His Astros Players Don’t, But Dusty Baker Deserves This Pennant
Like the Giants, the Astros used their cheating system to win a pennant. They did better than the 1951 Giants by winning the World Series. In their wake, they’ve left Yu Darvish trying to mentally rebuild his career, and Clayton Kershaw, who was phenomenal in an 11 strikeout Game 1 win, is still answering questions about his postseason struggles.
Throughout it all, we haven’t seen any Astros players show more than the perfunctory show of remorse. Instead, in reality, they’re Liberace laughing all the way to the bank.
If there was any doubt their apologies was nothing more than mere lip service, Carlos Correa confirmed it when he said, “I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here, but what are they going to say now?” after the Astros swept the Twins in the best-of-three Wild Card series.
They’re unrepentant for their actions, and thanks to Rob Manfred, they haven’t been punished for their crimes. Even when we see players try to police the game on the field, we see Joe Kelly get a huge suspension while Manfred looked the other way on the Astros purposefully violating COVID19 protocols.
Somehow the Astros came out of this process feeling like they’re the aggrieved party. Instead, they come across as unrepentant jerks who don’t realize they were an under .500 team.
Yes, in terms of their postseason play, they’ve put themselves in the position to become just the second ever team to force a Game 7 in LCS play after falling down 3-0. Outside of Houston, no one is rooting for them to do it.
Between the suspensions they didn’t face, the sub .500 record, and Manfred’s compulsive need to shield them from retaliation, they don’t deserve to be here. Well, that’s true for only the core players from that 2017 World Series winning team.
Their manager, Dusty Baker, definitely deserves it, and you can’t help but cheer for the man.
Baker, the man who literally invented the high five, has been all that has been good about baseball since his debut as a player in 1968. He’s been a great teammate and the consummate leader. Somehow, as a manager, he hasn’t been given the respect he’s due.
Over time, he’s taken way too much heat for removing Russ Ortiz from Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. It was a 5-0 game in the seventh, and the Angels were threatening. Ortiz was nearing 100 pitches, Baker went to Felix Hernandez, who was lights out that postseason.
He then went to Tim Worrell, who had a seven appearance stretch of not allowing a run. The players were put in the spot to win, and they didn’t. In the end, Baker bore the blame.
It was the same in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Washington. Baker brought them to the postseason, but somehow, that wasn’t good enough for those franchises. It shouldn’t have been lost on anyone each of those teams suffered in the season ensuing after Baker’s termination.
Through it all, Baker has handled it all with dignity and class. While he may have lamented not getting more of an opportunity, he didn’t pin the blame on his players whom he always treated with the utmost respect, and in turn, got great performances in return.
If anyone deserves this victory tonight, it’s Baker. Despite his being a three time Manager of the Year and having taken five different teams to the postseason, he somehow needs this win to cement his legacy. He may need it to get into the Hall of Fame like he so richly deserves.
Overall, while this Astros team is as unlikeable and it gets, you can’t help but pull for Dusty Baker. He’s one of the greatest managers in baseball history and an even better person. If anyone deserves this pennant, it’s him.
At least a small part of you should hope he gets it.