Dusty Baker is currently in the final year of his contract with the Reds. The 63-year-old also just recently returned to the dugout after missing 11 games in September due to an irregular heartbeat and a mild stroke. However, he hinted to reporters yesterday that he intends to remain with the Reds next season.
Here’s a sampling of his comments via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
“The way I look at it, we’ll get even better in the future,” Baker said. “The more mature these guys get, we’ve got a bunch of guys here still learning how to hit, still learning how to play, basically.”
Does that mean he will be back in 2013? Baker’s face cracked a smile.
“This is my team, you know,” Baker replied.
“Maybe [the stroke] was a sign I am supposed to stay maybe where I am,” Baker said. “I believe in signs, so sometimes it happens.”
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has not discussed Baker’s situation publicly and intends to take care of it during the offseason. Baker is currently 19th all-time among managers with 1,571 wins, including a 419-391 record over five seasons with the Reds. Only Jim Leyland (15th all-time with 1,676 wins) has more wins among active managers.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.