Dusty Baker, the playoffs and dealing with the Washington Nutjobs

Ray Ratto
NBC Sports BayArea
<p>Dusty Baker should have a World Series ring to his name if you just look at his character. But then there's the playoffs and the Nationals Way.</p>

Dusty Baker, the playoffs and dealing with the Washington Nutjobs

Dusty Baker should have a World Series ring to his name if you just look at his character. But then there's the playoffs and the Nationals Way.

Dusty Baker should win a World Series as a manager before he retires. The Washington Nationals probably shouldn't be the instrument for that.
 
But in letting the decision on today's starting pitcher – now it is apparently going to be Stephen Strasburg after all – turn to dirt, the Nationals once again have made an unholy mess of what should have been a fairly simple matter: Pitch the best guy in a game you need.
 
Now it may be that Baker was backing Strasburg's alleged reluctance to go Wednesday. Or maybe he was baiting him to want the start by slyly dropping hints that Strasburg was resisting a change in his schedule. Or maybe he really wanted Tanner Roark but was overruled by general managers Mike Rizzo, Scott Boras and/or Ted Lerner.
 
But no, nothing is ever quite clean with this franchise, and it isn't correct to put this at Baker's doorstep. The culture as spelled out by those who see the team every day has been out of whack for years, and there's no compelling reason why that should be. It has talent, it has facilities, it has everything it needs to thrive. And to a large extent it has.
 
That is, until October, when every moment is an epoch and every decision a monument. In other words, the Nats get to play a series-deciding game Wednesday with half a case of anal-cranial inversion because merely applying one's thoughts to winning is simply too tough a task.
 
All that said, the right thing to happen is that the Nats win today and then let Game 5 take care of itself. In that way, Tuesday's rainout was a metaphor for the entire franchise – one extra day to vomit all over themselves.
 
And Baker? Like I said, there should be a ring in his future based on his general character and decency, though neither of these things actually factor into winning and losing as we well know. And like I said, it probably shouldn't be with these nutjobs.  But you dance with who brung you, and you damned well enjoy it because the do-over league hasn't been formed yet.











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