A friendship between Baker and Leyland goes way back, and Baker holds Leyland in high esteem.
"He's a guy I'm real close to," Baker said Friday. "When I was a coach and he was a manager, he was telling me all the time that I would be managing some day. We have a lot in common. We both managed Barry Bonds for an extended period of time. I used to ask him different things about Barry and we would talk.
"I was with him the night he retired in Colorado. He was singing at some piano bar and he wanted me to go with him and sing. I said 'I'd go with him and listen.' He called me up there to sing. He's a guy I like and admire a lot. I haven't managed against him in a while, because we haven't played the Tigers in a while. He and I and Bruce Bochy are slowly but surely becoming the elder statesmen in the game."