TALKING WITH DUSTY BAKER

Cubs manager, and his famous son, Darren
August 07, 2005

DUSTY ON SIX-YEAR-OLD DARREN'S LOVE OF BASEBALL
Every day is ball day. When I come home from my game [about 70% of Wrigley Field games are in the daytime], we play catch. He watches baseball highlights every day, and he reads all the baseball news in the paper; that's how he learned to read. He tells me all the scores in the morning.

DUSTY ON DARREN AS A PLAYER
During the school year Darren plays for the Millbrae Pancake House in San Francisco. In the summer he and my wife, Melissa, come to Chicago, and he plays for the Welles Park Cubs. He plays second base, shortstop and first base. He bats lefthanded, throws righthanded. He's a pretty good hitter for six.

DUSTY ON WHY DARREN BECAME THE GIANTS BATBOY AT AGE THREE
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer [in 2001]. It was in remission, but you don't know if it will reoccur. I thought, I'm going to give my son all I can in case the cancer comes back. That's the main reason he was the batboy.

DUSTY ON DARREN NEARLY GETTING RUN OVER BY DAVID BELL IN THE 2002 WORLD SERIES
That day Barry Bonds's son and Shawon Dunston's son were also batboys. Kenny Lofton was the batter, and after he hit the ball, one of the other kids said, 'I'm going to get Kenny's bat.' Darren said, 'No you're not,' and before anyone could stop him, he was out on the field. We should have kept an eye on him, but we were watching the play.

DUSTY ON THE HARSHEST REACTION TO THE INCIDENT
I was waiting to start a press conference when my mom called. She started lighting into me like moms do, yelling, 'I told you, I told you something bad would happen.' I was like, 'Mom, I've got to go and talk to the press now.' She said, 'Oh, no! You tell the press to wait. I ain't through with you yet.'

DUSTY ON DARREN'S REACTION TO THE NEW RULE THAT BATBOYS BE AT LEAST 14
He said he could wait. He said he was in the Hall of Fame. I said, 'Son you're not in the Hall of Fame, it takes years of hard work to get there.' But he was right. The picture of him [being scooped up by J.T. Snow] is in the Hall.

DARREN ON LIFE AS A MANAGER'S SON
I know I'm lucky. I get to play at Wrigley Field. I get to hit, and I get to play the infield and stuff.

DARREN ON EVALUATING PERSONNEL
I tell my father which players to trade. My favorites on PlayStation are D-Lee, Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter, Lance Berkman, Johnny Damon, David Ortiz and Michael Barrett.

DARREN ON HIS FAVORITE TV SHOWS
Baseball Tonight, SpongeBob and Jimmy Neutron. [Dusty calls Todd Walker Jimmy Neutron because Darren thinks he resembles the cartoon hero.]

DUSTY ON DARREN'S ASPIRATIONS
He can't wait to be in the majors. He wrote Barry Bonds congratulating him on his 660th home run and told him he was going to break all his records.

--As told to Paul Sullivan

COLOR PHOTOPhotograph by Todd Rosenberg  DUSTY, 56, IS 1,070-914 IN 13 YEARS AS A MAJOR LEAGUE MANAGER, INCLUDING 230-199 IN THREE YEARS WITH THE CUBS. DARREN, 6, HIT .313 THIS SUMMER FOR THE CUBS IN A CHICAGO LITTLE LEAGUE. COLOR PHOTOKEVORK DJANSEZIAN/AP (DARREN WITH SNOW)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)