Dusty Baker on the Aroldis Chapman allegations: “I don’t believe reports”

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NASHVILLE — Dusty Baker just spoke for his Winter Meetings media availability. Most of it was about the Nationals. Then someone asked him about one of his former players with the Reds, Aroldis Chapman. The same Aroldis Chapman who is alleged to have been involved in a domestic violence altercation with his girlfriend that involved eight gunshots, choking and a response by multiple police cruisers.

Baker admitted at the outset that he had not read Jeff Passan’s article at Yahoo which contained the actual police report. Based on that and that alone he may have been better-advised to have offered no comment and moved on. He didn’t, however, instead addressing serious allegations against Chapman by saying “I don’t believe reports,” suggesting that Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy “needs to go further than the player,” and that “[s]ometimes abusers don’t always have pants on.”

Rather than paraphrase, I’ll just offer up the transcript taken from the just-concluded interview, courtesy of ASAP Sports Transcripts.

Q. Dusty, you had Aroldis Chapman when he broke into the majors. What was that process like? Were you surprised by the report?
DUSTY BAKER: I don’t believe reports. Who knows why? I’m not one to judge on how the whole thing happened.

Q. What do you know about the guy?
DUSTY BAKER: Oh, he’s a heck of a guy. I mean, a heck of a guy. I’ll go on record and say I wouldn’t mind having Chapman. No, no, he is a tremendous young man with a great family, mom and dad, and what he went through to get here and what his family had to go through to get here. I was with him through the whole process.

There was a couple times when I had to stop him from quitting or going back to Cuba because he was lonely for his family. So I went through a lot of stuff with Chapman. I got nothing but love for the young man.

Q. Were you surprised by — I don’t know how much you read about the allegations.
DUSTY BAKER: I didn’t read it.

Q. Are you surprised that this popped up?
DUSTY BAKER: I don’t read most of the stuff you guys write. No, I don’t.

Q. I believe you. I didn’t know if you heard anything.
DUSTY BAKER: I heard it from my son. I mean, who’s to say the allegations are true, number one. And who’s to say what you would have done or what caused the problem.

Q. Dusty, do you believe that it’s a good thing that baseball now has a domestic policy?
DUSTY BAKER: Yes.

Q. Domestic violence policy?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah. I think it’s a great thing. I mean, I got a buddy at home that’s being abused by his wife. So I think this policy needs to go further than the player. I think the policy should go to whoever’s involved. Sometimes abusers don’t always have pants on.

I think we need to get them both in a room and try to come up with something. It’s a bad situation. That’s the first thing my momma told me when I was a kid. Don’t hit a woman, even my sister. Man, I was like you better leave me alone before I tell my momma.

It’s a bad situation. I learned that young, but a lot of people maybe didn’t learn that.

Police are keeping reporters away from owners at the owners meetings

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The owners meetings are going on in Arlington, Texas right now and something unusual is happening: the owners are using police to shield them from reporters seeking comment.

Chandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, attempted to talk to Astros owner Jim Crane at the hotel in which the meetings are taking place. Which makes sense because, duh, Rome covers the Astros and, if you haven’t noticed, the Astros are in the news lately.

Here’s how it went:

This was confirmed by other reporters:

To be clear: this is a radically different way things have ever been handled at MLB meetings of any kind. Reporters — who are credentialed specifically for these meetings at this location, they’re not just showing up — approach the GMs or the owners or whoever as they walk in the public parts of the hotel in which they’re held or in the areas designated for press conferences. It’s not contentious. Usually the figures of interest will stop and talk a bit then move on. If they don’t want to talk they just keep walking, often offering apologies or an excuse about being late for something and say they’ll be available later. It’s chill as far as reporters vs. the powerful tend to go.

But apparently not today. Not at the owners meetings. Now police — who are apparently off duty on contract security, but armed and in full official uniform — are shielding The Lords of Baseball from scrutiny.

We live in interesting times.