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October 1, 2003

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty?

Q. Is there -- watching a pitcher like Carlos who gets excitable on the mound, is that enjoyable for a manager or, oh, no?

DUSTY BAKER: It depends what he's getting excited about. You know what I mean? Most of the time he's talking to himself, and just as long as he's not punishing himself and putting undue pressure on himself. You know, he's a young player and I would rather have a young player get excited at than somebody I had to shock him into excitement. It's a lot easier to cool a guy done over a period of time than to give him that emotion.

Q. Is there a concern about the number of innings that Carlos has worked this year or is there a carryover for next year?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't think there is a carryover for next year. He's got three and a half, four months to get your strength back. Sure, there is a concern. We've got to watch him. Any young player that's never been to that threshold before in so many innings. What do you do? Everybody wants you to win but everybody wants you to be concerned too. You can't have it both ways. As long as he's physically healthy and you're not risking injury now and in the future you have to go now with what you know. You've got to find a way to suck it up and find a way to succeed and make it happen.

Q. Joe Borowski says he's a closer by default. What's your appraisal of his work?

DUSTY BAKER: His work's been great. He's feeling more comfortable each time out there. He took the job. I mean, he was closer by default, but sometimes when you leave Spring Training or start the season even during the middle of the season you're in search of the surprise. I leave every Spring Training looking for a surprise player that you're not really counting on or that matured over the winter. I mean, without Joe Borowski, I don't know where we would be because that closer by committee don't seem to work. So, I'm very glad and grateful that we had Joe Borowski. A couple years ago. I heard Joe Borowski wasn't even going to make the team, but he did.

Q. If you feel Carlos is not channeling his emotions properly, does that put him on a short leash?

DUSTY BAKER: No, channeling his emotions is not what the leash is all about. The leash is about how he's pitching. If he's not pitching good, then yeah, he's on a leash. How short, I don't know. But, you know, he comes in and out sometimes of his emotions. A lot of people are making a big deal, but it just depends on his pitching.

Q. How has Jim Henry been to work with and the job he's done?

DUSTY BAKER: He's been great. He's been honest. You know, he asks our opinions on things. We know he's the boss, but at the same time he doesn't try to micromanage and tell you what to do. He hired us here to do a job. He kept his word on everything that was within his power to do. He's gone to the bat for different guys. He reminds my of Brian Sabeon. They're both proactive, honest. Jim talks a lot more than Brian talks, but, but, you know, he's a fun guy to be around. As to me I have been fortunate to have two young general managers in their first years basically to work with, and they're not afraid to do anything and like I said, anything within their power, they're going to try to do it to win.

Q. Martinez starting at short?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, Gonzo has had a very good first half and struggled the second half, but that has nothing to do with it basically tonight. Gonzo is going to start when we get back home, because it's more about the numbers. Gonzo is hitting 143 off Hampton, and their approaches to the play, I think he has a better chance offensively versus Gonzalez.

Q. After one game here with the Cubs in the postseason, does it feel any different to you than it did last year with the Giants?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it doesn't feel any different. Playoffs are the playoffs. The only difference I see is the fact that is the fact there is so many Cub fans here. There are a lot of people pulling for the Cubs. Geographically it's only an hour and ten minutes away versus almost six hours. That's a big difference.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else?

Q. How much does your team feed off the crowd in a game like last night and how much more will it be when you get back home?

DUSTY BAKER: Every team feeds off the crowd. Even though we play a sport, we're entertainers. We would like people to be for you. It's a lot different now coming here, and everybody doesn't have a tomahawk and everybody is not chanting the war song. I had to stop my son from doing that song. In the past usually when you come through here, it's almost 100 percent Braves fans in here. That does make a difference for them and usually against the opposition. Now when we get home there will probably be 95 percent cub fans and they will be wild in the streets and wild in the stadium. I think that was a major factor in our down the stretch drive, how many people came out and supported us, and were more positive towards us than the fists half. People were there, but they weren't nearly as positive as they were in the second half for us. That makes a big difference. You can tell our home record was -- well, we had the same home record as we had road record and we were barely -- I think we were under 500 at home. It makes a big difference.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dusty.

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