It all came to a head in one conversation a conversation about a coach and sources say Dusty Baker wasn't about to let a coach take the blame for what went down with the Reds this year.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty in a year-end hash-out session about the team's dissatisfying season told Baker he was intending to fire hitting coach Brook Jacoby according to a person familiar with the situation. And that was all Baker had to hear.

Baker wasn't the one who brought in Jacoby but he also knew it wasn't Jacoby's fault. So Baker took the bold step that led to Jocketty ousting him as Reds manager.

"If you want to fire someone fire me'' Baker told Jocketty.

Baker may have been worn out by all the recent negativity regarding the Reds' unsatisfying season anyway. Rare has someone been criticized so much for guiding an imperfect team to a 90-win season but Baker became a target. He was a target of some fans of many sabremetricians. And ultimately he was a target of Jocketty.

The conversation ended right there on Wednesday with Baker's invitation to dismiss him. The two are not close and people close to the situation say their relationship was "distant" or even "strained." But Baker couldn't have been sure Jocketty would take him up on his offer.

But he did. The next day Thursday Baker was called in. And Jocketty fired him. So there went Baker's Reds career blown up trying to protect a coach under attack.

There's a wonder whether Baker sensed something was up and was testing Jocketty. But Baker who didn't dispute the conversation says no that wasn't it.

"I wasn't testing anyone'' Baker said. "I was just doing what I thought was right."

"Sometimes it gets to the point where you're always blame the teacher (meaning Jacoby). Sometimes it's the pupils'' Baker said.