For those who measure time in innings and games, Opening Days and Octobers, the following qualifies as a sign that everyone is getting old: Darren Baker, the precocious little batboy who had to be pried away from home plate in the 2002 World Series, is graduating from high school in Northern California this weekend.
Remember little Darren Baker? He's all grown up & ready to play college or pro ball!
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) May 23, 2017
His father will leave the Nationals to be there for it, and rejoin them when they get to San Francisco for Monday’s game.
Darren, who attends Jesuit High outside Sacramento, is committed to play at Cal next year, but is eligible for the MLB draft in June. He interned at the Nationals Youth Academy between his summer baseball schedule last year.
Bench coach Chris Speier will manage the team in Baker’s absence, as he did once last year and has in the past. Speier was Baker’s bench coach in Cincinnati, and managed when Baker left the team to deal with health issues in 2012. He managed the Nationals to a win last September, when Baker left because of a death in the family. He was drafted by the Senators when he was 18, and was one of Baker’s first calls when he got the Nationals’ job.
Baker generally plans his lineups a few days in advance, meaning he will probably leave Speier lineups to use in his absence, barring anything unexpected.