HOUSTON – After nibbling on thousands of toothpicks, Dusty Baker will need more to ease his anxiety … and to keep searching for a title.
Time is short for one of the most beloved managers, the top game winner without a World Series championship.
Nineteen years after staying within one win with San Francisco, Baker moved further away this time, two wins behind Houston. The Astros were shut out 7-0 Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves, the team that launched Baker’s career as a player in the Summer of Love.
Now 72, at the end of his 24th season as a major league manager, after 19 as an outfielder and four as a coach, Johnnie B. Baker Jr. has appeared in about 6,550 major league games. He spent much of Tuesday’s encounter pacing from the dugout to the mound, shoulders slightly hunched.
“The first time I came in, I was more like an uncle and then I became more of a father,” he said. “So I’m between a father, or maybe a grandfather. It’s probably cooler to be a grandfather right now.” .
Baker was a disappointed grandfather.
He shook his head, clenched his fist, and muttered something after Cuban Jorge Soler sent a cut fastball from Venezuelan Luis Garcia across left field and over the railroad tracks on a three-run home run for the Braves. take a 3-0 lead in the third inning.
Baker belongs to the old guard, before designated hitters, steroids, computer-controlled displacement and perpetual pitching changes.
He is the king of the dugout and probably the only major league manager who shared a joint with Jimi Hendrix, in 1968.
Baker took over the Astros in January 2020, following his stint as manager of San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Washington. His first mission with Houston was to guide and protect players after the signal theft scandal.
His contract has ended and his future is uncertain, almost like that of Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa, who is heading to free agency, threatened by a possible work stoppage.
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