Archive for October 10th, 2010

Dusty Baker: Managing Mysteries

October 10, 2010

Dusty Baker (photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/US Presswire)

Baseball managers aren’t usually described as introspective and spiritual. That’s why I enjoyed reading this profile of Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker by Howard Bryant of A few years ago, I tried to interview Dusty for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything because I was aware of his spiritual awakening following his cancer diagnosis. I got as far as talking to Dusty’s father but wasn’t able to connect with Dusty himself. I’m glad to see that Dusty has deepened his awareness of and appreciation for life.

After dealing with personal and professional crises, Reds manager now a “happy” man

“Light a candle,” Dusty Baker says, his lone voice softly skimming the looming silence of the empty church. “I’m sure there’s someone out there you want to pray for.”

He lights a candle, points the flickering matchstick downward in his large hands, the athlete’s hands, dousing it into the cool sand. It is here in the solitude of St. Peter in Chains Cathedral — funded by Ohio Catholics who donated 12 cents per month toward its construction in 1841 — where Johnnie B. Baker, born Baptist in California, raised in the traditions of the southern black church, kneels alone among the long pews and nourishes his spirituality.

After several moments of prayer, he rises and walks gingerly toward the altar, marveling at the Greek architecture, the Corinthian columns and stained glass mosaics, comforted, despite its bruises, by the sanctuary and the ritual of the church.

“I come in here before homestands, sometimes a couple of times a week during the season,” said Baker. “I pray for my family, for my team, and for Barack Obama, because (more…)