Thursday, October 24
Manager's son gets a little too close to the action
SAN FRANCISCO -- The 3½-year-old son of San Francisco manager Dusty Baker got so excited while retrieving a bat in Game 5 of the World Series that he nearly got run over at the plate.
When J.T. Snow scored for the Giants in the seventh inning of San Francisco's 16-4 victory Thursday night, Darren Baker ran out of the dugout to pick up the bat of Kenny Lofton, who had hit a two-run triple. The problem was, David Bell was running full-speed behind Snow.
Snow made sure Darren was safe at home. He scooped him up by his oversized black jacket and asked, "You OK, buddy?"
Darren, whose helmet had fallen off, nodded yes and patted San Francisco's first baseman on the back.
"He's so eager all the time," Snow said.
Baker looked a little sheepish and a tad shaken, too, by his son's enthusiasm.
As for Darren, he was fine in the dugout a moment later, sticking his finger in his nose for a national television audience.
Baker had barely made it back into his office after the game when his phone started ringing. It was his mother, Christina Baker, calling from Sacramento to find out if her grandson was all right, and why he was running onto the field.
"He flew out there so quick," Baker said. "He was in a hurry to get Kenny Lofton's bat. I've just got to watch him a little closer."
The bat boy said he learned a lesson and was grateful to Snow.
"I told him thank you," he said. "It didn't scare me at all. (My dad) told me, 'J.T. saved you."'
Darren and several other little boys were standing at the top of the steps leading from the field to the clubhouse when Snow came up. Snow rubbed his hands through the boy's black curly hair and they walked into the clubhouse together.
Snow said he has a 4½-year-old son at home, so he knew how to react to grab Darren.
"I reached down. Luckily, I grabbed him by the collar," Snow said. "His eyes were huge. I don't think he knew what was going on.
"He's our good-luck charm. We can't have him going down. We need him as much as we need any of our players."
Baker said his son, who has an 8-0 postseason as the Giants' bat boy, would accompany the team to Anaheim.
"A couple of the guys said if he didn't go, they wouldn't go," the manager said.
Darren, who is shorter than the bats he struggles to carry, is one of the most popular attractions at Pacific Bell Park.
He missed Game 3 Tuesday night with an earache and sinus infection, but his dad couldn't keep him away for Games 4 and 5. He woke up early Wednesday, eager to get to the ballpark and make up for missed time.
Baker, in his 10th season managing the Giants, has been receptive to having players' kids around -- both in the clubhouse and on the field. They rotate as bat boys. Rarely is there such on-field participation by players' children in other ballparks.
Right fielder Reggie Sanders alluded to Darren's safety before the World Series, saying he hoped the boy wouldn't get hurt.
"It was a little bit of a scary moment," Sanders said after the game Thursday. "It tells you how much we're watching him. We all have our eyes on him."