Updated: November 12, 2015

dustybaker.jpgDusty Baker, MLB, Changes, and Black Managers


By:- Gary Norris Gray-BASN-Staff Reporter


OAKLAND, CA.-(BASN) Shame on Major League Baseball and shame on the Los Angeles Dodgers for not having Dusty Baker and Davey Lopes in a Dodger blue uniform. They are Dodgers for life and should retire in a Los Angeles uniform; instead they will both end their baseball careers in the red uniform of the Washington Nationals. The Washington Nationals hired Dusty Baker to be their manager for the 2016 baseball season but Major League Baseball has to answer some serious questions about further African Americans participation on the field and in the front office.

The MAN who won the National League Manager of the Year award three times called Washington, Seattle, and Detroit when openings became available. No one returned his call. Fired from the Cincinnati job in October 2013, Baker finds himself at the center of baseball’s oldest and most crippling tradition — gossip. Baker does not use cyber metrics, Money Ball, homer ball, and he wears out his pitching staff after two years. It has been cited that Baker can be difficult to conclude a contract. This man just wins division titles 

The Washington Nationals first choice for their recent managerial position was Bud Black from the San Diego Padres. Bud Black turned down the offer because he wanted an extended contract. Mr. Baker took the position with a pay cut and a two year contract. The Question should be asked why? Baker could be trying to extend the African American historical participation in this sport by being the only Black manager in 2015.


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The next question is why young African Americans have no desire to play this game, because they do not see anyone on the field that looks like them. The only current Black All-Stars are Mr. Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Lorenzo Cain of the World Champion Kansas City Royals. There are currently two teams that do not have a single African American on the field, The St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. Jackie Robinson would not be pleased that baseball seems to be rolling the clock back to 1948.


Caucasian managers like Don Mattingly will get three, four, or five chances to fail as a MLB manager while African American are allowed only ONE chance. Don Mattingly gets a four years contract in Miami this year.  Why does Mr. Baker take a pay cut and a two year contract with all of his playoff experience? He has won over 1,600 games. Mr. Baker has guided the San Francisco Giants to the playoffs three times and a World Series, the Cincinnati Reds three times and the Chicago Cubs once, while Don Mattingly has yet to reach the World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning three straight division champions.


Just ask about baseball’s fairness Willie Randolph of the New York Mets, Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers, and back to back World Series Champion Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays, one team, one job. WHY? All three men guided their teams to the playoffs. All three men improved their teams.

Dusty Baker accomplished this with three different teams.

 It is truly amazing that there have been 28 Black managers in the history of Major League Baseball. African Americans were not allowed to play in the Majors participation until 1948. The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Roosevelt Robinson. Twelve years later African Americans would step in the coaches’ box with Buck O’Neal in Chicago and fifteen years after that American and National League MVP Frank Robinson broke the managerial color barrier with the Cleveland Indians. In 1992 Cito Gaston became the first African American to win the World Series. Major League Baseball has taken a step backwards in 2015 with a single manager and 82 players on the field.

Currently there are Black third base coaches, African American hitting coaches, and many minority coaches in the minor leagues that could lead any team to a Major League title. In 2015 there were five openings up for grabs and the gap continues to grow.

The San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Miami Marlins all had managerial openings. It was business as usual for Major League Baseball as Los Angeles Dodger manager Don Mattingly moved from Los Angeles to Miami within a week. The double standard is alive and well.


Last year Bo Porter was released from the Houston Astros and this year Lloyd McClendon lost his job in Seattle. Currently Dusty Baker is the only African American manager. The question should be asked WHY? Currently there are 82 African Americans on the field. The World Champion Kansas City Royals proved this year that speed wins division titles and baseball championships, The Royals did it the Negro Leagues way.

QUESTION? Did Major League Baseball pay attention, only time will tell.


 Major League Baseball organization are losing in so many ways, they have lost one or maybe two generations of future baseball fans and they are on the verge of losing another. African Americans are no longer interested in this great game because many feel like the game will not invest in their employment or promote their baseball feats.

The game has become too long and too boring for many young modern Americans and MLB continues to be comfortable with the way the game is being played today. THEY ARE LOSING.

Many old-time baseball fans state that the charm and nostalgia is an integral part of baseball and that the game should never change. If that were true then why did the American League infuse the designated hitter in 1975? CHANGE !!!!If that were true why did they lower the pitcher’s mound in 1970? CHANGE!!! Last if that were true why do we now have inter-league play in 1997? CHANGE!!!. So these facts fly in the face of the old-timers argument.

There are too many unwritten rules and rituals that have frozen the game in a time warp. THEY ARE LOSING. Baseball refuses to join the world in 2015 to modernize and speed up the game. This year in the playoffs it took a complete hour to finish one inning. THAT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!!!!

 The long ball and station to station baseball style has disabled the sport. The Steroid Era has turned many pure baseball fans off as they begin to turn to soccer, basketball, football, and hockey for their sports entertainment. Home-runs stifled the games progress. Pitchers fidget on the mound trying to find the perfect pitch and batters wait for the perfect pitch to smack the ball out of the park, thus making the at bat longer then it should be.

This year’s World Series showcased that difference. The Kansas City Royals use hit and run, stealing bases, and taking two or three bases on a single while the New York Mets tried to slug their way to a title. The Royals won that battle. The Royals played old-time baseball and it created a faster exciting game.


African American managers have taken dysfunctional teams and elevated them to playoff status. This phenomenon has also occurred in other sports. Michael Singletary with the San Francisco 49ers-football and Mark Jackson with the Golden State Warriors-basketball. Both of these men set the stage for the next head coach to finish the job they started.

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Dusty Baker will be given that task in Washington, D.C.


 In sports this fear is magnified three fold. Louis Victor Piniella, Earl Weaver, and Billy Martin throwing their caps on the ground, kicking dirt on an umpire, yelling and cursing at umpires, America thinks it is funny but LET A BLACK GUY DO THAT!!! Ask Hal McRae who was relieved of his managerial duties five days after his outburst in the Kansas City Royal clubhouse, yelling, screaming and throwing the telephone across the floor. This was after a reporter kept repeating the same dumb question.

John McEnroe can argue at the chairperson in a tennis match and Bobby Knight can throw a chair across the basketball floor and it is funny in fact they made television commercials about these acts, LET A BLACK GUY DO THAT!!! Ask Serena Williams how did she make out with her anger in New York four years ago?

Temple head basketball coach John Chaney went into a rage twenty one years ago against John Calipari. Chaney was portrayed as a crazy wild man by the American press and they (MEDIA) never explain why Chaney expressed his anger. The University of Mass. had just beaten Temple that night. Mr. Calipari and his basketball program did not graduate their Black athletic students. It was never mention in any news articles or on ESPN. The wild angry crazy black guy was portrayed again by the American sports media. Mr. Chaney never received another job offer while Mr. Calipari is currently employed at the University of Kentucky and Black athletics are not graduating under Calipari AGAIN!!!!.

WE SHOULD BE ANGRY BECAUSE THE SPORTS MEDIA IS A CO-CONSPIRATOR- Letting 17 and 18 year olds leave school for the National Basketball Association and European League. Calipari has perfected the ONE and DONE athlete in Lexington, Kentucky.

So Dusty Baker or any other African American sports leader cannot show anger even though he may be simmering inside.

Last note on the double standard in sports, white players can show disrespect for their team’s Black leader but African American players often get penalized for doing the very same thing to Caucasian team leaders. Just ask Frank Robinson about the God-squad in San Francisco or the cowardly acts under the Willie Randolph régime in New York. Robinson and Randolph could not say a word, Frank and Willie had to turn and walk away. This maybe one of the reasons why African American males die ten years earlyer then their white male counterparts



The Nationals are a dysfunctional team in need of a strong SILENT leader; Mr. Baker. The former Marine fits the bill. The baseball experts or gurus picked Washington to win the National League Eastern Division last year. The Nationals collapsed at the end of the season and the New York Mets went to the World Series. The Nationals had a nine game lead in the middle of last summer and could not win on the road. Their lock-room blew up the first week of September and the camaraderie was lost in the Washington club house.


 The first issue Mr. Baker may have to deal with is quelling the internal riffs in the Nationals clubhouse like the Jonathan Papelbon-pitcher-Bryce Harper-outfielder skirmish in the dugout this past summer.

The second issue will be the National starting pitching rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. Washington has to find a solid fourth starter to make the playoffs.

Last Mr. Baker has to instill leadership skills into All Star and team Captain Bryce Harper or change who will be the captain in Washington.

If Dusty Baker drives this team to the playoffs he will be the first manager in MLB HISTORY to direct four different teams to the playoffs.

With everything going on around the Nationals Mr. Baker is swimming against the tide in the Nation’s capital we wish him well.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network on Disabled Community Activist. Email at

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray

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