Dusty Baker’s "Eccentric” Habits Are Tied Back to His Days as a Pro Baller
In order to excel at any vocation, you've got to find the love in it. And that love is usually generated by doing things your own way, in a specific method that is only unique to you. When you create that channel for being competent at something you dreamed of doing, there really isn't any better feeling.
A lot of times, your own individual quirks, idiosyncrasies, and "flaws" come along with you. But because you're operating at such a high level and getting s--t done, those eccentricities become cool. And it could lead to a lot of questions. Take current Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, for instance; why does he wear gloves?
Why does Dusty Baker wear gloves?
If someone was writing a script about baseball and they wanted to look for a real-life sports figure for interesting-character inspiration, Dusty Baker would be a great choice.
He doesn't let anything go on the field, like the time he "caught" the Milwaukee Brewers batting out of order while he was with the Washington Nationals.
Then there's the fact that he has a habit of spitting, a habit that he has honed over the years and one that both his mother and wife worried about after the COVID-19 pandemic influenced a near worldwide mask-wearing mandate in group settings.
"It's gonna be a challenge," The Athletic reported Dusty as saying in May 2020 in response to the mask mandate affecting his spitting habits.
Per the outlet, he told their Starkville podcast: "Now the biggest challenge is gonna be what my mom has been chastising me about my whole life — spitting. I am not kidding you. That’s the first thing my wife asked me. She goes, ‘How you gonna stop spitting?’ I don’t know. And my mom, I swear — she has been getting on me since I was 10 years old about spitting. Know what I mean? And I used to practice spitting. I’m the most accurate spitter in the world."
To top it all off, Dusty it also a huge fan of chewing on toothpicks, especially mid game. So when the mask mandate was lifted, Dusty rejoiced that he could commence this practice.
Dusty seems to make a big impact on all of the players he comes into contact with. For instance, when pitcher Homer Bailey was with the Cincinnati Reds, ESPN wrote a story on Homer and discussed the influence Dusty had on his personal development.
Homer said: "I've borrowed quite a few books from him. Dusty is a really diverse guy in all the things he's been around and seen. We're just trying to trade knowledge a little bit."
But it's Homer's comments about some of Dusty's idiosyncrasies that may give us insight into why Dusty wears black gloves.
Back when the story was originally written in 2012, Dusty was fond of wearing wristbands, something that he said was the case because he used them to wipe sweat off of his forehead. Which makes sense: You're playing in the heat and you want to wick away any perspiration.
However Homer says it probably has less to do with keeping a dry forehead and more to do with keeping that pro-baseball spirit alive: "I think he does the wristbands and the toothpicks because he was a player. To him, he's still playing. He's just playing a different position, if you will. Bobby Cox wore spikes for years, and nobody gave him [grief] about that. And he's not sliding into third base any time soon."
Chain spitting and toothpick chewing, and now wearing gloves; Dusty wanting to keep a bunch of old-school baseball traits alive during his time in the MLB is understandable.
As for the gloves, it could have something to do with what MLB fans on Reddit have described as leftover COVID protocol habits.
User @Googleiswatching said: "I know he dips alot. Maybe 'cause of that? Or he's under the impression they will protect him from covid."
Maybe it has a little bit to do with both. Whatever the reason, his quirks are working for him: Dusty has now become the first MLB manager to win division titles across five different ball clubs.