Dusty Baker has been a part of professional baseball since 1967, and if and when the sport returns in 2020, he will have to kick a few habits he's probably been doing since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves.
All players, managers and coaches will have to stop spitting, among other things.
In the name of health and safety during the age of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB sent a 67-page document to teams outlining what the players can no longer do.
For Baker, the former Giants manager and current Houston Astros skipper, he isn't sure how he's going to stop spitting.
“Now the biggest challenge is gonna be what my mom has been chastising me about my whole life — spitting,” Baker told The Athletic's Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. “I am not kidding you. That’s the first thing my wife asked me. She goes, ‘How you gonna stop spitting?’ I don’t know.
“And my mom, I swear — she has been getting on me since I was 10 years old about spitting. Know what I mean? And I used to practice spitting. I’m the most accurate spitter in the world.”
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If you've seen Baker anywhere near a baseball diamond, he always has a toothpick sticking out of his mouth. Those little pieces of wood have become synonymous with the 70-year-old.
Baker told Stark and Glanville that there was a time in his career where he called a toothpick company trying to get an endorsement. Yes, a toothpick endorsement.
“So they wrote me back,” Baker said. “Nice letter. And they said, ‘Thank you, Dusty. It’s a great idea. But we don’t need you to sell toothpicks.' ”
Only Dusty could try to get a toothpick endorsement.
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Whenever baseball returns, Baker will manage an Astros team coming off a turbulent offseason in which they were severely punished for a sign-stealing scandal. Former manager AJ Hinch was fired for his role, opening the door for Baker get the chance to lead his fifth MLB team to the playoffs.
If Baker gets back to the playoffs, he'll have to do it without his trusty toothpicks.
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