Nats will 'never admit' to making a mistake, Dusty Baker says

Ben Krimmel
May 11, 2019 - 12:59 pm
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The first season of the post-Bryce Harper Era looks eerily similar to the final season of the Bryce Harper Era. There's only one big difference: This season's results have been worse.

While Harper got a ton of the heat for last season's disappointing 82-80 campaign, second-year manager Dave Martinez is getting almost all the heat during this season's poor 15-23 start. (General Manager Mike Rizzo has also drawn the fan's ire.)

The early season struggles have some Washington Nationals fans thinking about former manager Dusty Baker. And in an interview with MLB Network Radio Friday, Baker again said he wishes he could be back, too.

“I get calls and letters from people, especially when I see the 202 area code, and it’s like, ‘Hey man, we miss you. I wish you were here,’” Baker said. “And quite frankly, I wish I was there, too, sometimes. But the longer you’re away from somewhere, the more you stop wishing.”

JUNKIES: Are Martinez's days as manager numbered?

After winning 95 and 97 games and two National League East titles in his two seasons at the helm, Baker's contract was not renewed after the Nationals failed to advance to the NLCS for the second-straight season. The Nationals hired Martinez, who had no big league managerial experience before taking the job, during the 2017 offseason. In his two seasons, Martinez's Nats have 97-103 (.485 winning percentage). 

But Baker, to his credit, said he doesn't feel good watching his former club struggle.

“You don’t feel good because I still root for the players,” Baker told MLB Network Radio. “You try not to feel anything because you try not to let it really affect your life because there’s nothing that you can do about it. They’ll never admit to making a mistake and (bring) you back so you’re really hoping for something that’s not possible.”

“I hate to see (Max) Scherzer struggling because I know how badly this guy wants to win,” he said. “And then Anthony (Rendon) got hurt. You know they’re not the same team without Anthony in there.”

This is the second time the ex-Nats manager has spoken about his former ballclub. In an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in August 2018, amidst the first season of Martinez's tenure, Baker admitted to following the Nationals every day.

However, when asked if he felt any vindication considering the Nationals struggles during the 2018 season, Baker said he tries not to think about that. "You're not pulling for the front office. But it's hard to pull against them without pulling against the players. You try to be neutral in the situation and not give a s---, but you do. Does that make sense?"

"I’ve got some guys who text me, 'Hey, Bake, we miss you,'" Baker said in 2018.

During the interview, Baker described having meetings with ownership in which they wanted to release certain players or send a player to the minors and disagreements happening. "I was like, 'No, man. No! You're going to tear up my team!'" he said. 

Baker added the 2018 Nationals were missing Jayson Werth, who served as the team's leader, and said "he's one of the guys they wanted to get rid of."

However, bitter the taste in his mouth, Baker has taken the opportunity to watch more of his son play baseball.

“I enjoyed my time in D.C. and it was second only to San Francisco, which is, like, my home and also I was there for 15 years — five as a coach and 10 as a manager, (whereas) in D.C. I was only there two years. Those were two of the finest years that I’ve had living-wise but if I was there, I wouldn’t have been able to see my son (play) the last two years,” Baker said.

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