Last year, the main controversy for the Cincinnati Reds erupted over Brandon Phillips comments about the St. Louis Cardinals. I think that “whiny little bitches” characterization has proven to be true.
This year, Phillips took to the Twitter airwaves, and everyone expected something to come of it: he is a bit of an impulsive person at times. But no, the Twitter controversy came from none other than pitcher Sam LeCure.
LeCure tweeted this Saturday after another extra-innings lost when he wasn’t used and a bullpen arm was desperately needed. To that, Reds manager Dusty Baker said the following.
He was available without all his weapons. What I mean by that with that strained right forearm, he could only throw fastball, change-up. That’s not available to me. To me, I like his enthusiasm. I like him. But now is not the time for heroism.
Obviously, that’s bullshit. Baker’s being a hypocritical asshole. You can’t say this isn’t the time for heroism while at the same time you’re sending Carlos Fisher out to ostensibly ruin his baseball career. LeCure having two pitches available in extras is way better than destroying Fisher’s arm. However, Bake didn’t choose that option. In both of the last two extra-innings games, he opted for Fisher.
The team is spiraling into the madness that the Chicago Cubs fell into during Baker’s last season there. As good as Baker was for the Reds last season, I’m beginning to think he’s as wrong for them this year. His refusal to consider new ways of evaluating player data reeks of an anti-intellectualism that will inevitably doom this club, perhaps this year more than any.
LeCure tweeting that may have been out of line, but it sounds like the team didn’t communicate effectively with him about why he wasn’t being used and the team was losing. For being a player’s manager, it sounds like Baker screwed the pooch on this one.
In the same conversation, Baker also said, “I don’t read tweets.” If there’s ever been a telling sign about a manager’s refusal and inability to adapt to changing situations–something that’s required of every successful major league baseball player–that’s it.