MLB America is in a real quandary
It's easy to dislike the Houston Astros on one hand. They were involved in one of the most scandalous cheating schemes in sports history. Problem is, when you root against them in the postseason, you also support Dusty Baker.
It doesn't feel right or good. Baker is perhaps the most likeable player in the game. Baker was a great player, and is now a better manager.
It's a fine line for many baseball fans. Baker, Houston's manager, wears the same uniform. Baker was not at the helm of the Astros' stealing of signs from their rivals to help them gain an advantage at the plate, knowing when they would pitch.
It looked for a moment that the Astros were celebrating their fifth consecutive American League Championship Series win on Sunday night.
The Chicago White Sox won 12-6 in Chicago, despite a four-run deficit. This best-of-five series is dominated by the Astros, who lead it, 2-1.
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They have two chances of winning one game and advancing again.
If the Astros move onto the ALCS under Baker, it will be the second consecutive year and the fifth consecutive year for the franchise.
Most people believed that the Astros would disappear, but they fell to the bottom of their standings after their cheating was revealed.
This hasn't happened. They keep on winning. They continue to grind the glass into our hands.
It is truly awful.
Let's be real. It looked like they were hiring Baker, now 72, as a veteran skipper to oversee the chaos and deflect any negative press or fan reactions that would follow in 2020. Baker is a charmer of the highest order.
Baker did a great job. Baker also managed to get them off the mat and onto the largest stage of the game.
The Bakers team had a difficult regular season in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic in MLB meant that 16 teams could make it to the playoffs. However, the Astros managed to reach the postseason with a record of 29-31. They were the only AL team to reach postseason with a losing record.
They beat the Minnesota Twins in two games in the Wild-Card Series. They then advanced to the Division Series, where they beat the Oakland As. They then met the Tampa Bay Rays, and lost in seven games.
They were still one game away from reaching the World Series, despite all the chaos.
Many people believe they might be able this time.
It was difficult not to remember Baker's managerial role in the postseason. He led them to the AL West championship, making him the first manager with five teams to win the division title. Baker is also one of only six MLB managers to reach the postseason ten times.
The problem is that he hasn't been able win all the marbles. He had a chance to win at least three of his four previous spots. Baker has managed some incredible teams.
Baker was the manager of Barry Bonds during his prime with San Francisco Giants. He was in Chicago Cubs' postseason debacle with Steve Bartman. He managed the Washington Nationals' loaded rotation. He was also the Cincinnati Reds division winner.
Baker, a two-time All-Star who won the 1981 World Series with Los Angeles Dodgers, has been a part of baseball's history and amazing moments.
It is truly amazing.
Baker and Glenn Burke share credit for the first ever high five. After Baker's 30th home run in 1977, the two celebrated by putting their hands on their heads.
Baker was playing for the Atlanta Braves in 1974 when Hank Aaron's 715th HR, which broke Babe Ruths all time record, was hit.
Baker only needs one thing to cap off a remarkable run in his baseball career: a World Series trophy for manager. If he didn't wear that Astros uniform, it would have been a wonderful story.