Thursday, March 12, 2009

Veterans provide knowledge; young players bring the energy

Reds manager Dusty Baker, 59, "has a reputation for preferring veterans at the expense of young players."

"I get tired of defending myself," he says. "It's the biggest crock of (bull) I've ever heard. I never had one (young team) except my last year (2006) in Chicago. In San Francisco, they had a big mortgage on the building. We had to win now."

What's important to Coach Baker is not whether a player is young or a veteran; it's whether the player wants to improve.

"Growth, that's exactly what I want," Baker says. "Baseball intellect, the ability to learn and retain what they learn. Some guys get it right away. Other guys you've got to keep reminding. I want intelligent, energy-type players. Competition from within without envy and jealousy. Veterans give us knowledge, kids give us energy."

When asked if some of the younger Reds players were likely to develop into team leaders, Coach Baker replied: "Leadership is not appointed. It's anointed by your teammates."