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Washington Has National League’s Best Record Under Baker

When handling his baseball team the Washington Nationals, Dusty Baker knows that you should not grip the club too tight. Baker is far different from last season’s manager Matt Williams. While, Williams was wound as tight as they come, Baker is known for his laissez faire approach.

Baker watches his team from his position in the dugout with toothpick in mouth. He can be seen dancing during batting practices when he is in the mood. He can also turn a boring news conference into a comedy show with his disarming candor.

On Sunday, he also showed just now good instinct he owns. He rested Nationals’ All-Star Bryce Harper. While that could sound quite strange, as Harper is far and away the team’s best player, and has been leading the Nationals to the league’s best record, the manager felt it was the right thing to do.

Harper is very young at just 23 and the reigning MVP, so why rest him after only three weeks of the season. In addition, the game was not a day affair following a night game. Things were not in the cards for Harper to be sitting.

Despite all those things and the fact Washington does not play Monday, Harper was sitting out the Sunday game against Minnesota on Baker’s decision.

As it turns out, he was not given the full day off. In the National’s bottom of the ninth, Harper was called upon to pinch-hit with the Nationals down 4-3.

All the young superstar accomplished was a pinch-hit home run to tie the game.

The Nationals sent the game into extra innings and odds were Harper was going to be playing in the field for the 10th.

Wrong again, Baker put Harper back on the bench and sent in Chris Heisey the seldom used reserve.

Baker was looking at the long term not the immediate. He opted to sit Harper after the young gun’s home run, which is something most managers would have a hard time doing.

Washington went on to win and with the win, the Nationals now lead the National League East 14-4, which is baseball’s best record.

Baker’s players have said for many years, including the Nationals this year that playing for the veteran manager is fun and that Baker brings the fun back to baseball, with his easy going style.

Of course, the season is just over three weeks old with over five months remaining, and no one can say how the year will turn out, but with Baker in the dugout, his team will be full of smiles and fans will be on edge waiting for him to surprise them once again.

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