It’s Deja Vu all over again. Dusty Baker takes over an underachieving club with two hot young arms…
It’s 2003, and a Faustian bargain has been placed in front of Dusty. A goat-hoofed man (what is it with the Cubs and goats?) approaches Dusty and says, “Do you want to be the man to break the curse? I’ll give you this one season to try. In exchange, all you have to give me is the future of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Their baseball souls for immortality! Think about it Dusty! Imagine the possibilities.”
Dusty is an astute guy and responds to the Lord of Flies, “Wait, wait, wait. Last time I trusted you, I got to game 7 of the World Series in exchange for Barry Bonds’ baseball immortality, but you yanked the rug out from under me! What’s the catch man?”
The angel of light replies silkily, “Dusty, you wound me! There are no hidden schemes with me. What you see is what you get. I tell you Dusty, it’s such a sure thing that you’ll win the series with this Cubs team that I promise you that only the Cub fans themselves could possibly stop you! They would have to rise from their seats and literally steal the ball from the glove of your team. Dusty, my friend! Sure I’ll claim the baseball soul of those two brilliant young men, but they’ll be heroes forever in Chicagoland! Shake my hand and this curse is as good as lifted…”
Well just a few years after the Devil proved it ain’t over til it’s over, Dusty has brought his own unique brand of baseball wisdom to Cincinnati and things are looking up. The Reds have now seen two electric starts in 4 days from young Dominican arms, as well as a pair of walkoff wins spurred on by a guy who couldn’t lay down a bunt and a 38 year-old back up catcher only playing because two other guys got hurt in front of him. There’s some scarey hoo–doo going on in the Queen City, and I don’t know whether to start getting excited or brace myself for some epic misery. Think about it. The only real question about this Reds team is if they can hit enough. Whereas I’ve always been a pessimist in football, I’m a natural optimist in baseball, but weird goings on in the first week in Cincy even have me a bit skittish.
Let’s just say that as the summer wears on, I’ll be keeping an eye out for pitch counts north of 120 and talking snakes.