Calling the upcoming ALCS matchup of the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros, a "Clash of Titans" feels like a cliché. The term is wildly overused. It has been deployed to describe everything from elections to mascot races. Alien versus Predator, Kong versus Godzilla, Eminem versus Steely Dan in one of the strangest Grammys ever. The term gets thrown around. Yet, there is no better way to describe the matchup of Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker. The two have faced off in the playoffs before, but this time feels different.
First and foremost, a trip to the World Series is on the line. The last time these two faced off was in 2012. Bochy was managing the Giants (stares blankly out the window for 30 minutes), and Baker was in charge of the Reds. Boch's boys went down 0-2 against Cincinnati, only to storm back, win three games in a row, and go on to win the World Series for the second time in three years (stares for an hour this time). We don't have to talk about what the Rangers did in 2012.
Since 2012, Bochy and Baker have added World Series titles to their resume. Bochy led the Giants to victory in 2014, and Baker did the same with the Astros last year. Before their first playoff face-off as managers, the two had extensive careers on the field. Dusty played for 18 years, with a career .278 batting average, and 242 home runs. Bruce Bochy only played for nine years, slashing a .239 batting average with only 26 dingers. That explains why he had this to say when asked about the differences between him and Dusty.
What makes this matchup even more wonderful is that there is nothing but respect between the two storied managers. Bruce Bochy was, and is, quick to compliment Baker whenever he gets the chance. Bochy is 68 years old, and Baker is 74. Rangers broadcaster Jared Sandler reported that Bochy acknowledged as much recently. When asked about facing off against his fellow former Giants rival, Baker was all smiles.
"The fact that we’re pretty old doing what we do, it’s pretty cool."- Bruce Bochy - Texas Rangers manager
Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker are titans in MLB. It's not only because of their impressive records. They aren't in the Hall of Fame yet (but they will be). Their shared love of wine is more of a fun fact. It's how they approach the game, both on and off the field. They're entering one of the biggest series of the year (and possibly their careers). A lot is on the line. Yet, they are all smiles. They are showing a love of the game that has gotten them where they are. When Bochy and Baker face off starting tomorrow in the ALCS, it will be a win for MLB and ultimately baseball fans everywhere.
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