What’s your team doing? Mine’s gonna spend tons of $$$ this winter, which is news to Dusty Baker, currently temping at ESPN. From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris DeLuca.
“Well, the spend-a-lot-of-money part was surprising,” Baker said Sunday before Game 2 of the World Series. ”That’s what happened in San Francisco when I left, too. They went out and signed [Edgardo] Alfonzo and Ray Durham. Sometimes, for whatever reason, things happen.”
Baker is in Detroit working as an analyst for ESPN during the World Series. He seems to be enjoying his new life as a member of the media, calling himself a ”little rookie.”
”This is a nice, temporary stop,” Baker said, chewing on a trademark toothpick. ”A nice, temporary gig I’ve got going.”
Temporary. He used the word twice — with emphasis.
”It’s all temporary,” Baker said. ”Even managing ended up being temporary after all of these years.”
Last week, the Cubs drew the curtains on the Dusty Baker era in Chicago with the introduction of Lou Piniella as the next manager who would instantly forget about history and end the longest championship drought in major sports. Baker stood in the same spot four years ago, saying basically the same things about brushing off the past.
Now he finds himself part of the Cubs’ unpleasant history — 98 years without a World Series title and counting.
It’s still hard to say why Baker didn’t turn out to be the savior.
”A lot of things happened,” Baker said. ”Sometimes you’re a victim of circumstances that are out of your control. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I’m doing. That doesn’t mean I’m any worse than I was before. I would like to think that I’m actually better because of this.
”People ask me am I going to retire. For what? No, I’m in the prime time of my managerial career. Or people ask if I am going to take a year off. Well, if you are forced to take a year off, you take a year off. I would rather not, but if you don’t have an offer or the right offer — and I haven’t had either one, really — then you deal with it and adjust.”
The offers haven’t poured in for a superstar manager who was in the World Series four years ago and in the National League Championship Series three years ago. Baker’s biggest fear is he will become the next Davey Johnson or Cito Gaston — a big-name manager who remains out of work.
”I haven’t talked to anybody,” Baker said. ”I’ve been contacted by [Washington Nationals general manager] Jim Bowden once, and I called him and haven’t heard back. I’m just going to try to go on with my life and have a good time with it and enjoy my family. I’m trying to make a good living while I’m waiting for the right opportunity to present itself to me.