You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Body found on New Carlisle bike path being investigated

Reds fire Baker after late-season collapse

Baseball is a business. Dusty Baker knows that better than anyone. Sometimes, it’s personal, however.

The Reds announced the firing of Baker, 64, on Friday after a six-year run in which he established himself as one of the most successful managers in franchise history.

Talking to local writers on a conference call Friday afternoon, Baker appeared resilient, vowing he wasn’t done as a manager. When talk turned to his son Darren, though, you could tell this was no easy day for a man who has spent a lifetime in the game. Darren grew up around this team and spent many games in the dugout.

“My son cried when he heard the news,” Baker said. “That really affected me. He knew these guys from 8 to 14, which are very formative years for a young man. He became friends with Joey (Votto) and (Todd) Frazier and Brandon (Phillips) and Jay (Bruce). They texted each other. That’s why he was so sad we lost. He was going to come to St. Louis. He wanted to see them one more more time before school. He couldn’t get out of school. That’s who it will affect the most.”

Baker lamented that he would be judged by the last six games he managed with the Reds, not the six years he spent in the dugout. The Reds blew a chance to host the National League wild card game by losing the last five games of the regular season, three to the Pirates, and then lost 6-2 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Baker was preparing to manage next season. He signed a two-year contract after last season and figured the Reds wouldn’t fire him with a year remaining. Then he said he had a conversation with General Manager Walt Jocketty on Thursday in which Jocketty said he was looking to replace hitting coach Brook Jacoby.

“I was like, ‘Oh no,’” Baker said. “Brook’s not doing anything in my mind that deserved that. I said, ‘Hey, man, if we get rid of Brook, we might as well get rid of me, too.’ I got called up the office, and I thought I was going to discuss Brook’s future, and I was told my services were no longer needed.”

Jocketty disputed the fact that the firing had anything to do with Jacoby. The last six games, especially the final one in Pittsburgh, had almost everything to do with it.

”It’s definitely a tough decision,” Jocketty said. “Dusty and I have been friends for quite a while. We looked at how the team had performed this year, especially in the last few weeks of the season. We just felt it was time to make a change.”

Baker said the explanation he received was, “the club didn’t finish very strong and we lost quite a few in a row. We made a poor showing in the wild card game. They were going to go in a different direction, and maybe the team needed a different voice.”

The Reds’ failures in October — 2-7 in postseason games — were the biggest marks against Baker in his six years. The Phillies swept the Reds in the National League Division Series in 2010. The Reds blew a 2-0 lead to the Giants by losing three games at home in 2012. This year, everything fell apart at the end.

“Not only did the batters go into a big slump, which makes you look flat if you’re not scoring runs,” Baker said, “but on the other hand, we weren’t pitching well either. We were in our bullpen every day. We were trying to preserve as much of our bullpen as we could for the playoffs. We didn’t play any phase of the game well that last week.”

This was Baker’s third managing gig in the major leagues following stints with the Giants and Cubs. He’s had only one year off (2007) since he started with San Francisco in 1993.

“I’m looking to the future,” Baker said. “I can’t do anything about (the firing). I appreciate my time with the Reds. Maybe the time was long enough. The years, the hate mail, maybe it was time for me to move on. (Former 49ers coach) Bill Walsh said maybe you should move every five years. Perhaps he was right.

“Maybe they can bring in somebody else who can do a better job. I’m not retiring. I’m not taking the year off as suggested. I feel better this year than I did last year at this point. I really take care of myself and watch my weight. I devoted all my energy to this team and to winning.”

A baseball man to the end, Baker closed the conference call by thanking the local media for their coverage and saying, “I’m going to watch the game now. I enjoy watching baseball.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

5 things to know about Ohio State’s potential NFL draft picks
5 things to know about Ohio State’s potential NFL draft picks

Ohio State football doesn’t figure to match last year’s showing at the NFL draft, but it is shaping up to be another year for Urban Meyer and his coaching staff to crow about.  Here is what you want to know ahead of the 2017 draft in Philadelphia:  1. Pro Football Focus has seven Buckeyes in its top 300 prospects: Marshon...
Jake Replogle of Centerville honored by Purdue, Big Ten
Jake Replogle of Centerville honored by Purdue, Big Ten

Centerville High School graduate Jake Replogle has been named Purdue University’s male winner of the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor for 2017. Replogle was a stalwart on the Boilermakers defensive line during his football career, playing 39 games and registering 158 tackles, including 35 for loss and 7.5 sacks. He was an honorable mention...
Baseball: Xenia tops Southeastern in game that almost wasn’t
Baseball: Xenia tops Southeastern in game that almost wasn’t

Xenia and Southeastern both were staring at openings in their high school baseball schedules this week when Xenia coach Barry Claus sent Southeastern coach Craig Isaac a text. “When Alter decided they didn’t want to play us Saturday, I got in touch with Craig and asked him if we wanted to play,” Claus said after his team claimed a...
Sports Today: NFL draft day thoughts on the Bengals, Browns and Buckeyes 
Sports Today: NFL draft day thoughts on the Bengals, Browns and Buckeyes 

Welcome to NFL draft day!  The league’s nefarious plot to make us care about football year round continues to be a success, and no, I’m not complaining.  The first draft item to run across my feed this morning was about the Cleveland Browns considering taking second-round talent Mitch Trubisky with the No. 1 overall pick. ...
H.S. Results for 4/26: Kenton Ridge clinches share of title

The Kenton Ridge baseball team secured at least a share of the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail title with a 13-2 win over Springfield Shawnee on Wednesday. Kaleb Meeks led the way, clobbering a three-run home run and adding a double. Noah Schleinitz picked up the win on the mound, his fourth. Ben Ross and Bryce Cox both doubled for Shawnee...
More Stories