When the Dusty Baker news broke last Friday, Lurch of The Sports Junkies just happened to be playing golf behind Ryan Zimmerman.
Lurch relayed the story on 106.7 The Fan Monday morning.
It’s funny, because I was playing golf on Friday out at River Bend in Great Falls, and two holes ahead of me, Ryan Zimmerman was playing. And this [story] broke at about — I don’t know — 11, 11:30. I was on like the third, fourth hole, whatever it was.
I didn’t get to talk to him while we were playing, but after the fact, I saw him in the parking lot. I said, ‘Dude. What’s up with Dusty?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, my wife just…’ So he didn’t even know. His wife texted him while he was on the course.
The Junks were huge Dusty Baker supporters, and shared their skepticism about the move with their audience.
“I mean I know that’s the report, that Rizzo wanted him back and the Lerners didn’t want to pay him, or whatever,” Lurch said. “So who knows what’s true and what’s not. We knew that it was certainly a possibility after what happened. You don’t get past the first round. It’s been four of six years.”
“Maybe they go younger,” he said. “Maybe they go to a metrics guy. I don’t know. But it’s not totally surprising.”
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“No. It’s not totally surprising,” Eric Bickel said. “I’m neutral on it, because I like Dusty and I totally think they could win a World Series with him, unlike some of the sabermetrics crowd that think he’s just incapable and they look at the postseason failures of the past.”
“But I also thought he definitely deserved another shot with these guys,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m not saying he’s the greatest manager in the world. There are definitely, probably people that might be better, I just don’t know who’s gonna take [the job].
“You’ve got a one-year run with this group, and you’ve got a track record where they go through managers like toilet paper. So you have no — in a position where there is no stability, you have less than no stability here, because the max you’re gonna go is two years and they’re gonna get rid of you if you don’t win a World Series.”
Lurch noted that Mike Rizzo, Nats General Manager and President of Baseball Operations, also isn’t signed past 2018, further devaluing what could already be a less than intriguing job opportunity.
“Mike Rizzo’s contract’s up [after 2018],” he said. “The same year as Murphy and Harp.”
John-Paul Flaim expressed further skepticism over Rizzo’s conference call announcing the news.
“I didn’t buy into… you know, Rizzo was saying it, but it didn’t sound like it was coming from the heart, what he was saying,” Flaim said. “And that was the report. Grant [Paulsen] said he had an inside source who told him the night before that Rizzo wanted Dusty back. And Dusty was not happy, because he had to stay in town for like a week only to get canned by the phone.”
EB: Look. Dusty wasn’t perfect in the playoffs, by any stretch, but I don’t think any manager is.
Lurch: Your players have to perform.
EB: Yeah. I mean, if Trea Turner didn’t hit .143, if Ryan didn’t hit .150, if Bryce didn’t hit .211, if Daniel Murphy didn’t hit .211, if Jayson Werth didn’t hit .167…
JP: They didn’t hit their weight. They didn’t hit their weight!
EB: The guys failed him. He made some mistakes, but the guys around him did not perform.