Ken Hoffman explains why Dusty Baker's last decision as Astros manager might be his best
It sounds like baseball buzzards and talk show callers have mixed emotions about the Astros falling to the Texas Rangers in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Sure, they’re grieving over the Astros’ loss, but as CultureMap editor Steven Devadanam noted when he joined the team’s Big 3 (Altuve, Bregman, Verlander), they'll be back.
Now, some fans — most, really — are relieved over Dusty Baker’s apparent decision to leave his post as Astros field manager.
So while radio listeners and social media posters tap dance on Baker’s resignation and cheer that Baker won’t be around next year to write out weird, head-shaking lineup cards, it’s time for Houston to offer the veteran manager a well-deserved thanks for a thankless job well done.
During the Astros’ historic run of recent success, let’s remember that Baker took over a team in 2020 that was reeling from one of baseball’s biggest scandals. Owner Jim Crane had just fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch. The Astros instantly became black hat villains. Would other teams throw beanballs at Astros batters intentionally? Would the Astros be despised by fans in every ballpark they visited? Would the stench of cheating ever go away?
That’s the team Baker took over. He was hired specifically to bring a steady, mature hand and respectability back to the Astros and keep the team on a winning track.
And that Baker certainly did. On Baker’s watch, the Astros appeared in four consecutive American League Championship Series, won three American League West titles, two American League pennants and one World Series. There wasn’t a hint of cheating along Baker’s way.
Bottom line, Baker’s tenure in Houston was one of unrivaled success in team history.
Continue reading Ken Hoffman's column on our sister site, SportsMap.