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This is about Dusty Baker vs. Bruce Bochy, but it’s really about old-style baseball managers vs. new-style. I prefer old style — Baker, etc. — in a specific way, but I am not criticizing Bochy –a ┬ánew style guy. Got that?

The Reds were in SF over the weekend and I covered the Sunday game. I arrived at the park 3 hours early and I still missed Bochy’s pregame presser. Frustrating. I knew I never could get to see Bochy after that. That’s because he’s new style and cuts off media access, controls it carefully. His prerogative — but definitely no fun for a writer.

So I walked right over to the Reds’ clubhouse. I knew Dusty’s door would be open. He is old style and old style managers talk. I learned baseball from talking for hours and hours with Frank Robinson, Roger Craig, Tony LaRussa, Art Howe, Ken Macha and even Billy Martin when he showed up sane at the park. I had not seen Dusty since spring training and we greeted each other warmly. His son was there — the kid who almost got run over at home plate in the 2002 Series. Dusty introduced me — lovely, polite boy — and Gwen Knapp was there too. And we all just gabbed.

In the course of gabbing you reestablish ties with someone you know — Dusty — and you also learn stuff and he does too.

Old style managers were in the oral tradition. Ostler tells me LaSorda was the same way.

Bochy’s office has a window that looks out to a hallway in the clubhouse. The window has venetian blinds which are always shut. If his door is closed — it usually is — it means you can’t drop in and chat or kill time or learn or establish a baseball relationship. I don’t knock Bochy for this. He seems to be an exemplary human being and he won the World Series — his first priority. But except for several conversations about wine I really haven’t talked to Bochy and I don’t think I know him well, although I’d like to. In his media access he’s more like a football coach than a baseball manager. My suspicion is many new style managers are like him.

Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind, such as it is, on a sunny, glorious Wednesday morning.

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Comments

20 Comments

  1. Stan

    Bruce isnt as trusting a soul,or interested in the art of clever conversation..it’s,”Give me the ball and the team”-the rest is peripheral.
    I doubt he’s hiding a deep interest in nuclear physics. He’s just doing what he wants to do until he can’t or doesn’t want to..and then, its back to the ranch for Bruce.

    June 15th, 2011 12:15 pm

  2. bigandbold

    Did you ask Dusty why he’s always wearing wristbands?

    June 15th, 2011 12:54 pm

  3. Doug A

    Lowell, this is all about getting a story right? Admit it, it is easier to get a story from an old style manager — with the open door, than a new style one, with venetian blinds.

    Right now, I like our new style manager, because he seems to suit the Giants perfectly. I liked Dusty when he was the manager of the Giants, but wasn’t there a little more clubhouse turmoil during those times? Was it only because of Barry, or was it because of Dusty and Barry? Or what?

    June 15th, 2011 1:26 pm

  4. Neal

    When I think of Bill Buckner, I think of the Mookie Wilson dribber between Buck’s legs and when I think of Dusty Baker, I can’t stop remembering when he flip the ball to Russel Ortiz in the 7th inning of the World Series, where the Giants obviously didnot have enough runs.Let’s just call this a Lebron James moment.

    June 15th, 2011 2:10 pm

  5. D. Devil's Advocate

    Bochy is not your friend, and become your friend serves no purpose for him. Don’t you have many acquaintances you never see outside of your job, or if you just happen to meet them randomly?

    June 15th, 2011 2:22 pm

  6. CohnZohn

    Having Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent on the same roster made it an “interesting” group to manage.

    June 15th, 2011 2:34 pm

  7. mbabco

    Nice blog. It gives a sense of another time and place when not only managers but players were more accessible. In this day and age it seems to be more about controlled access and making sure you can present the face you want to to the world. In that other time the players probably didn’t need to be so guarded and protective of their personal life as there wasn’t as much likelihood that their shortcomings would be spread all over the sports section: it was more about what happened on the field, not off.

    June 15th, 2011 3:29 pm

  8. MK1

    Lowell,

    Speaking of Jeff Kent, is he a Hall of Famer on your hypothetical ballot?

    Just interested in your view as someone who saw him play regularly for a period and is familiar with his career stats as a second baseman…

    June 15th, 2011 3:47 pm

  9. MK1

    One observation… Life seems to be passing too many people by these days. I was walking down 6th Avenue this morning on a glorious NYC day and I can’t tell you how many people had their nose in their Blackberry or were looking down and texting. What they missed: pretty women in sun dresses, a cool Aston Martin on 50th zipping by Radio City, the sun glistening off the windows of the UBS building… It’s like people don’t have a soul anymore — like they don’t enjoy just being “human.” I feel bad for them.
    And despite his success, I feel bad for Bochy that his door is closed. Life is too short.

    June 15th, 2011 3:54 pm

  10. Dave T

    Every team is different as you bring in new personalities, and that includes the manager/coach. I find it hard to fault Bochy since he seems to have a team that is every bit of the word and then some. To me it seems that any of the players in the clubhouse would “take a bullet” for any other player. They are a close knit bunch who wants to perform at their very best for each other. Bochy just makes the moves and pulls the strings, and lately is seems to be mostly the right ones. I wish at times there was more insight into Bochy being Bochy, but for me, the story of this team is about the players and the great theatre and torture they give us night in and night out.

    June 15th, 2011 3:59 pm

  11. CohnZohn

    I once wrote that he’s not a hall of famer. Marty Lurie got on my case and said if Kent doesn’t make it as a second baseman then who does. So I’m thinking about it.

    June 15th, 2011 4:27 pm

  12. Stan

    Kent as I recall along with Dravecky played for SF but hated most of the people who lived there. Politics to the far right. Of the two,Bonds and Kent, Kent seemed the much bigger jerk.

    June 15th, 2011 4:50 pm

  13. Tiburon Dave

    Dusty understands menschkeit always did…Bochy has no idea…you either have it or you don’t…

    June 15th, 2011 5:05 pm

  14. Johnny Christo

    Dusty Baker has no clue about when to pull pitchers and when to leave them in. His inability to understand this nuance cost the Giants a World Series in 2002.
    -
    I am very happy that our new, new-style manager has the pulse of his pitching staff, and knows exactly how and when to make the right moves.
    -
    I pity my 2nd favorite team, the Reds. I am confident in my favorite team, the Giants.

    June 15th, 2011 5:39 pm

  15. Bob In Pacifica

    I enjoyed Dusty when he was here, sorry when he left. Hated Bochy when he came. Glad that he stayed. He’s a master at handling the pitching staff.

    June 16th, 2011 5:45 am

  16. hurricane225

    This seems like the human predilection for finding patterns in random events.

    Bruce Bochy does not seem new-style to me. Bruce Bochy strikes me as being old school. He certainly appears to keep things close to the vest.

    Dusty Baker and Tommy Lasorda are perhaps just more personable, particularly with the media. Does that make them old-style?

    The funny thing to me is how much the perception of the two changed depending on how they did in the playoffs, Bochy wins the WS and now he’s a genius. Baker takes out the starter with a five run lead in the 7th and he is an idiot.

    June 16th, 2011 7:33 am

  17. BRAY

    That’s the best post I’ve ever read from you Stan, I figure I bust your chops usually, so I should give you props when needed.

    Of course Kent is a HOF’er, like Lurie said, if he doesn’t, there might not ever be another 2nd baseman make it. He was average in the field but WAY above average with a bat in his hand. I like the “Was he the best or one of the top 2 of his generation at their postion” question for HOF, if the answer is yes, then they should make it in. Alomar and Kent are the 85-05′ 2 baggers that should make it in.

    June 16th, 2011 8:13 am

  18. Dave T

    Dusty was what that Giants clubhouse needed. A manager who could massage the egos, and keep them going in the same general direction. Bochy is what this clubhouse needs. A strong figure that makes the needed decisions and then gets out of the way of the veterans in the clubhouse to motivate and keep this team going. Both have seemed to work well. And right now, Bochy and his vets and young guys alike have this team playing very well as a team.

    June 16th, 2011 8:44 am

  19. Stan

    I like that 95.7 is dissecting Beane,his record and Moneyball even handed and with critical comments included. Imagine KNBR doing that on the Giants? Warriors?..It’s refreshing.
    The lack of diversity on 95.7 is disturbing(thanks again Bruce) though..not one person of color. Rod Brooks on KNBR is it?? and Rod only represents Rod.
    And Lowell,the wolfers bring up that Beane is loosening his reigns-do you see that?

    June 16th, 2011 9:48 am

  20. Johnny Christo

    Hurricane… Jason Schmidt riding the pine in a crucial game is idiotic

    June 18th, 2011 5:37 am

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