Two weeks ago, when Dusty Baker was hired as Nationals manager, he talked about the special significance of taking the job in the nation’s capital.
“You know something? That was a factor, too,” Baker told NBC4’s Carol Maloney. “I said, ‘Wouldn’t that be ironic to win in Washington, during the president’s last term?’ Because I was here during the inauguration, when it was like, freezing. Oh, man, it was cold. So now, yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing him again.”
Sure, Baker name-dropped his relationship with President Barack Obama, but in an appearance on SiriusXM’s MLB Network on Friday, Baker added some of his own personal pressure.
“You know, man, I like to win,” Baker said on MLB Network Radio. “And this is, to me, one of my last chances to go all the way. I think I’m an outside chance now for the Hall of Fame, but that would just solidify me. Because all these other guys that are going in ... Bobby Cox only has one (World Series championship) out of I don’t know how many years. I think Jim Leyland has one. There’s a whole bunch of guys that only have one or none. So this would me satisfy me in my life and close another chapter in my life.”
Baker guided the Giants, Cubs and Reds to the playoffs in his 20 years as a major league manager. He was on the doorstep of a World Series title when his Giants lost in seven games to the Angels in 2002. So it’s understandable why he sees the road to Cooperstown within his reach.
That said, Baker made sure his expectations were measured when preparing this roster for a tremendously important offseason.
“A lot of these things are out of my control and power,” Baker said on MLB Network Radio. “I’m just one in a panel where everybody thinks the manager is controlling the payroll and the roster but that’s more in line with the general manager and the philosophy of the team.”