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Cubs fire manager Don Baylor

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The fired manager Don Baylor on Friday and promoted Bruce Kimm from Triple-A Iowa as interim manager, team spokesman Jesse Navarro said. Also, assistant general manager Jim Hendry is being promoted to general manager. The team planned a news conference in Atlanta at 4 p.m. CDT to discuss the moves, Navarro said. The lost to the 5-1 Thursday to fall to 34-49, 12½ games out of first place in the National League Central. Baylor's job had been the subject of intense speculation recently in Chicago. The team had been expected to contend for a pennant, but many of its veteran players are having poor years. Baylor didn't survive his third year as manager after the staggered out of spring training and played lifeless and listless baseball.
Dave van Dyck's Dot-comment
How fitting that on the day Don Baylor was fired big-time free agent was out with a strained right calf. Alou was also out with a strained right calf when the season began. That's the way it has been for Baylor this season: Alou injured, hurting, ineffective. It was a bad situation but Baylor did nothing to keep it from getting worse. If Baylor had a fault (besides having no respect for pitchers), it was that he expected players to act like mature, responsible grownup, just as he did when he was playing. It doesn't work that way. Did Baylor deserve to get fired? Oh, probably, just because sometimes a different perspective can be good. Was it surprising? Yes, considering the frugal still owe him nearly $2 million.

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Andy MacPhail, Rene Lachemann, and share their thoughts on Baylor firing.

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  • 2002 Managerial Changes - Before/After
    Team Before Change After Change
    0- 6 (.000) 29- 47 (.382)
    8-15 (.348) 24- 35 (.407)
    20-33 (.377) 13- 17 (.433)
    6-16 (.273) 34- 29 (.540)
    3-12 (.200) 29- 41 (.414)
    Totals 37-82 (.311) 129-169 (.433)
    After adding to bat fifth behind and , the thought they had strengthened their offense and created one of the most potent lineups in the NL. Instead, McGriff struggled and so did Alou, with his hitting stroke and injuries, and the simply couldn't score runs or produce big innings. But it wasn't so much the team's poor play as it was the appearance that the had already lost interest, especially during a run of cold-weather games early in the season. Pitcher blasted his teammates, saying they were flat and playing like they were 15 games under .500 in August. Baylor followed that up with a closed-door team meeting, airing out the frustrations stemming from the lethargic play. All this after Chicago won 88 games in 2001 and led the NL Central most of the way until the final month when Houston and St. Louis shot past. Baylor had a run-in with Sosa during his first season when the won just 65 games, but patched that up. At the end of last year, he infuriated his pitching staff when pitching coach Oscar Acosta was forced to resign because of a personality conflict with the manager. Opinionated and honest, Baylor simply couldn't provide the spark that the so-called "Lovable Losers" needed. Baylor, the 1979 American League MVP, was a player known for his toughness and still holds the major league record for number of times being hit by a pitch - 267. At the end of his career, Baylor showed a penchant for being on winners. He was with the in 1986, the in 1987 and the A's in 1988 when all three teams made the World Series. After a stint as a hitting coach with the and , Baylor became manager of the expansion Colorado in 1993. When the went 77-67 two years later and made the postseason as a wild card, Baylor was chosen manager of the year. His relationship with GM Bob Gebhard deteriorated and after a 77-85 season in 1998, Baylor was done in Denver. He went to Atlanta as hitting coach the following season where he was given credit for helping develop. And after the fired Jim Riggleman, he was team president Andy MacPhail's choice to try to do something that few have been able to over the years - make the winners. The haven't won a World Series since 1908, haven't qualified for one since 1945 and haven't put together back-to-back winning seasons in 30 years. Fans still pack Wrigley Field, so the future of a manager is usually not determined by attendance figures. After signing a four-year contract, Baylor said he wanted Sosa to be a more complete player. After some tense times between the two, Sosa became the one player he could count on. Ed Lynch was forced out as GM during the 2000 season and MacPhail, the CEO, took over that job, as well. The promotion of Hendry ends that dual role for MacPhail. The jettisoned veterans like , and from their 2001 team, and the new faces never did replace the chemistry that had made the team a playoff contender.
    Tagged: Braves, Cubs

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