home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 25, 2002

Dusty Baker

Russ Ortiz


MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Russ Ortiz or Dusty Baker.

Q. I'd like to address this question to the both of you. Both staffs were among the best in their league during the regular season. Are either of you surprised at the performance of the pitching so far in this series? Do you believe the high ERAs are a matter of just excellent hitting, maybe fatigue on the pitchers' part, World Series pressure, anything else?

RUSS ORTIZ: I don't know. In my mind, I don't really see that as a big worry or a big deal, really. You look at -- it's just this series pretty much. You look at the higher ERAs for, basically, it's the starting staff. The relievers have been great.

But I don't think it was really like that in the other two series or towards the end of the season. I mean, you look at the big picture, it's just a couple games here and there. So that's why I don't really feel like it's such a big, huge issue.

The innings part is as far as not throwing many innings. But the bullpen has done a great job. I don't think fatigue or anything like that really has anything to do with it. It's just execution. That's what it was for me. It was just one game.

I don't really think it's such a huge thing. But the numbers just make it look worse.

DUSTY BAKER: I agree with Russ. I don't think it's pressure. You know, when you get to Game 5 or Game 6, you're kind of used to being here. Part of it is because you might have two hot teams that are swinging the bat well. Plus I think the concentration level on the part of the hitters is extremely high. If you make a mistake, they're not going to miss it. Part of it, maybe because you guys got spoiled last year by Johnson and Schilling, that could be part of it, as well as the fact you throw out that 11 to 10 game, our 16 to 4 game, there are a couple pretty good games in there. We won both of them 4-3, I think.

Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. Everybody wants to know answers and try to figure it out. Maybe you have to give these guys some credit for hitting. They have some good hitters and we also have some good hitters.

Q. Despite all the walks for Barry, do you think he's managed to still be an offensive force in the World Series? Are you as much of an offensive force when you walk as when you're able to hit or just in a different way?

DUSTY BAKER: In a different way. You're not an offensive force when you make outs. Part of the reason Barry hit .370. Every time you walk, you actually help your batting average. A guy that hits .300, he has a 70% chance of making an out. If you're walking, that increases your batting average. It also puts guys in the stretch, the hitters behind you, it makes it easier on them. Other than the relievers, most starters prefer to be out of the wind-up than in the stretch.

You're definitely helping your team, to me, just by being on base and the fact he's a threat to steal, the fact sometimes they even walk him to push up base runners in front of him into scoring position.

I mean, a walk, how many times have you heard a walk is as good as a hit? What you're referring to, a walk is not as good as a home run. You know what I mean?

Q. I notice you're wearing, looks like a championship ring. I don't recall you wearing it. Is there any significance to you wearing it? You won a ring as a player. Obviously, you probably have never forgotten what that feeling was like. What do you think it would be like to win one as a manager, as well?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, it's going to be great, number one. Number two, I was thinking about it today, how many guys have probably won a championship ring that played on the Dodgers and Giants both. I was giving myself a trivia question there. I couldn't think of anybody other than potentially, we haven't won anything yet, but, potentially, probably at this point, myself and Ron Perranoski maybe. Ron is on our staff this year. If we win, he gets a ring, too, special consultant to Brian.

You start setting goals. This is another goal I thought about today. As far as wearing my championship ring, when you guys come into my office, I'm usually either undressed or already have my uniform on. I rarely wear this ring except when we need, like, a big series on the road or something. I've been wearing it the last five to six weeks of the season, during these playoffs, when we needed some extra spiritual power.

I'm not thinking -- I don't know who watches cartoons. My daughter used to watch She-RA. Put the ring up like this (laughter). She gets the special power. I'm wearing it for some power.

Russ started laughing. Looks like he might watch that.

RUSS ORTIZ: I've seen it before (smiling).

Q. Dusty, I think all of us understand the respect and the number of children in the Giant clubhouse. Given the little adventure last night, have you had any reaction from yourself, your wife, your mother, The Commissioner, about having him out there?

DUSTY BAKER: My mom, she called first. One of those, "I told you" calls. My wife was a little upset last night. Not terribly upset.

It happened so quickly. It was a matter -- I'm sure it won't happen again. I got a call from Sandy Alderson today. He's not going to prohibit it. But he's told me to watch out, who knows what can happen in the future, next year, whatever. We usually have a lot of people that are keeping an eye on guys. Last night was a strange situation where he was having a brief discussion, argument with another kid, because he really likes Kenny Lofton. Certain kids like to pick up certain guy's bats or certain kids like to pick up their father's bats. Darren really likes Lofton. Being competitive, he and this kid were arguing. I don't know which one it was. He figured he was going to get the jump on the kid to go get the bat.

Usually, he stands behind me. I tell him to go before he goes out. That time, he was going to get a jump on everybody. We were all watching the ball. We thought it was potentially a home run. We were watching the ball.

It's not going to happen again. I'm hoping that him and other kids aren't prohibited from being in the dugout. I'm not proud of it. I don't like seeing my son all over TV in that light. Some people think it's cute, but I don't. I don't like watching him in the paper. He told me he's tired of being in the paper himself.

In another light, I'm just hoping that this -- they don't come up with some Darren Baker rule that prohibits kids from being in the dugout, being able to do these things.

Q. You talked about your game plan going into Game 2, Russ. What do you think was the flaw in the game plan? If anything, will you change anything going in tomorrow?

RUSS ORTIZ: The biggest thing was just executing pitches. I got behind. Whatever pitch I threw, I just didn't execute it where I wanted to. This is a very good hitting team. They're going to jump all over pitches that are down the middle, that are up. To me, that was the biggest thing.

I believe I can go in with the same mental approach and the same physical approach that I had the last time. There might be a couple things that I saw, make adjustments on. For the most part, it was just executing pitches. That's pretty much what it is this time, just making sure I execute pitches.

That's a big change, but in my mind, it's very capable of happening. That's my plan, is to execute.

Q. Has it occurred to you that tomorrow night you'll be starting the most important game in San Francisco Giant's history? I wonder if I could have your thoughts on that, and your thoughts on this being such an important game, too, Dusty.

RUSS ORTIZ: The way I am, I mean, I try to get ready for the game. I don't think I've ever really measured significance maybe until after the fact because knowing myself, thinking about it too much, I think it would allow me to kind of deter my thought process as far as getting ready for the game and doing what I need to do to be prepared to do my job.

I kind of just leave that to after the fact, because it can be a distraction to me. Not to say that's a distraction for everybody. I think the only thing it does for me is makes sure that I am ready. I believe that I'm ready to help this team win a ballgame tomorrow. You know, after the fact, maybe we'll talk about that again.

DUSTY BAKER: In my mind, I know it's a very important game, but I don't think about history because I was always taught that history is something that is basically in the past. You don't worry about making history in the present or the future.

To me, we're just going to go out there and play the same game, and whatever happens after the game, then it will become history. But, in the meantime, you have to play the game just like you play the game every day. We realize it's going to be a tough game because these guys aren't going to go down easy. They're going to try to get back to have a Game 7. But, in our minds, we just have to go out and play the same game we've been playing.

Q. Dusty, do you feel like as the series has gone on, there have been a lot of adjustments in the way you're approaching the Angels as opposed to the way when it started? Are things different now?

DUSTY BAKER: You hope so. Things always change. That's the key to baseball and sticking around, is making adjustments. Whether you make them monthly, weekly, each game, each at-bat, each pitch, I mean, the name of the game is he who adjusts the first -- I mean, the quickest, usually those are the guys that win. You go on the scouting reports, you know who is hot, who is cold, but that can change big time. One guy is hitting this pitch this day and not hitting the next day.

They've made some adjustments, too. We've made some adjustments to them. We will continue to make adjustments, if necessary.

Q. Dusty, just to clarify, regarding Darren, will he definitely be in the dugout bat-boying this weekend? In terms of your conversation with Sandy, did you get the impression that his attitude was okay for this weekend but it's something the league will address in the off-season?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, kind of. I mean, every team has their own rules as far as bat boy. Every organization has their own rules. There are some organizations that won't let your kid bat boy till he's 18 years old. Who is still playing that has a kid 18? Unless he started very, very young.

They'll probably address it sometime at the winter meeting. There will be probably be some pros and some cons and some rules and regulations.

He's going to be allowed to be bat boy this weekend. He said he realized the importance it is to our team, to everything else, my family, my son. He has a son, too. I'm sure his son was a bat boy at some point in time, too. He'll be allowed. I just have to monitor him a little closer. My wife doesn't want him to go out there at all. I said I can't do that after he's been out there already. You know what I mean?

Q. Dusty, Barry's place in baseball history is already secure. "Validation" is not the right word, but do you think he needs a World Series win to add that extra sheen or gloss to his career?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't think he needs it. I mean, there are quite a few great ball players that don't have that extra sheen, but that doesn't take away from them being great. You look at some of the guys in the NBA right now, is Karl Malone any less great because he doesn't have a championship? In my mind, the answer is no.

Does he want it? Do we want it? The answer is yes. There's a difference between want and need. You know, we all want it. But, again, does he need it? I think most of us in life get confused about what we need really until you don't have it.

Q. Do you think there should be a free-agency period for managers, similar to the one for players? Seems like the more success you had this post-season, the more your options are being limited because these jobs are getting filled up and there's nothing you can do about it.

DUSTY BAKER: No, I mean, I don't know. Usually, I can't remember this happening like this before actually. I don't think anybody really likes the terminology of a free-agent manager, actually. I'm not worried about jobs being taken or filled up because maybe those weren't the jobs for me in the first place. Who knows, maybe I'm supposed to stay where I am. Maybe I'm supposed to go to what's left.

Like I said, I'm going to wait till this is over with, hopefully, after we win, take some time off, a few days, do like I always do, just go to the mountain top someplace and think about it, ask for a sign. I'll come down and do whatever I was told to do.

Q. Beyond the initial surprise, as it happened, how worried were you that Darren might get hurt on that play? Then for Russ, what have you talked about with Dave in preparation for your game start tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: I wasn't too worried about him getting hurt. You don't like it, no. I tell you, I don't know if you have a kid or not, but kids are made of more rubber than we are. Older kid, grown up, those are the guys that get hurt. Little kids can roll downhill, never get hurt, dust themselves off, roll back down the hill again. No, I wasn't too worried about him getting hurt.

RUSS ORTIZ: There wasn't really a ton of stuff that Rags told me. It was just a couple little things, like I mentioned before: executing pitches, getting ahead in the count, basically just to make sure I watch the next few games to see if I can pick up other stuff, see how other guys attack their hitters. If I pick up something, then that's always something I can use.

I don't see it as like I had a bad start, now I have to change everything, I've got to become a completely different pitcher, have to have a different outlook. I mean, it was a bad game. It was frustrating at this point in time. I mean, I feel like I've been able to bounce back pretty good and learn from my mistakes.

Q. Were you able to pick up anything the last three games by watching the Angels closely? You mentioned that you didn't want to think too much about how big this game was. Do you think you let yourself maybe get too pumped up the last time, think about it too much, Game 2?

RUSS ORTIZ: There are things that I picked up over the last few days. I'm not going to share them because I don't want to give any secrets away (smiling).

No, not at all. I don't think I pumped myself up too much or anything like that. I felt like I was more focused, but I just didn't execute pitches. To me, that's just excuses. If I'm going to say, "I got myself too pumped up," to me, that's an excuse. I don't make excuses. I had a bad game, plain and simple. I've left it at that.

Q. Do you know who your DH is going to be tomorrow in the lineup? Secondly, throughout the post-season have you been at peace with the issue of your future? Was there ever a point during the season when maybe you weren't at peace about your future?

DUSTY BAKER: My DH tomorrow will be Shawon Dunston, same DH I used against Appier last time. Yeah, I've never not been at peace this year about my future. I mean, I'm not really too concerned about my future because I've always been taken care of some kind of way because I have faith in God, faith in the fact that I will be taken care of. It's just a matter of how much.

How much, most of us have too much in the first place. No matter what, hey, I'm taken care of right now. I'm not really worried about my future at all. I've always, some kind of way, no matter how dark or bleak things looked, I've always come out shining and on top. In this situation, I don't see any darkness or bleakness at all.

Q. Dusty, when you call on the powers of your jewelry, is there one particular, identifiable image that you see, one that you call on, one particular word, name or person?

DUSTY BAKER: No. I just wear this particular jewelry in the name and spirit of all the guys that I played with, the good teams that I played on. I mean, we all have something, right? I don't know what it is. Some guys have, like, some lucky underwear or something.

Q. You don't have that?

DUSTY BAKER: Sometimes (smiling).

Being a baseball player, especially athletes, we all have something, wear the same socks that you wore or the same something. I just wear for the guys; I know they're pulling for me, especially some of the guys that didn't make it, or like some of the guys that helped me along the way when I was on the Dodgers, that are deceased.

Q. Anyone in particular?

DUSTY BAKER: There's quite a few. Roy Campanella, Joe Black, Jim Gilliam. Those guys are like special counsel to me. There are other guys that helped me along the way, Tommie Aaron, Bill Lucas, my real good friend down here, Lyman Bostock. I saw a sign, "Lyman Bostock could have been one of the players on this team."

Q. Peter Magowan has said a couple times he feels the need to clear the air with you. If there's no darkness or bleakness, is there a need to clear the air in your mind?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. I didn't know the air was polluted, number one. Number two, if it was going to be cleared, we are waiting kind of late to clear it, ain't we?

No, not really. I'm just living. I'll tell you one time here: I got so much insight and so much spiritual enlightenment and faith now, especially after having cancer last year, I see my son, I see my wife, I see a lot of things for me to live for, why am I going to worry about little stuff like this, really? If I hadn't gone to the doctor when I went to the doctor, I could have been dead right now. Really, I'm worrying about the wrong thing if you want me to worry about what you asked me to worry about.

Q. Obviously, your playoff history is pretty futile. There are a lot of great names who haven't won World Series. Do you think, in the back of your mind, do you think about that? Does it weigh on you at all?

DUSTY BAKER: No, doesn't weigh on me because I wasn't back there with those guys. In my mind, our and my playoff history is not futile. You can bring up all the past futilities if you want to, but that has nothing to do with today.

The thing that weighs on my mind, sure, we want to play and win because a lot of those guys are still here. When you see Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Davenport, Mike McCormick, a lot of guys come around a lot. Sure, we're in this Giant family. We want to win not only for us, but we want to win for them. There's sometimes I even drive by Candlestick Park and just look outside the park. I'm like, "Man, sure looks raggedy now." I think about all the guys that played there. There was never a championship there.

Quite frankly, you don't know how badly I wanted to win and be our last year in Candlestick and be the first championship team to play in Candlestick Park the last year. That would have meant more to me than even now because this future of our stadium here can go on for years and years. But at that time, that meant more to me, trying to win there, than actually it does to win here.

Q. A word that's used a lot this time of year is "momentum," how quickly it can change from one team to year. Obviously, the Angels winning tomorrow would swing the momentum back into their favor. Is tomorrow a game you have to win if you want to do this?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it's the game we want to win. Game 7 is the game you have to win. We'd rather not go to Game 7. If you have to go to Game 7 to win, you've got to do what you've got to do. I don't believe you have to, really, until it's like D-day and it's not quite D-day yet.

Q. The big 16-4 victory last night, do you think that's demoralizing for the Angels? Do you think they'll be able to bounce back?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it's not demoralizing. Didn't demoralize us when they beat us 10-4. These guys are a very resilient team. I know that that staff, they'll forget about yesterday. It's a loss whether it's 16-3 or 16-four.

Q. You mentioned the cancer. How big a scare was that for you? How did that help you put things in a proper perspective?

DUSTY BAKER: At first, I wasn't as afraid as I was kind of in denial. You're like, "No, not me." Never been sick a day in my life. After you go through denial, you think about what the solution is once you know what the problem is. The solution is, I have to attack it the way I attacked everything else, before it attacks me. I'm more of a puncher than a counter-puncher. I'm like, "Let's go get it taken care of right now."

My wife was very positive because she lost her mom the year before to cancer. She really knew what the feeling was like. She said, "Hey, let's go get it taken care of." I just did the best thing that I thought I could do at the time, have an operation, versus radiation. I didn't want to get burned up if I didn't have to. "Let's get this operation, get it over with. I have eight weeks before spring training, I could possibly be back in shape before then -- not before then, but at least during then."

That was the tough part, was the post-op stuff, not the operation itself. I'm doing great now. I've had three 3-month checkups. They all come back undetectable and cancer free.

Q. Russ, Dusty talked about his ring, lucky underwear. Any superstitions you have, given the significance of tomorrow night's game?

RUSS ORTIZ: I don't have any superstitions. I would say the majority of baseball players never step on a line. That's just something I've always done. I don't know if I really think about it when I go across the line. I've never really stepped on it.

For me, it's just feeling comfortable, trying to do the same things every time out. You get a certain comfort level. If time changes or if it rains, we get delayed, all that stuff, doesn't mess up my routine, all that. I mean, my socks, I'll grab a new pair. I try to put on the same stuff. If it just happens to not be there, it's not there. I don't rely on that to get me by.

Just feeling ready. I don't know if you want to call that a superstition, to make sure mentally I feel ready. That's the one thing I really rely on.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297