Facing the Chicago Cubs in the post season is a big deal for Dusty Baker.
But he countered, then again, he has history with a lot of teams the Nationals could play in the 2017 playoffs.
Baker managed the Cubs from 2003 to 2006. The first two seasons they won 88 and 89 games. The last season they finished 30 games under .500.
“What comes to my mind is how well we started off and how things certainly could have been different,” Baker said. “One pitch, one out, one hit, one something. And then how it ended on not very good terms. Also, what my time in Chicago did for me and my family on the positive side, on the financial side, on the baseball side, and on the learning side. Because you learn about people, you learn how to handle good times and bad times.
“I actually gained more strength during bad times than I did in the good times. Not a whole bunch fazes me after I left Chicago. It was a little rough.”
Tonight he takes on the Cubs again. If the Nats win he could face the Los Angeles Dodgers (where he spent eight seasons of his playing career) in the next round. Does he feel a little bit extra emotional for this first round matchup because it is the Cubs?
“Yeah, there’s always extra emotion,” Baker said. “I’ve got a couple former teams in the way, and you get to the World Series, and I got some extra motivation against the Yankees, too. They beat my team when I was a kid, the Dodgers, and they beat me when I was a manager on the Dodgers. Oh, yeah, I’ve got motivation with a few teams.”
And in the big picture, Baker seeks a championship. The Nats seek a championship. Jayson Werth has said he wants to win the title for Dusty. That shows what his players think of him as a leader: tons of respect.
“There’s not much I’ve missed in life, period,” Baker said. (I) missed being big man on college campus because I signed out of high school, and loving grandparents because they died before I was born; and then, I know there’s a championship coming. I know it’s already written. All you’ve got to do is believe it and then act it.”
“The way I look at it -- hey, I always told you, if I win one, I’ll win two. That’s how I look at it.”
Game 1 on that road is tonight in Washington, D.C.