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October 4, 2003

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty?

Q. I think why don't you go with somebody with three days' rest and what are the affects?

DUSTY BAKER: I've never had the need, but you don't want to risk hurting somebody. I've always had capable starters. I've always had pretty good 3s and 4s. Plus a couple times we went three and out, so I didn't have the opportunity to go with anybody else.

Q. Baseball players are very superstitious. Is that something you don't relish this time of year, the possibility of a game tomorrow you don't want to think about it?

DUSTY BAKER: That's true, you don't want to think about it. You hope you don't want to have it. You don't want to put those thoughts of losing in your mind. You try not to think about it. You try to think positive, and you think about getting it done that day and what's at hand that day. When tomorrow gets here, you don't have any choice but to think about it, but tomorrow is not promised to anyone, number one, anyway, so right now we're thinking about today.

Q. Kerry was talking about Michael Jordan being in the clubhouse. Can you talk about that? Did you invite him? What was that all about?

DUSTY BAKER: I know him. I've met him a few times. I didn't invite him. We have talked about baseball and hitting and different things, and I gave him one of my hitting books. I don't know if he ever read it or not. He's a pretty big talent, but the last time I saw him out here was in the playoffs of '98 when he threw out the first pitch here. They were pulling out all the stops. They were trying everything and it worked. He's really good friends of Jerry Mathews, and they're wives are good friends. Marcus Allen, he called me, and he's in town. We invited him out too, but I guess he's got other stuff to do.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DUSTY BAKER: He came after the game. I saw him talking to Sammy and some of the guys he knew. He came upstairs in our office and stayed awhile with his sons in the coaches office. He can pretty much have free reign and go where he wants to go in anybody's clubhouse.

Q. Are you going back with Karros against Ortiz and what's your lineup?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I'm going with Karros. We try to go with the best lineup on a daily basis. That's what got us here, different match-ups. And our lineup today is Lofton, Grudzielanek. We're not really sure, because his shoulder is sore from that ugly dive yesterday; and Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, Ramirez, Karros, Gonzalez, Bako and Clement.

Q. Your pitchers have done a really good job of shutting down the other team. Have you pitched differently than anyone else has or even the way you have earlier in the year?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't think so. Our guys are just pitching, changing speeds and locations, and hopefully, we can go one more day without waking them up. It's not that they're asleep. Our guys are doing a good job against them. We're just hoping to have one more day of leaving them alone.

Q. Will you talk a little bit about your motivation style. I know you're not comfortable with it because it's a very personal thing between you and your players, but just the little things, giving them notes and having food, things brought in for individual guys. It seems to go along way. It seems like you're their friend first.

DUSTY BAKER: They know I'm the boss. I know I'm the boss, and when the time comes when I have to exert that authority, everyone knows I'm capable and willing to do it. I try to let them play ball and treat them as men and let them enjoy themselves, but we have to work and get the job done. When I bring food in now, that's more of a sustenance of energy; not really being a good guy. Our society now is so much base on fast food. I mean, how many people cook three meals at home? It's just a matter of an investment of energy. Whatever it costs, it doesn't matter, as long as it helps us win the ballgame.

Q. You said you weren't sure about Mark. Will you make a decision right before the game?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably so. We'll see if he loosens up. We'll see how he does during fielding practice and batting practice, and I've got Ramon on call just in case he can't go.

Q. Earlier in the series, I think you mentioned something about 2-out RBIs. That was the case again last night. Why does it seem so critical and almost disproportionate?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, most of theirs was scored with two outs and they beat us the other night too. Most of the ballgames are going to be close. Most of the time, the guys will sacrifice bunts. Unless you hit a three-run homers or whatever it is, most of the time you're not going to have a big inning unless you swing the bat no matter who you bring in there. It's been my experience over the years that at playoff time, the team that gets the most 2-out RBIs usually wins. A lot of their pitching has a lot to do with it too. I mean, even during the regular season, it seems that is the case.

Q. Dusty, one week ago, your son had a premonition that Houston would lose that game, and to quote, "it was going to be a very good day." Did he have any premonitions today, and what are your feelings?

DUSTY BAKER: Basically tell Matt Clement good luck and the Cubs are going to win. That's good enough for me.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Dusty.

End of FastScripts...

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