Dusty Baker has managed five different teams over the last three decades, landing with the Houston Astros last offseason after stretches with the Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants. On Tuesday, following the Astros’ announcement that they were picking up Baker’s 2021 team option, the veteran skipper talked about how his time with each previous team ended.
Finally, Nationals: "That's the one that really hurt because I thought we did a great job. I thought I did one of my best jobs managing, & I really love the city....I felt the love from them in return. Sometimes your feelings are hurt, but you've got to continue on in life."— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) July 28, 2020
Baker’s contract with the Nationals ended in 2017, after the team won back-to-back NL East division titles but each time failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. The Nationals opted not to bring him back, instead hiring Cubs bench coach Davey Martinez to be their next manager.
For a year and a half, that move appeared to be a disastrous on for Washington. The Nationals missed the playoffs during Martinez’s first year before stumbling out to a 19-31 start to the 2019 season. It appeared that Martinez was on his way when the Nationals finally started winning. They didn’t stop until Oct. 30, when they beat the Astros in Game 7 of the World Series to win D.C.’s first title since 1924.
Baker, meanwhile, spent two years out of baseball before the Astros signed him last offseason to replace disgraced former manager A.J. Hinch. The 71-year-old was assigned the difficult task of helping the Astros whether a sign-stealing scandal that likely would be at the forefront of baseball fans’ attention this season if it weren’t for the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though the Nationals won a title without him, there are still segments of the fanbase that lament the fact that Washington let him walk in 2017. Baker has always indicated that he enjoyed his time in D.C. and he evidently wishes he had another chance to compete for championships before the team gave up on him.
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