Being in San Francisco good for Dusty's soul
SAN FRANCISCO -- The golf cart wheeled him, slowly, through the lower bowl of AT&T Park, out toward the Northern California night, where a Filipino dinner, followed by the typically short sleep that accompanies postseason play, awaited him.Each San Francisco Giants employee that Dusty Baker passed extended a hand, a hello, a Halleluiah. "Thank the Lord!" one woman said, clutching Baker's hand. "I was so worried about you!" Baker is lighter in body -- more than 20 pounds shed over the course of his medical ordeal, followed by the determined diet prescribed by his daughter. But he's not frail -- in body, in mind or in soul. He's simply recognizing the value, at this stage, of energy preservation.
Lofton tells the story of third baseman David Bell from that '02 team. Baker found out Bell loved catfish."We go on the road," Lofton recalled, "and there's arrangements for a catfish dinner in his locker that Dusty got for him. That's the kind of man Dusty is." And so the man has an effect on people -- on those who play for him, and on those who know him from another time and place. So in the Reds' clubhouse and in the interior of AT&T Park, the sight of Baker back at work, at this pivotal point in the baseball calendar and in the place he calls home, elicited one response: Halleluiah.