Were Dusty Baker and Bryan Price ever that close?
All reports are that the Reds will hold a press conference today and name Bryan Price as the club’s new manager. After Dusty Baker’s firing, Price was immediately a candidate for the job, having served as the team’s pitching coach since 2010.
Baker’s laid-back atmosphere and no “sense of urgency”, especially in the last week of the season, led to the Reds early-exit from the playoffs and his ultimate dismissal. Many fans, including myself, were a bit apprehensive about the thought of promoting Price for fear that the current culture of the Reds would remain the same. However, the more I think about the situation, I question whether Baker and Price were ever really that close.
In 2009, Price served as Arizona’s pitching coach under manager Bob Melvin. When Melvin was fired, Price resigned.
Principled Price walked away from a six-figure contract that was among the best in the majors, saying simply, “It had to be done.”
“There is an unbelievably strong connection to Bob and a loyalty to Bob. I feel his termination was unfair and uncalled for. They fire one of my friends, who I believe in firmly, and they replace him with somebody with no experience,” Price said.
“To me it was a slap in the face not only to Bob but to Chip and to Gibby and to anybody who has actually managed or coached in the past. I thought it bypassed people who were more prepared to finish out the year.”
After the 2009 season, Dick Pole was fired as the Reds pitching coach. It certainly sounds like it was not the manager’s decision.
“I told Dick when I got here today,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He was hurt, and it was difficult for me, because you know how close we are. I’d rather be the one to tell him because of my relationship with Dick and my respect for what he’s done in the game. It was a tough decision, an organizational decision. I don’t want to get into specifics because I don’t think that would serve a point.”
Will Bryan Price lead the Reds to the World Series? Will be provide the culture change that many people think the team needs? It is impossible to answer those questions today. But right now, as a Reds fan, I feel good about having Price run the show.