Dusty Baker is about as old school as they come in baseball, and on Monday he let everyone know just what that kind of demeanor stands for.
On Sunday, Cubs starter Matt Garza called out his counterpart, Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, for throwing over the head of Chicago’s David DeJesus. Garza said Cueto should “grow the hell up,” and insinuated that the only reason the incident didn’t escalate is because the Cubs have a policy of not retaliating.
The Reds’ manager didn’t hear about Garza’s comments until Monday morning, but when he was finally informed he had a pretty entertaining response. It seems old-school Baker misses baseball’s old-school ways — specifically the in-game policing among opposing teams, where disputes were settled man-to-man rather than through the media.
“Take care of it then,” Baker replied to Garza’s comments through reporters. “I mean, [Cueto] couldn’t hit Wilt Chamberlain with that pitch.”
“Would [Garza] have been as upset if he got the win instead of potentially get a loss? You got something to say, you go over there and tell him. Johnny ain’t running. Know what I mean? A guy can say what he wants to say, but it’s better if you go over and say it to his face.
“Can’t be selling woof tickets. Somebody will buy them.”
In case you missed it, that was Baker referencing Garza’s “barking.” But going even further, Baker talked about the modern state of the game, saying that he wished players were a little more hard-nosed and a little less friendly on and off the diamond.
“Guys didn’t talk as much,” Baker said about his playing days. “You just did it. Guys are nicer now. They are. They all have the same agents, they all played on certain All-Star teams, they text each other, email each other. Nice game now.”
“I just wish, put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with, know what I mean? I always said this. Let it be like hockey. Let them fight, somebody hits the ground and then it’ll be over with. I’m serious about that.”
While baseball does have its occasional brawls, it’s not likely the commissioner’s office would tolerate an increase of fighting in Major League Baseball. Nonetheless, Baker’s comments are certainly entertaining, and indeed prove that the longtime manager is from a different era entirely.