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Baker's words on heat revisited
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07/14/2003  8:12 PM ET 
Baker's words on heat revisited
Media brings up subject that made headlines last week
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CHICAGO -- Dusty Baker had nearly finished his media session Monday and had almost escaped when the subject finally was broached.

Here he was, about to manage the National League team in the All-Star Game and comments he made a week ago regarding black and Latin players and the heat were raised once again.

Before the Chicago Cubs game July 5 against St. Louis, Baker was asked about how his players were handling the hot summer days.

"You have to pretend that you're a construction worker out there," Baker said that day in a low-key session with Chicago media. "You have no choice. It's easier for me. It's easier for most Latin guys and it's easier for most minority people. Most of us come from heat.

"You don't find too many brothers from New Hampshire and Maine and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Right? We were brought over here for the heat, right? Isn't that history? Weren't we brought over here because we can take the heat?"

Since then, Baker has been criticized nationally, although Baker was not reprimanded by Major League Baseball.

"It's over as far as I'm concerned," Baker said Monday. "I expected a call from the Commissioner's Office and they said, 'No, they know me.' We're living in a very opportunistic world. People will take opportunities with anything, especially at the expense of other people.

"What shocked me was the reaction," he said. "My question is, why are we so sensitive when it comes to any conversation about race? That's what shocked me.

"I said what I said. I meant what I said," he said. "What's shocking more than anything is to see how everybody has jumped on it one way or another so it's their own means, whether they're comedians or media people or columnists or guys telling jokes.

"I'm the brunt of a whole bunch of stuff," he said. "That's what's shocking. Are they really on it because of what I said or are they on it because they need something to talk about to fill the time?"

2003 All-Star Game

2003 All-Star Game information >

Asked if he was surprised he had gone this far in the All-Star questioning before someone talked about the subject, he just shrugged.

"My reputation was there long before this. I'm not a kid. I'm 54 years old. I've got a long track record of diversity," he said. "I not only practice diversity but I've been paid a lot of money to speak on diversity for a number of years. I live what I talk.

"When I was a player, I told guys that. When I was a kid, I asked my mom questions about it. This isn't something that came off the top of my head."

Baker's mother taught black history. He had a good source. He did apologize to Cubs management, but their response was "don't worry about it," he said.

"The only thing I can say is if I did insult somebody, I insulted me, too, because I said, 'We.'"

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.




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