The news breaking out of DC is all too familiar for the Washington Nationals: A manager has been relieved of their services due to another early postseason exit. Why does this situation sting so much for the DC sports family?
For starters, Dusty Baker did a phenomenal job during the past two seasons as the Nationals manager, delivering them back-to-back divisional titles for the first time in franchise history. Also, Baker was worthy of a contract extension, and may have received it, had the Nats would rallied to win Game 5 against the Chicago Cubs.
However, the Nationals brass decided it was time for yet another change, knowing that their championship window may be closing, as fast as Bryce Harper’s contract expires at the end of next season. The reactions to the news locally have been mixed: some fans have been wanting a different manager for quite awhile, while others are utterly shocked by the dismissal of Baker.
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) October 20, 2017
Here's the statement from the Nationals on Dusty Baker and his coaching staff… pic.twitter.com/pR29C34TwZ
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) October 20, 2017
With this news, the Washington Nationals will begin their search for a new manager immediately. Some of the early reports suggested New York Yankees Joe Girardi could be a possibility, but with the Yankees being on the cusp of a World Series berth, that seems highly unlikely.
Instead, look for the Nationals to interview a proven veteran who has a championship pedigree. Anything less than a proven winner would be seen as a waste of time for the DC faithful, as mentioned previously, their window appears to be rapidly closing on this roster.
In Defense of Dusty Baker https://t.co/vHodMGKwml
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) October 10, 2017
Time will tell if the Nationals made the right move here with Dusty Baker, however, it is difficult to fault a team for looking for that last extra push to get them their first title. One can only hope that the next manager understands the history (and misery) DC sports has been through, and shows the urgency needed to capture a title next season.
Photo Credit: WashingtonPost.com