Mike Leake took the hill again yesterday, his first appearance since he been caught stealin’. And it was a good outing: seven innings in which he gave up three runs and picked up the win. That shows some toughness.
Or does it? Because Dusty Baker saw something other than toughness when he talked about how he decided that, yeah, Leake should take his regular turn in the rotation:
“What you gauge and what is are two different things. Usually, you can look in a person’s eyes and read that person at that moment. His eyes were gentle eyes, which lets me know that he knows nobody knows joy and bitterness in anybody’s heart but that person. No matter how their face looks. His eyes were gentle to the point of pain and embarrassment.”
That’s not awkward or anything.
Seriously, though, I’m not sure that there’s a better manager in baseball when it comes to relating to his players and being helpful and supportive when they’re going through stuff. Baker was fabulous with respect to Joey Votto’s battles with anxiety disorder in 2009. And while his words about Leake are a bit unconventional for a post-game interview, they certainly suggest that he views his players as people first. And that’s pretty nice.