From the Chicago Sun Times™ Mike Kiley.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker was aghast and upset at a titillating gossip item Monday in the New York Post that made its way across the Internet. The brief note implied that Baker had been flirtatious with a young female student when he spoke at Yale University on a day off April 14.

The item read: œWe hear ¦ that Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker “ at Yale the other day talking about the sports business “ gave his cell-phone number to a young lady and volunteered to get her a job in baseball. ˜Remind me you™re the cute one [when you call],™ Dusty told her.’™

Baker had been asked to Yale by Dr. William Sledge, who is with the school™s Calhoun College Masters Office. They attended an informal dinner after the talk, and Baker recalled four or five female students and three or four male students were there. He said that he gave out his cell-phone number to all of them but that his intentions were strictly to help the students if their postgraduate endeavors centered on jobs in baseball.

œI don™t remember saying that,’™ Baker said of the œcute’™ remark. œI talked to Dr. Sledge today, and he said if you need somebody to clear it up ¦ you can call him. How does this get started? That™s terrible. It™s like you can™t even help people now. I was upset about it when I heard it.’™

Sledge couldn™t be reached at his office after hours Monday.

œHe was right there with his wife,’™ Baker said. œIt was a special dinner afterward with six or seven students. [Sledge] said all the kids want to get into baseball. I was asking him why, and he told me boom-boom-boom, and I say, ˜Hey, I™ve got some connections. If you guys need some contacts for whatever it is, call me.™

œAnd I handed out, like, three cards or whatever I had and gave them my office number and cell number. He was standing right next to me. I can™t see her saying that. Dr. Sledge asked me, ˜How did that get out?™ I said, ˜I don™t know, Doc.™ Somebody in the room told somebody something.’™

Told that the Post item raised the specter of sexual innuendo, Baker was angry at the suggestion.

œThat™s wrong,’™ he said. œHow could I have sexual innuendo when she™s younger than my daughter? I was just trying to help young people get a job in baseball. I was going to make some calls. One of the kids called today, a senior at Yale. He™s a guy. Is that sexual innuendo, too?’™

The Dusty-leering-at-college-girls isn™t the most shocking part of the story, by the way. Why is Yale University inviting Baker to address their undergrads? Is Yale offering courses in faith healing? Studies in how to ruin pitching arms? Advanced Wearing Of Oversized Wristbands?

And yeah, it is crazy that this item œmade its way across the internet”, as though the New York Post is tiny publication no one reads.