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October 7, 2003

Dusty Baker


Q. Dusty, can you talk about if there were any changes in the 25 man roster and why or why not?

DUSTY BAKER: No, there's no changes. We're going with the same roster. The only possible question might have been Shawn Estes, and we're not really sure if he's a hundred percent or not, and we couldn't afford to take a chance in the seven-game series, if his arm didn't respond or whatever, and we'd be left with 10 pitchers versus 11. And they're right-handed dominant, so we felt the need for another right-handed pitcher and we kept Cruz.

Q. Talk a little bit about the Marlins line-up. Is this in some ways better suited to go up against power pitching staff like you have, than the Braves line-up was?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't know, they've got Jason Schmidt, and there's nobody more powerful than him. Power is power. We're not really thinking about it, actually. Our guys are just going to pitch. You know that they have tremendous speed, and play great defense, they've got good pitching, and I think it's going to be an outstanding series.

Q. Your pitchers obviously get all the headlines, but can you talk about what role your veteran catchers have played, helping them get developed and ready for this point?

DUSTY BAKER: My catcher is my field general, he's an extension of Larry Rothschild and our arms. They're the ones that's directing the pitcher through the ballgame. You can't really win without a good catcher. And the catcher calls the pitcher, it's up to the pitcher to shake them off. But our young pitchers trust our catchers quite a bit to guide and direct them through the ballgame. And I know the pitchers get all the credit, but at the same time a lot of the unsung credit goes to our catchers, especially the fact that not only do they call a good game, they can throw out base runners, both of them, which is rare on the same staff. And they both block the ball very well, because our guys throw quite a few balls in the dirt. When you have a power staff, they're going to throw some balls wild. For the amount of balls that we have that are thrown accurately, we have very few passed balls due to the pitchers.

Q. You've only been here the one year. When you got to the postseason, can you talk about how you handled that with you guys?

DUSTY BAKER: About getting to the postseason or after you get here?

Q. With the Cubs heartbreak in the postseason in the past?

DUSTY BAKER: I just try to tell our guys, don't listen to it. Don't listen to the dates. Don't listen to anything negative, because we didn't have anything to do with that. And it's a new time, new era, this is number one, as far as I'm concerned. And we have a lot of guys that come from other places that really don't know any of these dates. We have quite a few guys, Damian Miller, we have quite a few guys that come from other places, and so you can't take yesterday or history to today, because today is one thing we can be concerned and control.

Q. Dusty, when you consider the injury Sammy had earlier in the year and the incident with the bat, can you assess his season?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's pretty awesome, the guy missed 24 games, and still hit 40 home runs. That's a lot of games missed and still drives in a hundred runs. I think Sammy had a very good season. He had very difficult parts of the season, very difficult, emotionally and mentally and physically, too. But Sammy is a strong man, and I think he came through the season with flying colors considering everything that's happened.

Q. You have home field to start the series. Can you talk about the fans going into this series?

DUSTY BAKER: I think it's going to help us a lot, the fact that we're starting at home. That's huge, I think. And tonight is a big game, even though it's not as pivotal as it is in a five-game series, but you want to get off on a good foot, get off that first victory, especially at home. Because you know when you go down there, there's going to be 160,000 people down there cheering for them. So I think this is going to be a phenomenal series wherever it's played. One thing is for sure, the Cub fans here are ready. They're very ready.

Q. Dusty, how is Farnsworth's health?

DUSTY BAKER: He's good.

Q. During the Cubfest in January, you said my name is Dusty, it's not messiah?

DUSTY BAKER: My name is still Dusty. I say too much to be messiah.

Q. How much stock do you put in scouting reports?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I put a lot of stock. I spend a lot of time studying. A lot of people don't think so, but I really do. Like I have reports from when we played them early in the year, I keep the reports from every series that we played them. And I put a lot of stock in it. You can learn a lot from it, whatever you want to get out of it. There's no surprises. They watched us, I'm sure, we watched them. We were in different time zones a lot of times. But I did some scouting on my own, but in the art of war, you depend on the use of spies, which are what your advance scouts are, they're spies. I'm sure they have them out there, too.

Q. Dusty, you sound sensitive about that messiah notion, versus manager, you pointed out that you pay more attention than people think to scouting reports. Are you still sensitive that you're not given enough credit to being a game manager as opposed to a motivational guy?

DUSTY BAKER: No, really I don't care. I'm serious. I'm to the point where I really don't care about what people say about me anymore. After I left San Francisco, it doesn't matter to me anymore. I brought it up because I was asked a question about it. I'm always asked that question about messiah or do I pay attention to pitch counts or do I pay attention to the numbers. I'm no different than any other manager.

Q. Having seen that from afar and now up close, can you offer some context on how good Wood and Prior are[]?

DUSTY BAKER: They're very good. And what's scary is they're getting better. They're young. They're young and are getting better and better. And I think this playoff, and potentially the World Series, is going to help them big time in their maturity. A lot of guys never get to this point until they're in their 30s, some guys never get to this point at all. Imagine how good they're going to be, and how they can take this with them. I have a statement to make, though, I was thinking about it this morning, because the first guy that tried to hire me was Dave Dombrowski, and he sent me all these magazines from up in Jamestown, New York, and wherever their team was trying to get me into their organization, and I think what's going on with the Marlins really is the job that Dave Dombrowski did with putting most of the team together. He really gets the credit for it. And I just want to say hello to him, I don't know where he is. But other than a couple of guys here, this is his team that he was forced to dismantle the last team, and make trades like Kevin Brown, and Derrek Lee, so I just want to commend him and the Marlins for rebuilding things.

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