Giants better without Baker?

Updated: May 1, 2003, 3:43 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Dusty Baker received a nice ovation when he returned to Pac Bell Park last night as the manager of the Cubs. Clearly, however, there was one writer who was not tempted to break the "no cheering in the press box" edict and join in with the crowd. Skip Bayless feels quite strongly that the Giants are better off without Baker and he makes no bones about it in today's San Jose Mercury News.

Bayless pretty much covers every fault he can think of in downgrading Dusty's tenure with the Giants, including the flap over Baker's son Darren, and his rise to prominence in baseball circles as the sports' most dangerous bat boy. Bayless feels that the distractions Baker caused were not a help to the team, nor were his questionable strategies in the final two games of last year's World Series.

The question remains, are the Giants better for not having Baker at the helm anymore? This is going to be tough to quantify. While they are off to a nice start (18-7), Baker did take them to the brink of a World Series victory last year. Unless Felipe Alou takes them all the way, it might be hard to prove that they are the better for Baker's departure. One could probably make the case that if Alou's Giants win more than the 95 games that Baker's Giants did, the team has improved by subtraction regardless of what happens in the playoffs. Of course, proving that any manager makes his team better or worse is always a tough point to prove in the first place.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at