MLB

Baker feeling 'sheer joy not relief' after ending record for most games managed without a World Series title

By Sports Desk November 06, 2022

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker is feeling joy not relief after ending his record for most games managed without a World Series title with his side's Game 6 triumph on Saturday.

The Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 at Minute Maid Park to clinch the franchise's second World Series title and 73-year-old Baker's first as manager.

Baker, who first managed in the majors in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants, has led 3,883 games for 2,093 wins, with nine divisional titles and three pennants but Saturday's World Series crown marks the pinnacle.

"Now we can quit talking about it," Baker said when asked about breaking record during the post-game trophy presentation.

Baker's adoration was symbolised when he was mobbed by players and staff in the dugout when Kyle Tucker plucked the catch from Nick Castellanos' fly ball to right field to clinch victory.

"It's not relief," Baker said during the post-game press conference. "It's just sheer joy and thankfulness. It's not relief at all. Everybody was talking about it more than I was even thinking about it.

"I always said before that if I win one, I'll win two, but you got to win one first. The one was hell to get to this point. But it was well worth it. I'm in a great city, with great people, great fans, and I got a great ball club.

"I tried not to dwell on it, but tried to have faith and perseverance and knowing that with the right team and the right personnel and right everything that this is going to happen."

The Astros triumph comes after the franchise competed in four of the past six World Series, winning the title in 2017.

That period, however, was tarnished by the sign stealing scandal and Baker, who stepped in with the Astros in 2020 after A.J. Hinch's firing, spoke about the vindication this year's success offers.

"I think that's what drove this team," Baker said. "That's what motivated them. The boos and the jeers that we got all over the country, it bothered these guys, but it also motivated them at the same time.

"It wasn't an us against the world thing. It was more of a come together even closer-type thing. And what happened before, it doesn't ever pass over completely. But we have turned the page and hopefully we'll continue this run."

The Astros had to rally from behind after Kyle Schwarber's solo blast, with Yordan Alvarez delivering a three-run home run in the sixth inning.

Alvarez crushed Jose Alvarado's third pitch over center-field after Phillies manager Rob Thomson had opted to pull starter Zack Wheeler from the game with two runners on. Wheeler admitted after the game he was surprised by that decision which Thomson defended.

"I'm sure he was," Thomson told reporters. "He still had his good stuff. I just thought that that was a key moment in the game and that was a momentum swing that I thought Alvarado had a chance to strike him out. It was just I thought the matchup was better with Alvarado on Alvarez at that time."

The Phillies were the last side to book their postseason spot with an 87-75 regular-season record and reached the World Series after stirring victories over the St Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres.

"They have accomplished a lot," Thomson added. "It's still disappointing, though.

"I told them after the game, 'you guys have nothing to be ashamed of. You don't need to hang your head for anybody', because they came to the ballpark every day and worked hard and played hard and played as a team, had a lot of fun. They grinded through a lot of obstacles. I'm just so proud of all of them. I really am."

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