The relationship between Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Cincinnati skipper Dusty Baker goes way back to 1981, when Roenicke was breaking in with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I really like him," said Roenicke. "When I first came to the big leagues, he and two other guys really broke me in the right way. The other two were Rick Monday and Terry Forster."
Roenicke was pleased to receive a telephone call Tuesday afternoon from Baker, minutes before the Reds announced that their manager had suffered a minor stroke Friday while in a Chicago hospital being treated for an irregular heartbeat.
The Reds announced that Baker probably would not return to managing until the team's final regular-season series against St. Louis. Cincinnati bench coach Chris Speier, who served as the Brewers' third base coach in 2000, is managing in Baker's absence.
"He sounded good," said Roenicke. "He was in good spirits. I left him a text a few days ago. I thought at that time, according to the paper, that he was going to manage (in this series)."
Roenicke said being a big-league manager can have different effects on people.
"It is a stressful job, but he's been doing it a long time," said Roenicke. "He's got a great temperament for it. He enjoys it. The players have fun playing for him. So, for him, it's certainly not as stressful as for some other people."
As for the Reds missing their manager, Roenicke said, "It's hard on these guys. They like 'Bake.' He's part of what you do. When you don't have that part around, it's different.
"But hopefully he'll get back and it'll be fine at the end and he'll be able to take them into the playoffs."