Baker enjoys Little League World Series
Reds manager gets kick out of seeing talent of pint-size players
CINCINNATI -- Dusty Baker looked on Saturday afternoon as one of the regional finals of the Little League World Series played on the TV in his office.
The game was recorded earlier, but Baker and the men gathered around his desk didn't know it -- not that it mattered. They were all fixed on the performances of young ballplayers who were in the spotlight of national television.
"I ain't kidding you, man," Baker said. "Those little kids can play."
Baker could speak to how well those "little kids" could play, not because he watched them on TV, but because a year ago he was in Williamsport, Pa., doing color commentary on the World Series with veteran sportscaster Brent Musburger.
Baker enjoyed being in Williamsport and working the World Series, which kicks off competition at this year's tournament next Friday.
"Man, that's so much fun," he said.
But he deserves no credit for getting there. The idea was his wife's. She wanted Baker, who wasn't managing in the Majors last season, to take their son Darren there. So father, his wife and his son made the trek.
"I told my son that he'd better get ready to go get mom some tissue, 'cause when they cry, she cries," Baker said.
"It's true, he said. "She's crying right now -- for somebody."
OK, so it was sad to see boys cry. But it was also fun to see them play.
Baker didn't need a whole lot of time watching to discover the event itself was a big deal for the boys lucky enough to reach the World Series. He found himself mesmerized by the talent of the pint-sized players who were mimicking big leaguers.
While there, he said legendary college coach Bob Knight, who also was in Williamsport, came up and introduced himself to Baker.
"He said he always wanted to meet me," Baker said.
Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.