Inside Dusty Baker's Brain
Man, I watched some show last night on the Discovery Channel, about extreme surgeries, and one featured some poor little girl whose skull bones cannot expand to allow for her growing brain. They literally peeled back her face, cracked the front of her skull away from the rest, and rigged up some sort of contraption where, periodically, they will hook her up to a "halo" device, and slowly pull the front of her skull away from the back.
Wouldn't you like to peel away Dusty Baker's face, crack open HIS skull, and find out WTF he's thinking?
The single biggest question facing the 2005 Cubs is the closer. Leadoff men and lame-armed Cy Young candidates are important, too. But nothing's bigger than the ninth-inning void.
Now, I realize LaTroy Hawkins is the most talented reliever we have. He has the best fastball and the best slider, hands down. When it's all added up in the end, he will make the most money in this game than anyone else we have in the pen right now.
We also know that there are NO public plans to trade for a closer. Hendry professes not to like Ugie Urbina, quite possibly because Mike Barrett is not comfortable enough with himself to be kissed by his closer at the end of games. If anything, Hendry is looking for a LOOGY, and if you don't know what a LOOGY is, go back to yer NCAA brackets, Ms. Casual Fan.
Now, let's look at the chronology of Mr. Hawkins' tenure with us.
He was signed to a lucrative contract, in fact, he stands to make even MORE money as a closer. Yet, he stressed that he was a set-up guy.
The incumbent in 2004, Reg'lar Joe Borowski, with his arm hanging at his side like dead skin, still trudged out there to start the year. He sucked, sucked HARD, yet Hawkins did not step up.
Finally, the trainers put Joe out of his misery, and Hawkins was made the closer. He did everything outside of install sandbags in front of his locker, to clarify that he was not comfortable with his new role. Every time he stood out there in the ninth, he resembled nothing more than a man in the advanced stages of rectal blockage.
The season ends, and we all know HOW it ended. Free Agency came, went, and yet no closer was signed. Troy Percival, in one of the all-time WTF moves, decides to sign with the Tigers on the spot, leaving a visit with us on the table. All I can figure is that Little Caesar himself drugged Troy, then had three Russian mail-order brides rape him in front of a camera with a real good zoom lens. "Sign with us, or we'll tell Mrs. Percival why all of a sudden you have blisters on yer ween." Pizza Pizza, my rump.
Anyway, the sun rises on Day 1 in Mesa. When Dusty is asked who his closer is, he points to Hawkins, who then promptly installs a new-and-improved Super Friends Impregnable Shield of Anonymity around himself.
But wait!! (major chord) Reg'lar Joe is back!! Glory Be!! Hawkins changes his underwear, and smiles the smile of the contented.
Lo, woe be to us! Reg'lar Joe breaks his wrist because he's too much of a Polack to back away from a batted ball, and Dusty, yet again, anoits Hawkins as a closer.
The masses cry, "What about Dempster?" Whereupon Dempster lights up the Arizona sky with batted balls.
Once again, the masses cry "What about Chad Fox?" In his big opportunity yesterday, Fox spit the bit.
The masses still cry "What about Kerry Wood?" And, while the time may still come for Mr. Wood to find his true calling in life as the most intimidating ninth-inning bastard since Goose Gossage, it shall not happen now, my friends.
For it is self-evident that Dusty Baker is hell-bent to have LaTroy Hawkins, of Gary, Indiana, close games for your Chicago Cubs. Don't you want to know what the HELL he sees in him? The rest of us see a sweaty, abnormally agitated spazz holding a ball in the ninth. Some of the more well informed of us note that Mr. Hawkins does not have an off-speed pitch, and thus does not alter hitters' timing, which is crucial in the ninth, when batters not named Sammy Sosa automatically bear down harder.
It is not clear, but Dusty Baker is either a) Genius or b) Utter kunckle-dragging Idiot. You should know by now which way I lean.
Hope to God he proves me wrong.