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Darren Baker still can't bat boy 10 years later

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Darren Baker still can't bat boy 10 years later

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Ten years after Darren Baker nearly got run over at home plate when he wandered into the World Series action, he's still not old enough to be a bat boy.

The 13 1/2-year-old son of Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is just fine with it, because these days he's a second baseman who appreciates watching the games to learn. He does plan to bat boy for a few games in 2013 after turning the required 14 on Feb. 11.

``It was smart, because I was so young and maybe if another kid is young he doesn't know what to do compared to an older kid who kind of understands more,'' Baker said Saturday, sitting in the dugout taking in the quiet scene some five hours before first pitch between the Reds and Giants in their playoff opener. ``Just parts of it, I remember a little bit of it when I got picked up at home plate. I remember Game 7 of the World Series. That's it. It went by so fast.''

Five hours before first pitch Saturday, Baker hopped around the dugout alone, leaned over the dugout rail and soaked in the scene. Yes, he said, he misses it here - even if the memories have faded some. He even ran inside to the clubhouse to grab his camera, then returned to snap a photo of the Blue Angels flying overhead for fleet week festivities.

Baker rooted for Washington to win on the season's final day so the NL Central champion Reds would be the NL's No. 2 seed behind the East-winning Nationals and open the best-of-five playoffs at San Francisco. His dad managed the Giants from 1993-2002.

It was here in October `02 when the then-toddler ran out to retrieve the bat of his favorite player - Kenny Lofton - in Game 5 of the World Series against the wild-card Angels. With David Bell charging home, San Francisco's J.T. Snow quickly scooped up the boy and kept him out of harm's way. After that, the ``Darren Baker Rule,'' as it became known, was established to require that bat boys be at least 14 years old.

``I think it was for the best because I like watching the game more. It was fun bat-boying, but I'd rather learn and watch the game,'' Baker said. ``I might do it once or twice (next year), but most of the time I'll be in the dugout watching.''

Baker - dressed in full Reds uniform as usual - planned to track down Snow before Saturday night's Game 1 of the NL division series, to say ``just hi, just normal.''

The Barry Bonds-led Giants came within six outs of winning a World Series title n Game 6 at Anaheim, then lost in Game 7. It wasn't until two years ago that San Francisco finally captured the franchise's first title since moving West from New York in 1958.

Little Darren was in tears after the `02 team fell short, then soon after moved off to Chicago as his dad left on difficult terms and became manager of the Cubs.

``When I was 3, I understood the teams and the magnitude of the situation,'' he said. ``I guess they just wanted to win badly.''

His 63-year-old father, who recently missed 11 games while recovering from a mini-stroke and irregular heartbeat, was expected to receive a warm ovation from the sellout crowd in the Giants' waterfront ballpark.

``In the beginning, when they announce his name with the lineups,'' Baker said. ``After that, he kind of turns into the enemy.''

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler