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Q&A: Dusty Baker

Posted: Wednesday January 31, 2007 6:04PM; Updated: Wednesday January 31, 2007 6:33PM
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Chicago Cubs' manager Dusty Baker.
Chicago Cubs' manager Dusty Baker.
John Medina/WireImage.com
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Last week SI writer Richard Deitsch interviewed Dusty Baker for the magazine's Q&A. The 57-year-old former manager of the Giants and the Cubs will begin as an ESPN baseball analyst this spring. Here are additional excerpts from their interview:

SI: You have a clause in your ESPN contract that allows teams to contact you about managerial openings. Would you take over a team in midseason?

Baker: It depends. I don't want to be a guillotine over some manager's head. I've been there before. I'm going to get into what I am doing at ESPN. If it's the right job at the right place at the right time for me and my family, then I would consider it. But I am not soliciting.

SI: Why get into broadcasting?

Baker: ESPN approached me and it was at a time when I was hurting pretty bad spiritually after last year's season. I thought about going underground like I always do, but my wife and dad said, "Son, you need to be around the game." That's the best way to heal.

SI: Can you be critical of managers and players, knowing you may be coaching with or against them again one day?

Baker: I've been a manager a lot longer than I've been up in the booth. I'm just going to be myself. I think I am more aware of what managers are trying to do and why they did it than a lot of guys. But I think as a whole, people are far too critical in the first place. So I'm going to be as fair and firm as I've always been. Nothing should change you on how you are as a person. Not the job. Not anything.

SI: Are you confident you will be a good analyst?

Baker: Yep. If I could study something or read something or emulate something, then I can usually be pretty good at it. All you have to do is practice and put your heart in it.

SI: But managing again is very important to you?

Baker: It's important. But you can't hire yourself. It's like Ludacris says, "We all got mouths to feed." I've had people say to me, "You have enough money. Why don't you just go home?" It has nothing do with money. I've been working since I was 18 years old. I mean, Donald Trump doesn't go home. I don't see the Intel or Yahoo guys go home.

SI: What do players want from a manager more than anything else?

Baker: Honesty, fairness, straightforwardness. And they want to know that you have their back.

SI: Any player you wished you could have managed at any time in history?

Baker: Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

SI: That's a good lineup right there?

Baker: You ain't lying.

SI: You managed Barry Bonds for 10 years in San Francisco. How's your relationship with him?

Baker: My relationship with Barry is that I'm glad to see him when I see him. Barry is a very private dude. Nobody hardly sees Barry in the off-season. There are Barry sightings, but very few people get to really see him.

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