WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — Dusty Baker can be seen strolling the fields in West Palm Beach working his patented toothpick observing his new team.
Baker who has only been on the job for a few weeks knows he has a lot of talent because he spent a lot of time watching them from his couch.
“I told them, really that I’ve watched them on TV,” he said Monday. “And these guys seem like they’re a close knit bunch of guys. They seem like they love each other and seem like they work hard, play hard and have a good time at the same time.”
Baker’s laid back demeanor will come in handy for a team at the center of a sign-stealing controversy, taking barbs from any and all directions, including Atlanta’s Nick Markakis saying on Tuesday that every Astro “needs a beating” after what went down in 2017. Baker just kind of shrugged it off.
“Well that’s cool,” he said. “I’m not responding to everybody’s comments, so… go ahead.”
It’s only been a week but Baker has already won over his clubhouse.
“He just seems to command the room but he’s also one of the guys which is one of those tough things to balance,” Right hander Justin Verlander said. “So to have him here, I think we’re all happy.”
Astros center fielder George Springer enjoys that balance that Baker has struck with the team.
“He’s a cool cat,” Springer said. “He walks around. He’s happy to be here. I think it’s actually pretty funny. He asked us yesterday, whose got some bands for his wrist so it’s it’s pretty cool. I grew up with him being a big league manager so it’s it’s pretty cool to have him here and I know he can’t wait to get going.”
Baker and company will, however, have to wait to get going until March 26th when they open the season against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.