Well, Dusty Baker and the Houston Astros are back on their postseason grind to win their first World Series championship since their infamous “sign stealing” stained one back in 2017. Let’s just say that Dusty Baker’s postseason start had some drama…in a good way of course.
Yordan Alvarez sent everyone home happy with a two-out, three-run home run to cap off a classic 8-7 win in Game 1 of the American League Division series over the Seattle Mariners. MLBbro JP Crawford helped Seattle build a lead by contributing his first postseason homer. But a managerial gaffe by Seattle manager Scott Servais turned a 7-3 Mariners lead into a heartbreaking loss.
What’s the difference between this Houston Astros team and the 2017 squad?
The manager. Dusty Baker wasn’t there.
It seems the MLBbro icon, Dusty Baker has spent his whole life playing the game of baseball. He’s been a manager for so long, most forget that he played 19 years in the big leagues for four teams. His lone World Series championship was with the Los Angeles Dodgers when the world was caught up in Fernando-mania when rookie pitcher, Fernando Valenzuela looked into the heavens and aced the New York Yankees in 1981.
Fernando Valenzuela's career resume:
– 6x All-Star
– 2x Silver Slugger
– 1981 World Series Champ
– 1981 NL Cy Young & ROY
– 1986 Gold Glove Award
– 1981 MLB Ks (180) & SHO (8) leader
– 1986 NL Wins (21) leader
– 1st to win Cy Young & ROY in same seasonpic.twitter.com/SBJXIVj5ZZ
— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 8, 2022
But few players in the history of MLB have dominated the managerial profession the way Dusty Baker has. As good a player as Dusty was throughout his career, his shine as skipper will be what fans will always remember in the realms of history. Baker is the first manager to make the playoffs and win division titles with five different teams. He’s the ninth manager to win pennants in both the National and American Leagues. But there’s one honor, our MLBbro manager wants to erase from the record books…
He’s at the top of the list of managers WHO HAVE NOT won the World Series.
Even though he led the San Francisco Giants to the 2002 World Series and the Houston Astros to the 2021 World Series, his teams came up just short of the grand prize. The 2021 loss probably means more to Baker and the Astros than baseball fans realize. A victory would have brought redemption and respect back to the franchise.
Despite the franchise’s recent success culminated by a 2017 World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the eye-rolling continues not only from fans but from fellow players after Major League Baseball sanctioned the Astros for sign stealing on the base paths. How bad did this get? Check out how this year’s MLBbro MVP, Aaron Judge, felt about it after finishing second in the MVP voting in 2017 to Houston’s Jose Altuve via The New York Times in 2020…
“I was pretty mad, pretty upset,” Judge said. “To hear that you got cheated out of that opportunity, that’s tough to kind of let go.”
Judge added, “I was sick to my stomach.”
Fast forward to last week, when San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove, who was on that Astros 2017 World Series winning team showed that the embarrassment of the scandal was in-house as well.
“I still don’t feel great about wearing that ring around or telling people that I was a World Series champion on [that Astros team],” Musgrove said via The Associated Press. “I want one that feels earned and that was a true championship. So that’s the goal.”
Here’s where an MLBbro icon in Dusty Baker can make history in ways few in sports are able. He can exorcize some demons on one of the most embarrassing scandals in recent baseball history by bringing home a clean World Series championship to garner some respect for the Houston Astros.
Dusty Baker was brought in to stabilize a franchise that was supposed to sink back into oblivion. After the franchise was fined $5 million and stripped of several future top draft picks, Baker took over in 2020 and still found a way to lead the team to the ALCS in the pandemic-shortened season despite finishing the season under .500.
While most believe that the Los Angeles Dodgers will ease their way into another World Series title, the Houston Astros’ ascension to being one of the best teams in the American League has been overshadowed by the Aaron Judge record-breaking home run watch. The baseball Gods are shaping up a rematch of the 2017 World Series showdown that has been historically controversial.
If this rematch happens, the Astros have two advantages.
Sure the Dodgers have pitching, but the Astros are loaded. Justin Verlander is eyeing his second ERA title, (1.80) and has dominated all season long. With Lance McCullers Jr (2.27 ERA), Luis Garcia and Christian Javier, the Astros are top-ranked in innings pitched by their starters (940 innings) and second in ERA (2.98).
The bullpen consisting of Ryne Stanek, Ryan Pressly, Rafael Montero, Bryan Abreau and Hector Nerris is the best bullpen in baseball and it’s not even close.
The Dodgers have been so good it covers up the closer concerns that have arisen at the end of the season. The Astros are ready.
Sure it’s easy to mention Dusty Baker in the battle of the MLBbro managers in the final series but pay attention to the aforementioned words. Dave Roberts took over an established winner and kept the winning going along. Dusty’s situation required patience and a ton of adjustments that may have saved a franchise. If it comes down to adjustments in the World Series, look for Baker to make the biggest one.
This is a huge year for Dusty Baker and the Houston Astros. Baker is not getting any younger being one of only three managers to coach past the age of 70 and this could be one of his final chances. The Astros want to be known more for raising a championship trophy and not for this infamous video…
You'll be seeing this a lot.
Jose Altuve signaling to his teammates NOT to rip off his jersey in celebration because it would "allegedly" reveal a buzzer that would go off when triggered by someone on the Astros video team.
Next Level Cheating. pic.twitter.com/ApxOmAgdkz
— Marc Farzetta (@MarcFarzetta) January 16, 2020
If the Astros win, it’s Dusty Baker that will own the spotlight.