From the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan :

Dusty Baker downplayed a report that painted a segment of Cubs fans as racist and hostile toward him and some of his players.

The article in USA Today quotes the Cubs’ manager, outfielder Jacque Jones and former Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins as saying they had received racist mail or phone calls from fans. It also said Baker’s wife, Melissa, no longer attends home games, taking their 7-year-old son, Darren, home before games because of the “hostile” atmosphere.

Asked Monday if the letters would affect his feelings on wanting to stay and manage in Chicago, Baker replied: “No, I don’t think so. You realize that some people feel the way they feel. It’s sad that you have to get those, but on the other hand, it’s something I experienced, indirectly, when I was with Hank Aaron before. So that sort of prepared me for now.

“You realize that in some people’s minds, things haven’t changed, not as much as we’d like to think everybody has changed. But I haven’t gotten [racist mail] in a while, and most of these that I got were during a period when I [said] I wanted to stay and see this through and win like I came here to do. A lot of [the article] was old news.”

Baker conceded he also had received some racist letters when managing in San Francisco, but added, “I got a lot more here than I did there.” He said the positive mail still outnumbers the hate mail.

I think we can all agree there are some seriously deranged individuals out there. In the year 2006, what sort of human being…is sending positive correspondence to Dusty Baker?