The most important job of an MLB manager (the head coach in any sport, really) is to exude calm and confidence.
Handling a bullpen? Incredibly important. Bonding with players? Considering the fragile state of millennials, also vital. But remaining coolheaded when adversity strikes outweighs everything else.
As a field general, Dusty Baker was no Patton, which is why Nationals GM Mike Rizzo relieving Baker of his duties should come as no surprise.
Half-Bakered could never win the big one, and the intangibles that prohibited him from reaching baseball’s promised land were on full display this year. Dusty never looked in control. Things moved too fast for him, and now that he’s been managing baseball teams for 25 years without a title, you could tell the pressure was eating away at him whenever the Nationals ran into trouble.
As the most cerebral of the major sports, a baseball manager plays a critical role in getting his players in the right head space, and most importantly, keeping them there.
Dusty’s had a great career, but the “don’t worry, guys, I got this” confidence wasn’t there, and a “cursed” team like the Nats needs that presence to reach a World Series.
Rizzo’s decision wasn’t an easy one, but it was the right one.