Baker takes extra pleasure in Bailey's double feat
Skipper missed hurler's first no-hitter while recovering from stroke
CINCINNATI -- When Homer Bailey pitched his first no-hitter for the Reds against the Pirates on Sept. 28, 2012, someone was quite conspicuous with his absence that night at PNC Park.
The one thing that was off about the ending was that manager Dusty Baker wasn't there to see it in person. Baker was at home watching on television in Cincinnati, still recovering from a minor stroke he had suffered one week prior.
On Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park, Baker had a front-row seat.
"I told a couple of guys at Spring Training one of the only things I missed was Homer's no-hitter last year, because I couldn't go to Pittsburgh," Baker said. "I was fresh out of the hospital. I got to see this one. Boy, he was dealing."
Baker couldn't help smiling by the ninth inning as Bailey completed a 109-pitch effort for no-hitter No. 2 of his career in beating the Giants, 3-0.
This time, Baker was able to take part in the celebration.
"Dang, what a game. I can't quit smiling," Baker said. "I'm so glad for Homer. He's worked so hard to get to this point. He's been through some ups and downs to try and get to this point. We're all so very proud of him. He's worked hard and dedicated himself, big time."
Baker has witnessed some no-hitters as a player and was the final out for the fifth no-hitter of Nolan Ryan's career. Ryan, pitching for the Astros, earned a 5-0 victory over Baker's Dodgers at the Astrodome on Sept. 26, 1981. Similar to the ending of Bailey's no-hitter vs. the Giants, Ryan ended it by getting Baker to ground out to third base.
"That's what came back to my mind when the last batter was up in the ninth," Baker said. "I was that last batter. You just hate to see it spoiled by the last batter."
That didn't happen on Tuesday. Baker could be there to enjoy the 27th out with Bailey, this time -- the way it should be.