This morning, the Reds announced that Dusty Baker is out as Reds managers after six seasons. It was ostensibly a "mutual" decision, but no one bought that. Now Baker gets to tell his side of the story, and if you believe him, he threw himself on his sword to save his hitting coach.
CBS's Jon Heyman lays out Baker's final 24 hours in the Reds organization. From "a person familiar with the situation":
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty in a year-end hash-out session about the team's dissatisfying season told Baker he was intending to fire hitting coach Brook Jacoby, according to a person familiar with the situation. And that was all Baker had to hear.
Baker wasn't the one who brought in Jacoby, but he also knew it wasn't Jacoby's fault. So Baker took the bold step that led to Jocketty ousting him as Reds manager.
If you want to fire someone, fire me,'' Baker told Jocketty.
The next day, Jocketty fired Baker, who said "I wasn't testing anyone. I was just doing what I thought was right."
Maybe it's sour grapes, but Baker makes it sound like he was more than ready to leave:
"The last couple weeks, I've been getting a rash of hate mail, racial mail,'' he said. "Maybe it is time to go."
"This is really ugly," he said. "There are all sorts of references to Barack Obama. So now I know where they are coming from. I don't know, maybe people are mad at him, so they don't like the idea of blacks in authority."
Playing .500 ball over the last three weeks and still making the playoffs gets you racial hate mail? Yeah, maybe it was time to move on.