After an extensive interview process that included a wide variety of candidates, the Nationals zeroed in on two particular men before ultimately making their final decision to hire Bud Black as their new manager. The other was Dusty Baker, who finished as the runner-up to a player he once coached when both were with the San Francisco Giants.
Anyone would be disappointed in falling short of a job they came so close to getting, and naturally Baker is quite down about it.
Here is what he told The San Francisco Chronicle after hearing from his wife he did not get the job. He says the Nationals did not contact him before the news surfaced in the media.
“I’m happy for Buddy. I mean, Buddy played for me. But naturally, I don’t think anyone would have been as good for the job as me. It seemed like a perfect fit. The town. The diversity of the races. People from all over the world."
Baker has a far more accomplished résumé than Black, or than other managers hired by teams this offseason, for that matter. The San Diego Padres, for instance, didn't even interview Baker despite his expressed interest in the job. They instead went with a first-time manager in Andy Green, who is 27 years younger than Baker.
Baker talks more about his future with the SF Chronicle and also brings up some interesting points about diversity in baseball. The Dodgers still have an opening, but if they do not pick an African-American for the job there will be no black managers in MLB for the first time in 29 years.
Time will tell if Baker gets another shot at managing, but it sounds like he really had his heart set on the gig in Washington.