CINCINNATI -- For every postseason game of Dusty Baker's career, Johnnie B. Baker Sr., had been in the stands. That streak will end this season, as Baker is on the verge of leading the Reds to the National League Central title, nearly a year after his father passed away.
"It's really special for me this year because I think about my dad," Baker said before Tuesday's game with the Astros. "Last year was very difficult because every midnight call, I thought was going to be about my dad. He wasn't supposed to live past the All-Star break, then he wasn't supposed to August, then he wasn't supposed to live until September. He lasted until I got home, so I just knew when the season started, my dad was with me."
Baker's father passed away in November at his home in California.
While Baker's father was at every playoff game, it's World Series or bust for his mother. Either way, they're with him every day at Great American Ball Park, where in his office he has a picture of his mother above his desk, several inches from a picture of Johnnie B. Baker Sr. and Johnnie B. Baker Jr.
"Most moms give you love and understanding," Baker said. "Dads give you discipline and direction. At least he called discipline. I called it the belt."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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