see one exceptionally cool mo-fo. Damn. No Dusty. I had convinced myself that after the shared agony of Game 6, Dusty couldn't abandoned us. But apparently he did not believe the agony was shared. 'Tis a pity. Good luck, Bake—and keep a close eye on Darren, OK?