Hope Springs Eternal is something I’ve written about in Spring Training for years. Hope Springs Eternal was originally a poem of a different meaning, and it’s been a title of books. To me, the eternal meaning of the years as they go by forever never changes what’s in our hearts, and each year you have the new seasons and every Spring we find new hope. If we lose our hope, then we lose our dreams. This year starts those new dreams, and the games are played on the field of dreams.
Hope will come in different sizes and shapes……..
Hope will come from within, and be placed upon those who can look up and beyond, and those on the roster who must stay healthy, and beat the expectations.
Hope will come from leadership of those put in charge, and from players who emerge in the clubhouse like Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman and even Bryce Harper who leads by example.
Hope is also in the person they call the Manager. In Dusty We Trusty. Dusty has a very specific signature look with the Tea Tree toothpick (available at Whole Foods) and Mims wristbands. In the picture below, you will see Dusty Baker wearing ‘old school’ Mims wristbands and yes, Dusty was the 1st Major League player to ever wear Mims wristbands.
If you look closer at that photo of Dusty, he has a Lokai bracelet on his right wrist. Kind of ‘old school’ meets ‘new school’ just like throwback Bryce Harper! You might remember that Bryce sported Mims wristbands and also for extra swag the Lokai that Bryce wears has water from Mt. Everest in Nepal, and mud from the Dead Sea in Israel. Bryce said, “This signifies the highs and lows in my life.” Each Lokai is infused with elements from the highest and lowest points on Earth. The bracelet’s white bead carries water from Mt. Everest, and its black bead contains mud from the Dead Sea. These extreme elements are a reminder to the wearer to live a balanced life – staying humble during life’s peaks and hopeful during its lows.
The Dusty Effect will always be something that isn’t totally quantifiable as Managers get little credit but lots of blame. The 3-time Manager of the Year has a history of taking over teams and improving them in the first year he manages his new team. Dusty took over the Giants and they improved 31 games in his 1st year. Fangraphs projects the 2016 Nats at 88 wins with no regard to the Manager. There must be a Dusty Effect based on his history, and we will play the games and count the actual wins. Will it be 104 wins like our graph projected? Probably not, but maybe it will be 94 games like Sports On Earth is projecting.
Your 2016 NL East division preview. https://t.co/4EVvthZpRW
— Will Leitch (@williamfleitch) February 23, 2016
Sports On Earth writes,
1. Washington Nationals, 94-68 Great gig Dusty Baker has found for himself. Find a supremely talented team led by the NL MVP and a rotation that’s potentially dominant 1-5, one that couldn’t put it together last season and ended in a fiery explosion of dysfunction and sometimes literal in-fighting as a neophyte manager fiddled idly by. Come in as the “change” manager and then get credit when it all settles down and the team does what a team with its talent should do.
That is to say, the Nationals underachieved last season, but they also had all sorts of things go wrong that shouldn’t go wrong … and are unlikely to go wrong again. This isn’t a team you predict to win more than 100 games anymore, but that rotation is still terrifying, and they still have Bryce Harper, who just might end up being better than he was last season. (Speaking of terrifying.) The Nationals have a ton of bounce-back candidates and some help right around the corner on the farm.
Baker will get the pats on the back if the Nationals win this division the way they were expected to last season, and if they get back to where they should be, I suppose he will deserve them. But the Nationals weren’t as bad as they looked last year. They’ll be back to where they should have been all along this year.
Viera translates in Belarus to “Faith”. It will take a lot of faith in the powers to be to deliver the best this team has to offer. Dusty Baker and his staff are bringing a new look to the Nationals and the finished product will not be known for months as you play the games and the final record will stand on it’s own and be judged as will Dusty Baker.
Dusty has already talked about a diverse bench with speed and defense and a clutch lefty and a clutch righty. He has spoken to the need for health and rest and rest and health. “I just can’t stress enough of how health is the No. 1 issue. Health and how you take care of yourself, how you condition, how you eat.” Dusty is correct and so was Drazthegr8 when he wrote the following:
Dusty has his own tried and true practices on how to treat his players and of the dozens of players in camp, only 25 will be in Atlanta for Opening Day on April 4th. Dusty will have to break some hearts and dash some dreams as he cuts players, but Dusty looks at it from a philosophical point of view that he will make some moves in the best interest of the player and said, “A lot of times what you’re doing for a kid he might not realize might be the best for him at that time, that doesn’t mean that you don’t like him or he’s not in the plans.” It’s hard to tell if that is foreshadowing that a young player is headed to the Minors, but it sets up Dusty’s philosophy if he sends a youngster to the Minors that he is doing it for the player’s best interest.
Dusty will reveal more as he speaks like the possibility that he will use the days off early in the season to possibly start with a 4 man rotation and 8 in the ‘pen.
Dusty has also said this is the best team he has ever inherited. Hard to believe he feels that way with that Giants team he inherited in 1993 that won 103 games; however, that team only won 72 games the year before Dusty took that Giants team over. Dusty said, “I’ve had some good teams, but these are the toughest pitching decisions I’ve ever had to make. We’ve got young guys that are coming and some guys I didn’t know. We’ve got some veterans that I do know that are looking better than before that are looking healthy. Bob Boone tells me every day, ‘This is going to be a tough decision. Yeah, you’re right ’. I wish I could take a team of 30 and have like 20 pitchers.” Let’s tell Dusty he can have 20 pitchers in September, but he’s correct that it won’t work on Opening Day.
The quote of the Spring so far is this from Dusty Baker, “One thing I learned from reading Phil Jackson’s stuff is that every race is different every year, and then you’ve got to kind of plot your course. How many times can you plan something? I’m a planner. I can plan anything. Only thing, I learn to re-plan.”
Baseball is the ultimate reality show. You might think it can be scripted, but the script needs revisions or what Dusty calls re-plans. He is correct—you can plan anything and in baseball you have to learn to re-plan. This season once again players will compete and have their own hopes and dreams realized. Last year it was a 30 year old rookie, Clint Robinson, who showed you are never too old to be a rookie.
Hope Springs Eternal……..on the field of dreams…..
UPDATED: Laura photo(s) coming over:
This one is entitled “Roark In The Rain”
Pitchers faced live batters behind the L screens. Bostick, Turner, MAT, denDekker, plus the catchers were the batters. You had to be close enough to the players to either see the helmet numbers or their faces.
We were fortunate to be contacted by James Mims who runs Mimsbandz and he told us, “Dusty bandz will be available March 5th and any fan purchase for his bandz can enter promo code Dusty12 and get his bandz for $12.00. They can preorder at http://mimsbandz.com/products/dusty-baker/ (which we highly recommend). Bryce Harper is not available yet. We will keep you posted!”