Darren Baker, the slick-fielding 10-year-old shortstop and son of Reds' skipper Dusty Baker, could get a sniff of the bigs when the September call-ups roll around.
Regardless, he is in the running for the Reds' 2010 starting shortstop position.
Darren is coming off of an incredible first-year season for the Gino's Pizza 10 through 12-year-old little league team in his native Riverside, Calif. He led the league in long balls with four, three of which were of the inside-the-park variety.
In a game versus the young men of the Chestnut Grove Church club, the shortstop had 13 RBI. His two-run triple in the visiting half of the fourth provided the deciding mercy rule runs as Gino's beat Chestnut 26-5 in a game lasting just under five hours.
When asked whether she would approve the call-up if the Reds' do so in September, East Riverside Elementary School principal Leila Robertson did not hesitate.
"With a smile on my face I would! Now if his father were not the manager, it would be a different bag of chips, but I have known the senior Baker for five years. He has assured me there will be tutelage provided and as well as a zero tolerance rascality clause in his contract."
How is Darren handling the possibility of a sudden change of scenery?
"I have mixed feelings. Sure it will be great to play in the middle with Brandon [Phillips]," Baker said, "On the other hand, I ran into Rachel Dawkins at the Cold Stone Creamery last week. Whew—let me tell you... if the rest of the girls in my class have matured like Rachel, I'll miss coming to school.
I'm 10-years-old now, almost a man. And an almost-man has needs besides Pokemon cards, you feelin' me?"
It's rare that one word can describe an almost-man.
But Darren Baker is as slick on the field as he is off of it. His defensive play has been compared, ironically, to Alex Gonzalez (the man he would be replacing).
Unlike Gonzalez, Baker can hit and has speed. Baker led his East Riverside league in stolen bases, runs scored, and unassisted triple plays.
It is doubtful that the unassisted triple plays will come his way in the majors, but when asked, the young Baker just gave a confident look, grinned, and slowly shook his head up and down.
The Reds' manager is giving no hints other than saying that if Darren wants to play, "he needs to keep practicing with his friends and stop chasing tail."
Absolutely none of the above information is true (to my knowledge) and should not in any way be taken seriously.
This is the kind of thing that happens when your team is 3-14 since the all-star break, is now tied for last place, and has a bonehead general manager who insists on mortgaging the future for an injury-prone third baseman.