Dusty Baker put his foot in his mouth a second time on Tuesday with cringeworthy remarks about how Latin and African-American players bring the most speed to teams, and how you can use that need to help yourself “with the need for minorities.”
Baker made the remarks in an interview with ASAP Sports at the league’s winter meetings, answering a question about roster shortcomings he’d like the Nationals to address.
“I think that’s the number one thing that’s missing, I think, in the game is speed,” Baker said. “You know, with the need for minorities, you can help yourself — you’ve got a better chance of getting some speed with Latin and African-Americans. I’m not being racist. That’s just how it is.”
There was no reason for Baker to suddenly go off on that tangent. Maybe he thinks he’s doing someone a favor by point it out, but he isn’t. Between Baker’s blatant stereotyping, the “help yourself” comment, and his comments earlier Tuesday ignorantly defending Aroldis Chapman, it has not been a good day for Dusty. It’s not really surprising, though. This is the same guy who once said that black and Hispanic players have an easier time coping with playing in the heat.
The Nationals obviously wanted an old-school manager when they hired 66-year-old Dusty Baker, but I’m sure the team wishes Baker would keep his old-school outlook on domestic violence to himself.
When meeting with reporters at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday, Baker was asked about the ongoing domestic violence investigation involving Aroldis Chapman. Baker, who brought Chapman into the league with the Reds in 2010, basically defended the fireballer while admitting he knew nothing about the investigation.
“I don’t believe reports. Who knows why? I’m not one to judge on how the whole thing happened,” Baker said, via ASAP Sports Transcripts. “I’ll go on record and say I wouldn’t mind having Chapman. No, no, he is a tremendous young man with a great family, mom and dad, and what he went through to get here and what his family had to go through to get here. I was with him through the whole process.”
Rather than leaving it at that, Baker went on to admit that he “didn’t read” Jeff Passan’s report about the Chapman incident, which included information from an actual police report. He then wandered into victim-blaming territory.
“I mean, who’s to say the allegations are true, number one. And who’s to say what you would have done or what caused the problem,” Baker said.
Baker was then asked if he thinks it’s a good thing that Major League Baseball now has a domestic violence policy. A simple “yes” would have done the trick.
“Yeah. I think it’s a great thing,” he said. “I mean, I got a buddy at home that’s being abused by his wife. So I think this policy needs to go further than the player. I think the policy should go to whoever’s involved. Sometimes abusers don’t always have pants on.
“I think we need to get them both in a room and try to come up with something. It’s a bad situation.”
Chapman hasn’t been convicted of anything, but that doesn’t excuse Baker’s ignorance. He should at least read about Chapman being accused of choking his girlfriend and the other disturbing allegations before he comes out with stuff like “abusers don’t always have pants on.”
The allegations against Chapman are serious enough that at least one MLB team stopped pursuing him when they learned about them. You can understand Baker wanting to defend his former player, but that’s not the way to go about it.
H/T Hardball Talk
Photo: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Nationals have reached an agreement with Dusty Baker to make him the team’s next manager.
After reports surfaced Monday night indicating contract discussions had broken down between the Nationals and former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black, the team turned its attention to Baker. Black was reportedly not pleased with Washington only offering him a two-year deal.
The Nationals were determined to hire a manager with experience after Matt Williams, who had never managed before, underachieved with a roster many believed had World Series potential.
Baker is seen as a players’ manager and a great clubhouse presence, and there has been talk in the past that he is too friendly with his teams. But given some of the things that happened between Nationals players last season (like this embarrassing dugout fight on live television), you can understand why the Nats wanted to hire someone with a decent history of both keeping the peace and winning.
Some will argue that the game has passed the 66-year-old Baker by, and we are already hearing moans and groans about the Nationals low-balling Black. One thing is for certain — Washington has the talent needed to win right now. If Baker can pull some of the right strings and keep the team chemistry in order, he should find success.
The Washington Nationals are reportedly down to two managerial candidates – Dusty Baker and Bud Black.
Baker and Black will both get second interviews, according to CBS Sports’s Jon Heyman, with no other candidates appearing to be in the picture to replace Matt Williams.
Both candidates have a lot of previous experience. Black spent eight full seasons managing the San Diego Padres, while Baker has twenty years of managerial experience with the Giants, Cubs, and Reds. The team seems to be prioritizing experience after the Williams experiment failed, as Williams had never managed before getting the Nationals job.
Baker in particular is regarded as a player’s manager, which would be a stark contrast to the allegedly “terrible” environment fostered by Williams. After his firing by the Reds, there was talk that Baker was actually too friendly for the Reds clubhouse. Perhaps that’s exactly what the Nationals need after such a disappointing season.
Long before he was a Major League Baseball player and manager, Dusty Baker was into music.
The former two-time All-Star grew up in a household with parents who loved music, and he too fell for the blues. In light of his music-loving side, Baker has written a memoir called “Kiss The Sky” about his experience attending the famous 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which featured legendary performers such as Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The New Yorker’s Charles Bethea promoted the memoir with an excerpt and interview with Baker. Among the gems shared in the feature is that Baker once smoked a joint with Jimi Hendrix.
The marijuana dalliance with the musically gifted one came a year after the music festival, shortly after Baker made his MLB debut with the Braves.
The summer after the Monterey Pop Festival, Baker was briefly called up to the Braves, the first of his nineteen seasons as a professional ballplayer. After his first stint in the bigs, Baker writes, he ran into Jimi Hendrix on the streets of San Francisco one night and, having abandoned the “no grass” rule, smoked a joint with him. (He’s mum about the words they exchanged, if he remembers them.) All of this by nineteen.
The “no grass” rule was a reference to a rule Baker and his buddies had in place when they attended the festival, not wanting to jeopardize their athletic futures.
So by the age of 19 Dusty Baker had already recorded two hits in the Major Leagues and smoked a joint with Jimi Hendrix. Most people don’t come close to accomplishing those kinds of feats in an entire lifetime.
Most of this cool anecdote should not surprise us. Baker has always seemed like a down-to-earth, friendly guy. Heck, even his own players have said that he was maybe even too friendly as a manager. Maybe that’s just because he was able to relate to them so well.
Bottom line: Dusty can definitely hear Jimi.
The Cincinnati Reds announced on Tuesday that former pitching coach Bryan Price has reached an agreement with the team to replace Dusty Baker as manager. Baker was fired following a disappointing season in which the Reds finished third in the NL Central and lost in the wild card round. Still, many were surprised to see the 64-year-old go after reaching the playoffs in three of the past four seasons.
Starting pitcher Mike Leake, who went 14-7 this season with a 3.37 ERA, seems excited that Price is taking over. During an interview with Lance McAlister on ESPN 1530 on Tuesday, Leake implied that Baker had become too friendly with the Reds players.
“No disrespect to Dusty, but he’s such a player’s manager that it’s tough for him to be commanding at times because he wants to be so liked by everybody,” the 25-year-old explained. “Price is the same way. He wants to be liked, but on the other hand he’s not afraid to tell you what he needs to tell you. He can do that for us.”
That almost sounds like the same theory that ran Terry Francona out of town with the Boston Red Sox two years ago. A lot of players enjoy playing for managers who give them freedom, but it can work against the team if there is not a strong enough presence in the clubhouse.
“We have the talent on paper,” Leake added. “We need a little more relentless play. Not that people don’t work hard, but you have certain people that play the way they play and there’s not much fire. The whole team’s kind of like that. I’m hoping that (Pierce) can bring out a little more attitude in everyone. I think it would be a great thing for us.”
With guys like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, you would think the Reds have enough veteran leadership to work with a player’s manager. If Leake’s comments are any indication, that was not the case in Cincy this season.
Dusty Baker was fired by the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, two days after his team lost a one-game playoff to the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to a report from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Baker was fired because he wanted to protect his hitting coach from being canned.
Heyman reports that Reds GM Walt Jocketty wanted to fire hitting coach Brook Jacoby following the season. Baker supposedly didn’t want Jacoby taking the blame for the team’s perceived failures, so he offered himself as a sacrificial firing instead. Jocketty took him up on the offer.
“It hurts. It hurts big-time,” Baker told Heyman. “It’s a double whammy being swept out of the playoffs, and two days later this.”
Baker indicated to Heyman that he felt his time in Cincinnati was up anyhow, which may be why he offered his job.
“The last couple weeks, I’ve been getting a rash of hate mail, racial mail,” he said. “Maybe it is time to go.”
The Reds went 90-72 and posted the fifth-best record in the NL. Baker thinks the team overachieved, though their pythagorean record indicates they did slightly worse than expected based on runs scored and allowed (their pythagorean record was 93-69).
Baker managed the Reds for six seasons, leading them to the postseason three times. They were swept out of the playoffs by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010, lost to the San Francisco Giants in five last year, and they lost their 1-game playoff with the Pirates this year. Baker used poor strategy this season in the playoff game by leaving starting pitcher Johnny Cueto in longer than he should have when it was clear Cueto didn’t have it.
Baker went 509-463 in six seasons with the Reds. He told Heyman he wants to manage next year. And despite his problems with Jocketty, he believes he would have been back next year had he allowed Jacoby to be fired.