Atlanta Falcons: Conversation with Sam Baker

FLOWERY BRANCHEach week during the season The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will conduct a question-and-answer session with a Falcons player about his off-field interests and activities. The intention is to give fans some insight into the players and a little sense of what makes them tick. This week we spoke with offensive tackle Sam Baker.

Baker, 27, is in his fifth NFL season and likely has a few more left in his future. Once football is done, Baker says he wants to write about high school sports.

Baker talked about where his interest in writing comes from and why he doesn’t want to write about professional sports.

Q: How did your interest in writing start?

A: It was actually that my dad (David Baker) was an English (literature) major in college, so he’s always been one of those guys if he asks you how your day was and you say, ‘Oh, it was a tough day,’ he would say, ‘Well, you know, (Rudyard) Kipling said … ‘” or “Abraham Lincoln said this …’ He’d always have a quote, and that was his passion. I’ve always been into literature. As an athlete, that’s where the transition is to writing about sports and writing about a level you used to be that.

Q: So that would be something you’d be interested in doing after football?

A: Oh, 100 percent. Maybe not at the level of you guys because you have to be so critical. It’s like your job to say the good and the bad and just state the fact. Whereas in high school, you can just write the good things about it.

Q: You are into literature, so do you ever write any fiction?

A: No, not really. My dad a long time ago gave me a big book called “The Book of Virtues” (by William J. Bennett), and it’s got a lot of different poems and stories in it. It was a thing that really grew my interest. There have been days when stuff is going on and you reach back to Kipling’s poems and different things like that just because he instilled that in me pretty early.

Q: Any particular writers you like?

A: (Henry David) Thoreau, Kipling obviously, just because my dad was into him. Just certain poems and certain things. He has on his wall the Teddy Roosevelt quote: “It’s not the critic who counts …” He always quotes that. It was something that I always admired about him. He was athlete, too. He had his passion on the court, but he also had his passion off the court.

Q: What does your dad do? Is he an English professor?

A: No, actually he’s done just about everything. He’s a lawyer; he went to Pepperdine (University). He was the mayor for a while of Irvine in Southern California. Then he went from that, he bought an Arena League team, and then he was the commissioner of the Arena League. And now he is in development, building a medical building. Kipling has a poem (“If”) where he talks about you can take your life’s earnings and risk it all on one game of pitch-and-toss and lose and never breathe a word of your loss. He’s done that before, where he’s gambled his whole life.

43 comments Add your comment

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

October 27th, 2012
9:33 am

D-Led – Good Article…..HOWEVER…..I would not have been able to resist asking him a few football related questions, e.g., How effective does he believe the O-Line has been so far this year?; Does he believe that he’s played up to a first round pick level since he has been an Atlanta Falcon?, etc……at least two. :-)

RickinMacon

October 27th, 2012
9:49 am

Sick, you’re right…he should have been asked some hard-hitting questions about the offensive line…like, why there’s been no obvious improvement and why they still can’t pass block or clear lanes for Turner to run. Fact is, the “O” line is pathetic.

waynester

October 27th, 2012
9:52 am

Sam’s dad is even bigger than his son–he’s a whopper of a man–and always comes across as very intelligent….Sam needs to play above himself this week–Philly has a pass rush that’s got to be contained…..

BC

October 27th, 2012
10:03 am

Baker is a bum! A wasted draft pick, that I’m sure the Falcons wish they had back.

Sav FAN

October 27th, 2012
10:29 am

Give the big man a break-he is only 5 years in and still developing-wait to about year 8-he will be much improved then-

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
11:00 am

Sam, Trent Cole sends his condolences for the sacks he will rack up again this year.

Just Sayin…..

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
11:02 am

@Sav FAN

John Long is in his 5th season and has at least 4 pro bowls.

Just Sayin…..

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
11:04 am

@BC

Pretty much the whole 2008 draft was a bust. I mean look at the Ravens 2008 draft and playoff success.

Just Sayin…..

6-0

October 27th, 2012
11:07 am

No football talk!!! Should have asked him one of the many problems that’s going on with the o-line

Duante's Longest Dred

October 27th, 2012
11:27 am

Should have asked him does he prefer the Kindle or da’ I-Pad………….

Duante's Longest Dred

October 27th, 2012
11:28 am

@Just Sayin’…….Jake Long.

Brian Hunt

October 27th, 2012
12:39 pm

Very good insight on Baker. He seems like a good guy.

Matty Bicep

October 27th, 2012
12:45 pm

Just Sayin, The Ravens playoff success is due to the weaker competition in the AFC. Tim Tebow won a game….And lets for forget the team that knocked the Falcons out of the playoff the past 2 years also knocked every other team out of the playoffs…..And we also saw the leadership of Joe Flacco now that Ray Lewis is gone….History will show what frauds the Ravens are.

Nomoredro

October 27th, 2012
1:01 pm

we need a new arc journalist to cover the falcons.

Michael M .

October 27th, 2012
1:02 pm

Toughest Game of the Season Sunday for the Falcons at Eagles…………if they play focused and have a little luck…………………….they will win and be 7 – 0……..maybe Samuel will have a pick to set Atlanta up for the win……………..Atlanta – 24 Eagles – 20……………………………………..

Mr. Hankey's Christmas special

October 27th, 2012
1:18 pm

I thought he played for the Falcons, not the Harvard Literature Team. I have a profound appreciation for English and literature, am a consumate reader, love the classicals, but I haven’t stunk up the NFL for the past 4 years. Seriously, this article MAY BE the biggest waste of space I have EVER read in the AJC and that includes Cynthia Tucker and McKennie. Jeeze Loueeze. At least one Falcons question, please. This interview was WORSE than Omba’s interview on NBC Thursday night. You should have asked him his favorite color and what kind of tree he wanted to be.

CaliDirtyBird

October 27th, 2012
1:18 pm

I agree with Matty Bicep, if the Mattural, Matty Ice, had the Ravens defense the last four years he wouldn’t have gone deep in the playoffs, he’d have won several Superbowls.

Just saying @ Just Saying

Matty Bicep

October 27th, 2012
1:30 pm

Flacco took over a team led by Ray Lewis, a team that won Trent Dilfer a ring. But he could not even do what Trent Dilfer did. But not that RL is gone, we will see what type leadership ability Flacco really has. Playoff wins don’t mean anything when you are playing the likes of Cincinnati and Houston.

lowdownjj

October 27th, 2012
1:33 pm

@just saying…Baker is FINALLY playing better but the whole 2008 draft class was a bust? Matt Ryan, Curtis Lofton,Harry Douglas,Thomas Decoud, Kroy the Beerman, Sam Baker…5 starters for an undefeated team (woulda been 6 if Lofton had not gone to the dark side). Franchise QB who is a MVP candidate, Decoud is tied for lead in INTs. Are you an idiot or just don’t watch any football?? I am just saying…

Joe Dirte

October 27th, 2012
1:44 pm

This was a bit of a fluff piece DOL. But it is a slow week coming off the bye. Wish you would get a Corey Peters interview. Or a Mike Nolan interview.
Thanks

Bill

October 27th, 2012
2:00 pm

Is this is sports column or human interest story? This is what happens when a business is losing money and can only afford cheap help.

Post-it

October 27th, 2012
2:03 pm

Just saying is becoming as bad as JSS and Joe Tess. He’s just here to annoy.

Matty Bicep

October 27th, 2012
2:11 pm

Anyone who brings up the Ravens is just trying the antagonize. The Ravens were looking for a game manager QB, the Falcons were a team on the bottom and needed leadership. Plus, the Ravens play in the AFC where the tired over the hill Pats and Steelers are still the best they got, but are exposed every Superbowl by the same team we lose to.. Anyone can see that.

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
2:22 pm

@CaliDirtyBird

That same Ravens defense was 6-10 before Flacco was drafted. Maybe Mike Smith is not the man for the job since John Harbaugh has such a stellar defense and he and Smith were hired the same year.

Just Sayin…..

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
2:25 pm

For those crying about the Ravens having such a stellar defense and Matt Ryan does not, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers won a superbowl with a lousy defense.

Just Sayin…..

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
2:28 pm

@Matty Biceps

How long are you going to use the defense as an excuse for Falcons failures? I’m sure the defensive players on the team are tired of being the skategoats. It wasn’t the defense that got shutout by the Giants last year.

Just Sayin…..

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
2:31 pm

Continually making excuses for your qb’s failures is not the job of a fan, it is the job of a therapist.

Just Sayin…..

rainman

October 27th, 2012
2:48 pm

Lets see a different Sam Baker against Trent Cole this time!

Capt. Kangaroo

October 27th, 2012
2:49 pm

Just Sayin…..You are a moron.
Just Saying…..

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Matty Bicep

October 27th, 2012
4:51 pm

Just Sayin, not talking about the Falcons or their D,I am talking about Flacco not having the lead, and although the Ravens were 6-10, it still had a strong D, and just needed a QB to not lose, it was not like Ice who had to come into a hostile situation who was the laughing stock of the league.

But finally, winning the the AFC and NFC are comparing apples and oranges. The real test it head to head….Matty Ice 1-, Joe Flatulence 0…Just sayin. .

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

Just Sayin.....

October 27th, 2012
5:05 pm

@Matty Bicep

Maybe in Atlanta where they have never won a superbowl or a playoff game since 2004, winning a meaningless regular season head to head matchup which did not prevent the Ravens from winning another playoff game. In Baltimore they have bigger fish to fry. Flacco has 5 playoff wins & 2 Championship games, and that is still not enough in Baltimore, but in Atlanta just looking good in the regular season vs mediocre teams is an accomplishment, which is one of the reasons this city will always be the joke of the NFL.

Instead of using excuses for failure you should point the blame where it belongs. The Ravens didn’t receive a stellar defense from a Christmas present – they put real coaches and a gm that knows how to evaluate talent.

So if you don’t like the defense you have, then do something about it and stop being a hater of other cities that dont make excuses.

Sounds like you really are angry with Dimitroff for the choices that have 5 years later not improved.

You can use the great defense all you like, but the story remains the same. 0-3 in the playoffs.

Just Sayin…..

jaw on ground

October 27th, 2012
5:30 pm

Apparently ESPN doesn’t think highly of the Falcons.
Read the caption in the video.
Put Falcons in their place?!?!?!

http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/65729/nfl32-can-eagles-clip-falcons

Matty Bicep

October 27th, 2012
6:08 pm

Just, I don’t have make any excuses about our playoff failure, but to compare the Ravens playoff “success” is not not comparing apples and oranges, We lost our last two playoff games to the BEST IN in the NFL. The same team that beat us is the teams that knocked out team that beat the Ravens. At least we can say we were beat by the best.

But the only game where you can compare is head on head. We won, no ands, ifs or buts. sounds like you are making excuses.

Esquire

October 27th, 2012
7:00 pm

Didn’t you already run this piece…………………?

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

October 27th, 2012
7:13 pm

Sam baker has actually been pretty good this year, it clabo whos failing to hold up.

kd

October 27th, 2012
8:11 pm

David Westwood

October 28th, 2012
2:01 am

Wow… What an insightful Q&A with Baker. Thanks D Led (and Sam!) Admiration for his father, interest in enriching culture. Thank You Sam for not continuing mind numbing blabber.

Esquire

October 28th, 2012
8:16 am

Protected trolls………….? Why would that be DLed?

Esquire

October 28th, 2012
8:23 am

Michael M .
October 27th, 2012
1:02 pm

Toughest Game of the Season Sunday for the Falcons at Eagles…………if they play focused and have a little luck…………………….they will win and be 7 – 0……..maybe Samuel will have a pick to set Atlanta up for the win……………..Atlanta – 24 Eagles – 20………………………………
************************************************

No doubt it’s a tough test. It’s a tough road game where the visiting team isn’t going to dominate. Luck in my book is Labor Under Correct Knowledge. Play like champions and you’ll come home with your head held high.

Nativebird

October 28th, 2012
10:18 am

Top 5 Falcon Draft B U S T’s of all time:
1. Brett Farve, QB
2. Jamal Anderson DE
3. Aundray Bruce, DE
4. SAM BAKER, OT
5. Jimmy Williams, CB
5.

Th

October 28th, 2012
11:55 am

Ryan was drafted to save the Falcons. Flacco was drafted to carry a clipboard. He only played because the Ravens lost their top two QB’s in preseason. I will take the play-off wins any day and if his receiver didn’t get stripped of a pass right in his hands, Flacco would have been in the Super Bowl last year.