Two years ago, John Baker became a Chicago Cubs fan favorite as the guitar-slinging, song-singing, fist-pumping back-up catcher. Every season, it seems, there’s a new cult favorite player, but Baker was among the best. After his playing days ended, ahead of 2015, he began doing some writing and interviews around the web – including here on Bleacher Nation. For us, he provided fascinating insight on retaliation and protection in MLB, but has since written, interviewed and Periscoped about many different topics and ideas, alike.
Recently, he’s been hired by the Cubs as a Baseball Operations Assistant, a role that many of us hope comes with a lot of visibility. Already, we’ve seen Baker continue his presence around baseball and, today, we’re graced with three such pieces.
Then, at Baseball Prospectus, Rian Watt sat down with Baker to discuss the value of clubhouse leadership. We’ve heard it mentioned time and again, but, as Watt writes, it’s hard for those of us outside of the game to truly understand the value of leadership. More specifically, Watt wants to understand how and to what extent leadership in the clubhouse translates to value on the field. One way leaders add actual value, Baker explains, is the way they lessen the pressure of their teammates. Underperforming and slumping is a part of the game, but when it’s broadcast to a giant video board next to a picture of your face, it can be quite … distracting. Good clubhouse leaders lessen the intensity of the pressure, and help to reassure players of their value. There is plenty more in Watt’s article, including much more from Baker, so give it a read.
So take some time, today, and jump back into baseball with John Baker. He is an extremely bright baseball mind and still has many years of baseball ahead of him.