Dusty Baker continues to bring good mojo to H-Town. The winningest Black manager in MLB history has the Houston Astros sporting the best offense in baseball and leading the Majors in almost every hitting category.
With fans being allowed back in ballparks for the first time since 2019, people are finally getting their chance at vengeance against the Astros for their sign-stealing scandal during their 2017 World Series run.
From Los Angeles to New York, entire stadiums are at war against Dusty’s 26-man crew, and he’s proven to be the perfect general for the fleet. Protecting his players like a bulletproof vest and keeping the conversation on baseball because that’s what he does best.
After taking over a franchise in the midst of chaos and scandal, Baker probably should have been the Manager of the Year, considering what he had to deal with and the negative microscope that his team was under.
Baker shook off the haters, maintained the fort, and shocked MLB by leading the Astros to Game 7 of last year’s American League Championship Series. Baker has them right back in contention this season as they are Top 5 in the American League in offense and pitching.
Let’s get to their bats first: Right now, the Astros currently lead all of MLB in runs, hits, RBI, batting average, total bases, On Base Percentage, and OPS.
Baker sits in 12th place all-time with 1,925 wins as a manager, 36 of them coming this year. His Astros are three games back of the Oakland A’s for the top spot in the AL West. He’ll look to add two more to his win total during a quick homestand against Demarcus Evans, Jason Martin and the Texas Rangers.
Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros are the only two managers of African American descent in Major League Baseball.
Both men are leading their clubhouses and have their squads tied for most wins in the league.
The controversial 5-2 Astros came out the gates on fire, winning four in a row, but winning doesn’t permanently erase the past, as opposing fans find a vindictive joy in jeering the Astros because of their World Series cheating scandal, which was uncovered prior to the 2020 season.
The Astros hired Dusty after firing their manager A.J. Hinch who oversaw the cheating scandal. After a one year suspension, Hinch landed plushly at the helm of the Detroit Tigers. He was able to exit Houston and avoid the backlash that current manager Dusty Baker has to deal with, but Dusty’s experience, unrivaled leadership ability, and winning pedigree is why the Astros hired him in the midst of such a scandal.
He isn’t the 14th-ranked manager on the all-time MLB wins list for nothing. During the season opener in Oakland, fans booed the Astros during intros. During the sixth inning of Monday’s matchup against the Angels, fans took it up a notch by launching an inflatable trash can onto the warning track.
The blatant shenanigans was a dig at the team who infamously banged on cans to tip off opponents’ pitches during the 2019 playoffs. Moments later, fans hurled an actual trash can filled with bottles onto the field to make matters worse.
Baker informed the media of his frustrations with the fans and said that the parents were setting a terrible example for the younger generation.
He told the New York Post, “You can tell the amount of hostility and hatred in the stands.” He added, “We paid the price for it. It’s easy to live in a glasshouse, but I don’t think anybody lives in glass houses. I think sometimes we need to look at ourselves before we spew hate on somebody else.”
Baker, a man known for overcoming obstacles throughout his baseball career, is game for what’s coming his team’s way, and so are the fans.
On the other hand, manager Dave Roberts and his 6-2 Dodgers are cooking with fish grease. The World Champs torched clubs during a five-game winning streak, before eventually falling to the Oakland Athletics in extras.
After overcoming recent playoff letdowns, Roberts captured his first World Series championship last season, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games (4-2).
With the victory, he became the first manager of color to win the c’hip since Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston went back to back like Jordan and the Bulls in 1992 and 1993.
Although both managers made history last season, by reaching the championship series, Baker’s Astros fell to the Rays in a grueling 7-game ALCS.
If it weren’t for the pesky Rays defeating the Astros in seven games, Baker and Roberts would have had the first All-Black managerial World Series in baseball history, sparking the interest of Black and brown kids across the nation. Watching the journey of these two former players culminate in a World Series showdown would be a huge win for Black baseball.