Former San Francisco manager Dusty Baker, currently with the Chicago Cubs, and his son Darren are still getting over the Giants' World Series loss to the Anaheim Angels.

Dusty, Darren learning
to move on

By Jerry Campany

The Baker family has finally gotten over the World Series loss to the Anaheim Angels.

For Dusty Baker, the manager of the Giants team that lost Game 7, it was easy. He had been through World Series losses three times before as a player. It wasn't so easy for the biggest star of the series, 3 1/2-year-old Darren Baker, who is the manager's son.

Darren Baker stole the World Series spotlight from the Angels in October, first being rescued at home plate by J.T. Snow after going after a bat while a play at the plate was developing and second when he filled television screens with tears after realizing that for one day, the Angels were better than his daddy's Giants.

"For about two weeks he would play these pretend games, and the Giants always beat the Angels," Dusty Baker said. "He's a kid though, he's getting back to normal."

Dusty Baker, who left the Giants for the Chicago Cubs after the series, is in Hawaii, with his family to give a few clinics, enjoy a vacation and maybe forget about baseball for a while. It might happen for Dusty Baker, but it won't for Darren Baker.

"Everything he does pertains to baseball," Dusty Baker said. "Everywhere we go, people want his autograph, from adults to kids who would have liked to have been able to do what he has done."

The loss hurt Darren Baker so much that one day when Dusty was talking to his cousin, Troy Russell, Darren heard him and thought he was actually talking to Troy Glaus, who won the World Series MVP award for the Angels. Dusty had a lot of explaining to do after that.

Baker is on vacation, but is using the time to study up on his new players and the history of the Cubs organization. He is always free to talk a little baseball.

He has been in the Islands in the offseason for the last four years, and says that for all of the great weather, the most satisfying part of his annual trip is seeing familiar faces at the clinics.

"It is so satisfying to come back here and see the kids getting better," Dusty Baker said. "Hawaii has always produced good players, I wonder why they don't produce more."

When he left the Giants, he was leaving more than the only organization he had known as a manager. Baker figured that Triple-A manager and local product Lenn Sakata might take his spot.

"He is one of the best instructors out there," Baker said. "It's a business, but he'll get his shot somewhere and succeed as a manager big-time. He always got the max out of his talent and studies everything."

But Sakata can feel fortunate he doesn't have to make the decision that Baker will have to for the first time in his life.

Will he pitch to Barry Bonds?

"It depends on the situation," Dusty Baker said. "Really I have been so fortunate to go from Bonds to Sosa, and I played with Hank Aaron. I have been so fortunate."

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