Dusty Baker carries quite a few accessories with him during games that he manages. He wears sweatbands up and down his arms, along with a Fitbit. He dons an Astros-themed mask for most of Houston’s games.
When Baker is taking a mask break, he habitually chews on a toothpick and twirls it in his mouth, something he has done for most of his 23 years as an MLB manager.
But what about the gloves? Those are a relatively new addition to Baker’s wardrobe that came into effect before the 2020 MLB season.
Baker has worn several sets of gloves during the Astros’ regular-season run, but they have come into focus during the postseason. It’s easy to understand why, as they stand out when looking at him even despite his plethora of other accessories.
MORE: Has Dusty Baker ever won a World Series?
Why exactly is Baker wearing these gloves? The answer is rather simple.
Why does Dusty Baker wear gloves?
Baker hasn’t fully explained his decision to wear gloves during Astros games, but it would seem that his decision is related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In July, Baker was asked why he was still wearing a mask during games. He explained that it was related to some previous health scares he has had in the past.
“I still wear a mask because I had cancer 20 years ago and I had a stroke seven years ago,” Baker said, per The Houston Chronicle. “Some of the fans get on me, ‘Take your mask off.’ … You don’t have to wear it, but it’s in my best interest to wear it.”
MORE: Why Joc Pederson wears a pearl necklace during Braves games
The same can likely be said of the gloves. Baker was wearing gloves to pump gas in the early stages of the pandemic, per Jayson Stark of The Athletic, and was religiously “wiping down things” as a precaution.
Baker, 72, apparently brought those safeguards into the Astros’ clubhouse in 2020. It seems that he has continued to implement them to protect himself against the virus through the 2021 season.
MORE: How Astros’ 2017 cheat scandal shook up MLB
Baker has largely sported black gloves during the Astros’ postseason run so far, though he has occasionally mixed in orange batting gloves to the rotation. We’ll soon see if he breaks out any new colors during the World Series or if he’ll stick to the ones that have gotten him there.