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The Blue & Gray Press | October 17, 2017

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Dusty Baker takes the reigns in D.C.

Dusty Baker takes the reigns in D.C.

By C.J. CUMMINGS

With many different players and coaches to choose for the Nationals’ manager job, the organization went in the direction of Dusty Baker. Although Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Leyland, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Dave Martinez and more were all possible candidates for the managerial position. Leyland, Russa and Cox all at least 70 years old but all have the experience for the position.

While all of them have reached and won at least one World Series, they know what it takes to make it all the way. Ripken was a possible candidate because of his experience as a player otherwise he has no managerial experience.

Martinez has built up his resume with the Chicago Cubs since the last time he was interviewed for the Nationals’ manager job. He lost that spot to Matthew Williams, the now former Nationals manager. But this year’s final decision was to hire the two-time Silver Slugger award winner and three-time Coach of the Year award winner Baker.

Baker will take over a program that went 83-79 in 2015, a season full of disappointment to say the least. Baker played 19 years in the major leagues with multiple teams. After 6 years in retirement he came out to start coaching. His days as a manger started with the San Francisco Giants, there he took the team to three postseason appearances.

With his last year with the San Francisco Giants, he took them all the way to the World Series. But they lost the last two games in a best-of-seven matchup to lose the World Series. He then went on to manage the Chicago Cubs for four seasons; only making the postseason once.

That one postseason experience will be remembered by every Cubs fan till the day that they die because it involved the infamous Steve Bartman play. After having little success in Chicago he went off to Cincinnati to help them win a championship. He only managed to lead them to three postseason experiences but every time they lost in the very first round. He was no longer a manager after the 2013 season until now.

When the Nationals fired Williams, they also dismissed the entire coaching staff. Now Baker has to put together a coaching staff that will put the nationals in position to get to the postseason and hopefully the World Series. So far the Nationals have announced just two coaches; Mike Maddux as pitching coach and first base coach Davey Lopes. There are many experienced candidates for this Nationals coaching staff; they just need to find out the right fits so that they can go somewhere in the regular and postseason.

Though last season finished poorly for the Nationals, a great deal of talent is present for the experienced ball club. This experience includes MVP candidate and baseball phenom Bryce Harper and a star studded pitching rotation including former Cy-Young winner Max Scherzer and All-Star pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg. With his past success, owner Ted Lerner and the rest of the Nationals organization is excited for what Baker can bring to the table.

Most of D.C. is tired of losing, but can next year be the year for the Nationals?