When the Washington Nationals announced that Dusty Baker wouldn't return as manager for the 2018 season, he thought he was finished coaching baseball for good. During his time off, he assumed a fan's perspective — even rooting for the Astros to beat his most-recent club in the 2019 World Series.

"Don't tell the Nationals, I was rooting for this team to beat the Nationals," Baker said during his introductory press conference with Houston on Thursday.

Of the 25-man roster for the 2017 NLDS, Baker's last series as the Nationals' manager, nine players were on the 2019 World Series roster. Two other 2019 World Series players — Adam Eaton and Joe Ross — were on the 2017 roster, but were on the disabled list during the postseason. Despite the roster including 11 Nationals he previously managed in Washington, Baker pledged his allegiance to the other side. 

As Baker was relegated to a fan the last two seasons, it looked as if his managerial career was, in fact, finished. That all changed this offseason when the Astros sign-stealing scandal sent shockwaves through the sport. 

Three managers, including former Astros' head man A.J. Hinch, lost their job as a result of the investigation, which confirmed Houston used a video feed to decode the catcher's signs and relay upcoming pitches by banging a dugout trash can.

Baker's hiring in Houston figures to provide a steadying presence as the organization faces scrutiny for the scandal that occurred during its run to the 2017 World Series title. 


"This is my last hurrah," Baker said. "I thought my last hurrah was in Washington, actually, because I gave all my stuff away."

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