Dusty Baker Introduced as Washington Nationals Manager

The Washington Nationals introduced their next manager Dusty Baker to the media at National Park Nov. 5 . It was a 35-minute performance, better known as a press conference, that was all Dusty, who appeared to be the opposite of Matt Williams, the Nats manager last season.

The Nationals, after having gone through a severely disappointing season which ended without a playoff spot, hired the veteran manager who comes with a sterling record and loaded with accolades to be the manager.

The move may have startled a few people—many and any baseball writer, bloggers or broadcasters and seers who had all but anointed for sure Bud Black, the former manager of the San Diego Padres, as signed up for the job.  Apparently,  according to some of the very same people, discussions between the Nationals and Black hit a snag, apparently over money.

Regardless, the sports press seemed elated to be in the big presence of the 66-year-old Baker, who was full of quips and quotes. He had sports reporters scrambling to scribble it all down—and they loved doing it.

“This is my fourth and final team,” Baker said. “Beyond compare, this is the best talent. That’s why I was excited about coming here.”

In the process, the Nationals also saved Major League Baseball a little embarrassment by hiring Baker, who becomes the only African American to currently hold a managerial job in baseball. 

This wasn’t a politically correct decision, though.  Baker comes eminently qualified for the job, which meant in the end that the Nats had opted for experience—which Williams, although he was named Manager of the Year in his first year—did not have.  The Nats, in fact, underachieved in a major way this year—picked by many to be major World Series contenders—probably by the same people who had Black in a Nats uniform—and they failed to make the playoffs in spite of big-name talent and a top-notch pitching staff, falling to the New York Mets in the National League East division race.

Baker managed in the major leagues for 20 years, with 3,176 games as a bench coach, was a three-time manager of the year, won division titles with the Giants, Cub and Reds and guided the San Francisco Giants into the 2002 World Series. He has not won a World Series as a manager, although he did as a player with the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Last week, Mike Rizzo, general manager of the Washington Nationals, said, “Dusty’s experience, as a winning player, coach and manager, is vast and varied. We are excited to bring him to Washington and put his steady demeanor, knowledge and many years in the game to work in our favor.”


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