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October 5, 2003

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty?

Q. This is a big victory. Do you view this as step one?

DUSTY BAKER: Step two. Championship season is step one. And National League Championship is step three, and four is the World Series. I'm happy for everybody, the Cubs organization, and all the players, people of Chicago, and I'm really happy for Billy Williams and Ernie Banks, especially Ron Santo because he couldn't be here. This is like -- I never imagined this would happen in year number one. I'll take it, and I'm quietly subdued and happy and want to go back to the World Series again.

Q. When you took over this job, did you think you could have the team in this situation this fast?

DUSTY BAKER: I really didn't know. I know we had some good arms and good arms in the organization. We had Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou. We've got some quality players. Everybody starts off even, and to say I knew this, no, I didn't. I had no idea. We were just trying to play good ball, fundamental ball and the power of belief and to change a lot of the attitudes of everybody about the Cubs, including ourselves.

Q. Is it possible since you have only been there a short time for you to comprehend what this means to the Chicago fans to win a postseason series?

DUSTY BAKER: Not yet. I probably won't comprehend it until we get home. I really don't have any idea. I'm a new guy in town, and I'm starting to comprehend it when I hear the fans out there and the amount of fans we had in the stands every game that we came, you know, to Atlanta. I've just got to thank God for putting me in the situation to make me choose Chicago, and I'm just forever grateful and thankful to all of players and everybody, and I don't know, I probably won't comprehend it until I get home and see my wife and son.

Q. Would you talk about Wood's performance?

DUSTY BAKER: His performance was excellent. He had two of them in the series. If there is an MVP in the series it should be Wood. The second time is especially tough. He was under control. He was composed. He backed off one time and you could see his maturity as a person and as a pitcher, and he's going to go a long, long ways in his life and future.

Q. Right after Sheffield's line drive, there was a double-play immediately following it. How big was that?

DUSTY BAKER: That was real big, because these Braves, once the gate's open it's hard to close it on them. When they start hitting the ball, they hit it all over the stadium. I thought Kenny caught the ball and that would have been a double-play, but when they broke the ice and made it 4 to 1, I was like, oh, no, please don't let these Braves start pounding on the ball. Then we breathed a little easier. Our next step was to get some more runs.

Q. How big was Mo in the series?

DUSTY BAKER: He's our clutch RBI man. He's no stranger to postseason, his history speaks for itself. He always does well in the postseason. It was big for us to keep Mo healthy and keep him on the field and strong.

Q. The performance of Wood and Prior the last six weeks of the season, do you see that really coming on with the big performances?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it's hard to do any better than they did. You can't win it with two guys though. You can't exclude what Matt Clement did. You certainly can't exclude the efforts of Carlos Zambrano. He won six, seven in a row and Estes had that big game for us, and then in Prior's absence, Cruz had two very good starts in there. You've got to win it with your whole staff. Farnsworth came on strong in that same period of time as well as Remlinger. It was a total team and total staff effort.

Q. Who starts on Tuesday?

DUSTY BAKER: Zambrano.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dusty.

End of FastScripts...

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