Yardbarker- New Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker became the punchline of some amusing jokes last week after he erroneously referred to Bryce Harper as “Royce” on at least two occasions.
The veteran skipper defended himself this week over the gaffe by indicating that getting the first names of people correct has never been his strong suit.
“I’m not good at first names,” Baker said during an interview Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan, via D.C. Sports Bog. “The one thing you don’t understand is, in baseball, everybody calls each other by their last name basically. You don’t see a guy’s first name on the back of his jersey, and then in the military, I was in the Marines for six years, you address everybody by their last name, so I’m not good at first names. I call my nephews the wrong names sometimes. I know the guy’s name. I don’t know why I called him Royce.”
“They know who I’m talking to,” Baker pointed out, saying he refers to Jayson Werth as “JW” and other players as “Dude” or “Junior,” among others. “Bryce, he called me Rusty. It’s no big deal.”
Listen, it's a well known fact that black don't crack, but even an old African American skipper can reach his breaking point. The fact that Dusty Baker can't remember the part of a person's name that isn't stitched into the back of jersey might be a sign that time might be catching up to him. It's not like we are talking about a Latin born backup catcher whose first name has rolling R's and silent H's. Bryce Harper is the best player on his team and has one of the most memorable names in all of baseball. It's inexcusable not to have that one committed to memory. Unless, of course, you are completely losing your memory. I probably could have told you that Dusty Baker called his nephews the wrong names even before he told me that. He literally can't keep track of any of the most important people in his life, and that's not a good look considering he's getting up there in age.
The whole "oh, you know what I mean" excuse is valid when it's my senile grandma mixing up the names of my brother and my cousin. However, that's the same grandmother that thinks my brother and my cousin would be a cute couple. I don't think a guy that is responsible for making ever single decision for a professional baseball team should want to be compared to the crazy lady that's talking nonsense as she's essentially sitting around waiting to die. I'm not saying that we are anywhere close to having to change Dusty Baker's diaper after we wheel him into the clubhouse, but name recognition is the first thing to go and Dusty Baker's is going, going, GONE.