Moments before he pulled on his brand new Washington Nationals jersey, emblazoned with No. 12 on the back, Dusty Baker relished all the cameras going off as he was reintroduced as an MLB manager Thursday morning.
"Man, I haven't heard that in a long time," Baker quipped as he sat down for his introductory press conference at Nationals Park.
Baker, the 66-year-old with two decades of managerial experience, signed a two-year, $4-million deal earlier this week to replace deposed manager Matt Williams, enabling him to fulfill the "burning desire" he's had since the Cincinnati Reds fired him after the 2013 campaign.
"My son gave me a whole list of Nationals shirts and jerseys he wanted," said Baker. "It was my wife and my son that really helped me make up my mind to accept and take this job. I knew I had their total blessing, and they knew I had a burning desire."
Baker added that he intends to finish his managerial career in the nation's capital. But, by his own estimation, his new team is better equipped to get that elusive first World Series championship (as a manager, that is) than any of his previous teams.
"This is my fourth and final team," said Baker. "Beyond compare, this is the best talent."
Speaking of talent, Baker - a two-time All-Star during his playing days - doesn't expect to have any trouble communicating with Bryce Harper, the 23-year-old phenom and presumed 2015 NL MVP.
"I love watching him play," he said. "The thing about it is, I'm not really intimidated by stars because I was a star."
Baker wasn't the only veteran instructor to join the Nationals organization Thursday, though. Davey Lopes, a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers' coaching staff for the last six seasons, was named Washington's first base coach and baserunning instructor.
"He's as good a baserunning coach as I've ever been around," Baker said of Lopes, adding that the players were "extremely happy" about his hiring.