A Tale of Two Managers

Posted: May 30, 2006 in Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Major League Baseball, Sports

Let's see if you can match up the following actual quotes from this past Sunday with the appropriate Chicago baseball manager:

1) Manager A: "We have to get better as a team… It's not about individuals. We have to get better with the little things."

2) Manager B: "I'm proud of how the team battled back, especially the way things have been going… We don't quit."

Interestingly, Manager A's remarks came after his team won 7-5 and continues to roll on with the second-best record in all of baseball. In contrast, Manager B's quotes were in the wake of his team losing its sixth game in a row by giving up a franchise record 8 home runs in a single game and their third baseman letting a routine pop-up bounce off of his head that allowed a Braves player onto base (who would subsequently score Atlanta's winning run). Is there any wonder why Ozzie Guillen (Manager A) is the most beloved coach in Chicago history this side of Mike Ditka while Dusty Baker (Manager B) is questioning whether he's going to still have a job by the All-Star break?

I'll be the first to admit that the Cubs' problems run a whole lot deeper than Dusty Baker. There are the injury problems, the naive belief over the offseason by Jim Hendry that there wouldn't be injury problems, and the lack of financial commitment by the Tribune Company to spend the money that is commiserate with a franchise that draws over 40,000 fans a game. However, Dusty's attitude that he and his team are merely the victims of bad luck doesn't address why he doesn't bench a veteran such as Neifi Perez when he drops a cut-off throw and airmails a ball over the catcher's head… on the same fucking play! I wouldn't expect Dusty to yell and scream when it's not in his nature to do so, but I do expect him to hold his players accountable rather than constantly giving them free passes.

In contrast again, when the White Sox looked complacent for a moment and lost only two games in a row, Ozzie was right there to wake them up with a profanity-laced tirade. Guess what happened afterwards: the Sox have come back and bashed in runs for two straight wins. Even after that success, Ozzie still believes that the team needs to have more practices regarding fundamentals when they get back home.

Ozzie has instilled the attitude that nothing is taken for granted on the South Side. His team knows that they need to go balls-out everyday or else they're going to be sitting on the bench. Dusty, however, still thinks this is just an unfortunate stretch for the Cubs. The problem is that this unfortunate stretch has lasted over 98 years, so Cubs fans have the right to be losing their collective patience.

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