No, that isn’t sarcasm. Baker is 100% on point with this observation, made in connection with Joey Votto’s stress issues:
“Nobody knows who it is going to affect and when it is going to affect anybody. You deal with pressure every day in this game. People throw the money issue in your face all the time. There is a lot more coverage. It’s a high-pressure world. Sports is one of the few professionals where you reach your goal at a very young age. Most guys reach their goals between their 40s and 50s. Maintaining a balance in your life can be a very tough thing. The game can become all-encompassing, day and night. It wakes you up in the middle of the night. It does me and I’m not even playing.”
I couldn’t imagine having to deal with even the relatively mundane stresses I have in my life now when I was in my early 20s, so I can only imagine that dealing with everythng a ballplayer has thrown at them is amazingly tough for a kid that age. While most of them deal with it just fine, the ones that don’t are lucky if they have someone with Dusty Baker’s obvious intelligence, experience and empathy hanging around. Baker says that he’s “not worried about Joey.” If I’m Joey Votto, that’s probably exactly what I need to hear.