Friday, October 4, 2013

Dusty Baker was surprised by firing and has no intent to retire

Dusty Baker was fired after six seasons with the Reds.

Upon learning of his firing, Dusty Baker spent Friday afternoon cleaning out his Cincinnati condominium that he had resided in for six years.

Baker told USA TODAY Sports that it could take "a couple of days" for him to pick all of his stuff up and said he was extremely surprised by the announcement.

"I wasn't ready for this. I really wasn't. I thought I'd still be here," he said.

The prospect of him returning as manager seemed all but certain following Tuesday's season-ending loss in Pittsburgh when general manager Walt Jocketty seemed confident Baker would be back.

But that obviously changed between then and now as the Reds made the firing offical Friday morning. Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini reportedly met with Baker in the middle of the week to suggest him stepping down, citing concern for his health, after Baker suffered a stroke last year. However, Baker refused, told them he felt better than ever, and left them no choice but to fire him.

Despite his unexpected demise, Baker has no plans of retiring.

"I am not retiring,'' Baker said. "I am not taking a year off. I feel better now than I did a year go at this time. I got a clean bill of health. They said I'm doing great.

"Please, let everybody know, I still plan on managing.''

Now, the Reds are left to search for someone to take over a club who has been to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. However, the real challenge for Baker's successor will be to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs, which hasn't been done by a Reds squad since 1995.

No comments: