NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 3:54 PM
Dusty Baker’s run as manager of the Nationals if off to a rough start – and he has no one to blame but himself.
In his first media scrum at the Winter Meetings, Baker claimed “he wasn’t being racist” after saying “you’ve got a better chance of getting some speed with Latin and African-Americans,” and in defending his former closer Aroldis Champman against domestic violence charges, appeared to blame the victim.
According to a Yahoo Sports report, Chapman allegedly pushed his girlfriend against the wall and choked her during an Oct. 30 fight in Florida after the two argued over something she found on his phone. The pitcher also allegedly fired eight gun shots in his garage.
Chapman, however, told police that he merely pushed his girlfriend with two fingers and she fell down.
Baker, who said he heard the news from his son but hasn’t read the reports, called Chapman “a heck of a guy.”
“I mean, who’s to say the allegations are true, number one. And who’s to say what you would have done or what caused the problem.”
Charges were never filed in the case “due to conflicting information and lack of cooperation from all parties involved.”
In terms of a domestic violence policy in MLB, an issue that gained more attention after former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested in Hawaii after reportedly beating and shoving his wife, Baker called that whole process into question.
“I mean, I got a buddy at home that’s being abused by his wife. So I think this policy needs to go further than the player. I think the policy should go to whoever’s involved. Sometimes abusers don’t always have pants on,” he said.
“That’s the first thing my momma told me when I was a kid. Don’t hit a woman, even my sister. Man, I was like you better leave me alone before I tell my momma.”
When the subject turned to baseball, the Nationals manager was asked about what he thinks his team needs going forward to improve upon last season’s second-place, 83-79 record.
In addition to left-handed pitching and hitting, Baker also brought up the need for speed on the basepaths, singling out Latins and African-Americans as the best source for speed.
Baker made similar comments in 2003, after he said that black and Hispanic players are better suited to play in the sun and heat than white players.