Baseball’s oldest managers – Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker – are all set to face off against each other when the Astros take on the White Sox.
And you’d think that the two old dogs would stick together, right? Not exactly.
La Russa and Baker have known each other for over 50 years, competed since La Russa was with the Cardinals and Baker with the Cubs in the early 2000s, and there’s no love lost between the two.
Their teams have brawled, they’ve clashed, and each manager has made some pointed comments about each other in the past. I think it’s safe to say that Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa won’t be meeting for lunch or a cup of coffee during the series.
“It’s going to be awesome,’’ said former Cubs GM Ed Lynch to USA Today. “You’re talking about two intense competitors who disliked one another so much that they nearly came to blows. This is old-school baseball at its finest between two of the most respected managers who ever lived.’’
Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker are both top-15 all time in wins – with La Russa being second and Baker being 12th. And both will undoubtedly have a plaque in Cooperstown before its all said and done (La Russa already does).
“I remember those dugout beefs they had back in the day. It was sweet. Hopefully, they get into it again,” Said former St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese.
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Despite everyone hoping for some fireworks between Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa, they have appeared to have move past the beef.
“Really, when you think back, all we ever did was take care of our own teams,’’ La Russa told USA TODAY Sports from his Chicago apartment. “We had our clashes here and there, but all we were doing was taking care of our own players. We compete. We both respect the game. And we respect each other. That’s what it’s all about.”
Dusty Baker agreed with Tony La Russa that after all they’ve been through during their illustrious careers, now it’s just time to “play ball”.
“We were in the same division for damn near 10 years, so we’re going to have our differences. I really try not to think about it. Nobody is right all of the time. Nobody is wrong all of the time. Let’s just play ball. At the end of the day, we’ll shake hands, tell each other good luck, and hope you’re the last one standing.’’