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Baker's baseball life continues with Senators

Darren Baker has been around the game his whole life and his latest chapter can be seen on City Island.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — If everything you know about Darren Baker's time in baseball ended when he was pulled from home plate by J.T. Snow during the 2002 World Series, you've missed a lot.

"I wear the same underwear every game. It's washed, obviously, after every game," said Darren Baker with a laugh. 

The Nationals' 2021 tenth round draft pick is like any other ball player, in some respects.  He has pregame superstitions and as his dad will tell you, he's not fond of the 'L' word.

"He hates to lose. He loves to play. He brings an excitement and he's a ballplayer. He knows how to play," said Darren's father and Astros manager Dusty Baker.

In late July, the Nationals organization promoted the infielder from the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks to the Harrisburg Senators.

"Everybody is better. The command from the pitchers and the off-speed stuff is a little better but at the end of the day, it's still baseball," said Darren.

While he's still a relatively new face to fans, the constant smiles and laughing during batting practice shows that he's fitting right in with his teammates on City Island.

"My dad has a good time and smiles a bunch," said Darren.  "It's still a game at the end of the day. When we were little kids it was fun so I try to keep it that way." 

Most who play the game at the Minor League level started early, but few grew up in major league ballparks, so Baker has seen the confidence needed to make it to the pros.

"I feel like I'm a pretty confident guy anyways, just because I trust the work that I've put in and I'm ready for when the game starts," said Darren.  "If you lack confidence at this level, these guys will weed you out pretty quickly."

"I had confidence he would be there in the first place because he had confidence. That's where it starts," added Dusty. "To go from A ball to AA in your first full year, that's them showing confidence in him."  

This year has been a stellar one for Darren. Even though he's only seen his dad twice since February, baseball has kept them connected.  

In spring training, Darren surprised his dad by exchanging lineup cards when the Astros met the Nationals. 

On the night when his dad notched win number 2,000 as a manager, Darren was making a diamond memory of his own.

"It's been a dream, honestly. I hit a walk-off in Wilmington the same night my dad got the big win," recalled Darren. "I got to play in the Futures Game in L.A. this year. It's more than I could've imagined."

Senators fans hope to see his confidence lead to more wins at FNB Field, before Baker takes another step towards his ultimate dream.

"Hopefully he brings some winning to them," said Dusty.  "I just want him to be happy and let him play."

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