clearn.png
Tuesday April 7th, 2020 4:21AM

Baker takes over scam-marred Astros, set for 'last hurrah'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HOUSTON (AP) — Before he begins his “last hurrah," Dusty Baker intends to talk to his new team. He hasn't decided exactly what he'll say to the scandal-riddled Houston Astros when spring training starts, but he's certain of the message.

“You got to go forward and make sure that it doesn't happen again," Baker said. “It certainly is not going to happen on my watch here, and I don't foresee it happening ever again because this has been an embarrassment for a lot of people."

Baker was introduced as Houston's manager on Thursday, bringing a wealth of experience to a club reeling from a sign-stealing scam that cost manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow their jobs.

Baker longed for another shot at an elusive title after falling short in his previous stops. But at 70 years old he wasn't sure if it would come.

“I was happy but I wasn't satisfied, where I was and what I was doing because something's missing,” he said. “And I think the Lord gave me the best chance to accomplish what I need as a person, as a father, and as a man.”

Baker is the oldest manager in the big leagues. Hinch was fired Jan. 13 just an hour after he was suspended for the season by Major League Baseball for his role in Houston’s illicit scheme.

“Dusty's a person of high integrity and he's a respected leader," team owner Jim Crane said. “He has great baseball experience and he will earn the players' trust."

Baker can add another game to his upcoming schedule, too.

MLB said Baker will be invited to manage the American League team in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium on July 14. Baker played for the Dodgers from 1976-83 and helped them win the World Series in 1981.

Baker would fill the All-Star role Hinch would've had before he was suspended and fired.

An All-Star outfielder while playing 19 years in the majors, Baker has 22 years of managerial experience, starting in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants.

A three-time NL Manager of the Year, Baker was let go by the Washington Nationals after a 97-65 season in 2017.

“Hiring Dusty Baker is one big step for us to move forward," Crane said. “And I believe Dusty is the right person at the right time."

Baker has served since 2018 as a special adviser to Giants CEO Larry Baer, working in both the baseball and business operations of the club. He regularly attended son Darren’s college games at the University of California in Berkeley.

He was so excited about coming to Houston on Thursday that he woke up an hour before the alarm that was set at 2 a.m. was to go off.

“This is my last hurrah," he said. “And I thought my last hurrah was in Washington, actually, because I gave all my stuff away. I went to find my shoes, went up to the attic and I found the empty bag ... so this is a new beginning for me."

With just about two weeks until the start of spring training, Baker said he would keep Hinch's staff intact instead of bringing in his own people.

“We're going to go with what we have because it's pretty good," he said.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred disciplined the Astros after he found the team broke rules by using electronics to steal signs during its run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season.

The Astros were fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and forfeited their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to view and decode opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve chances of getting a hit.

Former Astros star Enos Cabell, who works as a special adviser in the team's front office, has been friends with Baker for years and was thrilled about the hire.

“I'm thankful for Jim making the right decision because our team needs him," Cabell said. “We need somebody who is stable and who the players will play for."

Baker and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts are the only two African-American managers in the majors, a fact that disappoints Baker.

“But I'm hoping that what we do will motivate other coaches and players to try to strive to get to where I am," Baker said. “And also hopefully this will incite other owners to say, ‘Hey man, these guys are pretty good at what they do, these guys are the best.'”

Baker said he'll spend the next few days getting things in order at his home in California to prepare to be at spring training and then in Houston for the season. He mentioned spending time with his first grandchild, a boy who was born about two weeks ago, pruning his grapes and taking his dogs to the veterinarian.

“I've got a lot to do and then when I get to spring training I'll hit the ground running," he said.

Baker has compiled a 1,863-1,636 regular season record in a career where he spent 10 years with the Giants, four years with the Chicago Cubs and six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before his two-year stint with the Nationals.

He was a two-time All-Star, Baker began his career with Atlanta and played for the Dodgers, Oakland and San Francisco. He was selected MVP of the 1977 NL Championship Series and won a Gold Glove in 1981.

He was voted Manager of the Year in his first season with San Francisco in 1993, when he guided the Giants to a 103-59 record. He won the award again in 1997 and 2000 with the Giants, and led San Francisco to the 2002 World Series, a seven-game loss to the Anaheim Angels.

While Crane has made his choice at manager, he continues to search for Luhnow's replacement. Former Giants general manager Bobby Evans has interviewed for the job, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the candidates have not been made public. The Astros are still in the middle of the interview process, the person said.

____

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Business, AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grand Canyon visit inspired Kobe Bryant's pilot to fly
The helicopter pilot for Kobe Bryant had a reputation for his skills at the controls and his smile in the air
7:21PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Voters' 2nd choices could be decisive in close Iowa caucuses
With overwhelming uncertainty looming over the the Iowa caucuses, presidential campaigns are scrambling to navigate an evolving playing field in which voters' second choices could matter almost as much as their first
7:03PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Commerce secretary: China virus could bring jobs back to US
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested that the viral outbreak in China might offer an unexpected benefit for the U.S. economy: It could encourage American manufacturers in China to return to the United States
7:01PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
NFL's Saints accused of helping shape clergy sex abuse list
The New Orleans Saints maintain their PR work on the area’s Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis was “minimal
5:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira vow 'empowering' halftime show
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira said their Super Bowl halftime show will pay homage to Latino culture, promising a joint performance that has an empowering message and also one that will remember NBA icon Kobe Bryant
3:51PM ( 3 hours ago )
Paralyzed at 19, Buoniconti has mixed feelings on football
The Super Bowl is coming to Marc Buoniconti's hometown
3:41PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
10 Things to Know for Today
Get ready for Thursday, January 30th with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
6:01AM ( 13 hours ago )
Dusty Baker replaces AJ Hinch as Houston Astros manager
Dusty Baker has been hired as the manager of the Houston Astros
6:44PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Source: Baker reaches agreement to become Astros manager
A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Dusty Baker has reached an agreement to be the manager of the Houston Astros
5:11PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Baseball
American Airlines pilots sue to halt flights to China
American Airlines pilots have sued their company to make it stop all flights to China immediately because of the coronavirus outbreak
6:37PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Dating apps face US inquiry over underage use, sex offenders
A U.S. House subcommittee is investigating popular dating services such as Tinder and Bumble for allegedly allowing minors and sex offenders to use their services
6:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
UPS deftly navigates shipping surge, hit by pension charge
Shares of UPS have slumped after the company gave a disappointing forecast for this year's profit
6:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Several Dodgers go public, peeved by Astros' cheating scam
The Los Angeles Dodgers are eager to begin preparing for the 2020 season, although they aren't quite past feeling frustration at the Houston Astros for the sign-stealing system used against them in the 2017 World Series
7:09PM ( 5 days ago )
Dodgers' fan group ready to vent at Astros for sign stealing
A group of Los Angeles Dodgers fans is making plans to let the Houston Astros hear its frustration about baseball's sign-stealing scandal
6:58PM ( 5 days ago )
AP source: Zimmerman, Nationals agree on $2M plus incentives
A person familiar with the negotiations tells the AP that Ryan Zimmerman and the Washington Nationals have agreed to terms on a $2 million deal for 2020
11:43PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Grand Canyon visit inspired Kobe Bryant's pilot to fly
The helicopter pilot for Kobe Bryant had a reputation for his skills at the controls and his smile in the air
7:21PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Voters' 2nd choices could be decisive in close Iowa caucuses
With overwhelming uncertainty looming over the the Iowa caucuses, presidential campaigns are scrambling to navigate an evolving playing field in which voters' second choices could matter almost as much as their first
7:03PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Commerce secretary: China virus could bring jobs back to US
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested that the viral outbreak in China might offer an unexpected benefit for the U.S. economy: It could encourage American manufacturers in China to return to the United States
7:01PM ( 28 minutes ago )
American evacuated from China quarantined at California base
One of the Americans evacuated from a Chinese city at the center of a new virus outbreak was quarantined after trying to leave a California military base where the group is being monitored for signs of illness
6:58PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Lakers play outside to lighten spirits after Bryant's death
The Los Angeles Lakers lightened the mood before their return to the court by playing soccer and American football in a park across the street from their training complex
6:56PM ( 33 minutes ago )