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October 24, 2002

Dusty Baker

Barry Bonds

J. T. Snow


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty Baker, please.

Q. How important was it for you guys to get off to such a big start tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, any time you can throw a pair of tres up there early, two things happen. Three things: Your pitcher relaxes, the offense relaxes and becomes contagious, and then the next thing that happens is you get their pitcher's pitch count up pretty quickly. If you can add any more, then you get an idea you're going to get into their bullpen earlier than they want to. Same way we've gotten into our bullpen earlier than we want to. So, that's what getting off to that big lead does.

Q. After your 16 runs tonight, do you wish you were playing tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. I think we need a day off. My bullpen needs a day off. I don't know, I think the way they have it set up is perfect.

Q. You said before the game this was no time to be melancholy about possibly your last game. Do you have any feelings now, winning the way the team did, and an off day tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. Whatever happens, I mean, this is a heck of a way to end the season here at home. The last game of the year at home, we won big. Things went right for us. We played good defense. We had a lot of offense. This is the way that we'd like to go down to Anaheim.

Q. Your son is threatening to steal the spotlight away from your team. Can you talk about what your perspective was on that play with Snow in the seventh inning when Darren was at the plate?

DUSTY BAKER: My perspective was how did he get out there so quickly? I think he was arguing with the other bat boys who was going to get Kenny Lofton's bat, he's one of his favorites. I saw the play unfold, and I was thinking about what my mom told me about, "He shouldn't be out there, he's gonna get hurt." I said, "Mom, I know what I'm doing." First call I got in the clubhouse, I got back in the clubhouse, was my mom (laughter) to tell me, "I know you listen to me sometimes, just listen to me this time." She told me to thank J.T. I thanked him for saving him and the whole situation.

Q. Dusty, can you talk about the decision to take out Schmidt one out away from a win? What went through your mind?

DUSTY BAKER: That wasn't a consideration. When it gets to this point, it's no longer a consideration there. The consideration is (inaudible) coming all the way back. Schmidt was struggling, he struggled a little bit the inning before, didn't really want to go to my bullpen that soon and they have some dangerous hitters coming up there. In that situation, you got to go for the team win.

Q. How does it feel to be one game away from achieving the goal you wanted to achieve all year long?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it feels better than being down two games to three going into their house. So we knew today, coming in to today's game, if we win the series, which is two out of three, like we always try to do, we'd have a chance to be the champions. So, it feels pretty good. But that last game's always the toughest, so we know Game 6 is going to be extremely tough, especially in their house.

Q. For Dusty and J.T., how much more dangerous of a club are you guys when you have Kent hitting like he was tonight?

J.T. SNOW: Well, we feel we're real dangerous. Jeff will probably tell you he hasn't had the best series. It's just a matter of time. We've had different guys come through in different games. I think that's a sign of a great team. Tonight, Jeff got on track a little bit and swung the bat great. So, that's the one thing about this team, we don't rely on one guy. We know Barry gets a lot of the pub, and deservedly so, for what he's done. But we have a lot of other guys on this team that contribute night in and night out. I think in the postseason, World Series, everybody gets to take a little notice and see what kind of team we have. So, it was good to see Jeff swing the bat the way he did tonight. We knew it was just a matter of time before he got some key hits for us.

Q. Dusty, it looked like Jason was trying to take command of both sides of the plate. Was that part of the game plan, for him to pitch the Angels inside?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know, I can't tell you that. You might be for the Angels. But that's always the key to pitching, is pitching to both sides of the plate. When you played five games and you have a pretty good idea each player's strength and weakness, same with the pitchers, they know us, we know each other a lot better now than we did when we first started. So, the game plan is just to keep the ball down, work in and out, change speeds.

Q. J.T., was there a difference in the clubhouse today, following yesterday's comeback? Did you feel anything different? Was the team a little more up than they were in the beginning of the series? You've made some great plays in the series, but everyone is going to remember that pickup at home plate. Can you talk to us about that?

J.T. SNOW: First off, I think that our clubhouse is always the same. We got a bunch of veteran guys. You could walk in our clubhouse and not know if we won ten in a row or lost ten in a row. That's just the way it is. We're real relaxed. Guys just do what they need to do, get ready for the game, prepare themselves, everybody does it in a different way. Obviously, we felt good about winning last night's game. That was a big game to get back to 2-2. We've got the same clubhouse pretty much all the time. As far as that play goes, luckily, Kenny hit that ball off the wall and I went back to tag and I didn't have to run real hard to score. When I looked down, I saw just a little flash kind of flash behind me and Darren does such a great job of going out, getting the bats, he's so eager all the time. I realized it was him. I have a four-and-a-half-year-old son of my own at home, I know how to get a hold of them when they're running away. I reached down, luckily I grabbed him by the collar of the jacket, he was crossing home plate. I didn't want him to get hurt. He was kind of behind me, I saw the replay. I just reached behind me and luckily grabbed him by the collar and lifted him up. His eyes were huge. I don't think he knew what was going on. But he's a good luck charm right now. When he's in the dugout, we do pretty well. So, we can't have him go down. We need him as much as we need any of our players.

Q. Dusty, how encouraged were you to get the entire middle of the order really going well, especially Jeff Kent?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, that's always encouraging, but it's especially encouraging when you get the top of the order going first. Kenny Lofton and Rich Aurilia hit the ball great. They're on base all the time for Jeff and Barry and J.T. and Reggie and all the guys, David Bell and Benito, everybody did a great job up and down our line-up. But when you get Jeff going and three, four, five, six and the pitcher stays in the stretch, then that's to our advantage. But first and foremost, you've got to have somebody on base for this to happen.

Q. Dusty, for those of us who don't cover the team every day, the symbolism back in June, these two guys have the dugout situation, now in the final game of the season they come together offensively. Do you see symbolism?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. It happens on every team sooner or later. Everybody's in their box for a long period of time, especially in the summertime, tempers get short. Tolerance gets low. These things happen. The only reason why you guys know anything about it is because it was on TV. So it's no big deal. They mended their ways. They exist professionally on the field, both of them come to play and both of them are a pleasure to have on the team.

Q. Santiago is obviously going to have RBI opportunities. Did he help set the tone with those first two at-bats?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he had a tough day yesterday but then he came through in his last at-bat yesterday and he came through today big. Benny's been doing a great job hitting behind Barry, which isn't easy. Most of the second half of the season. So, he's going to have opportunities, and most of the time, Benny has come through.

Q. Dusty, the Angels have had a number of come-from-behind victories this postseason. For them to close it to 6-4, I'm wondering how nerve-wracking it became at that point. What was the key to shutting them down before they caught up?

DUSTY BAKER: The big key, basically, was us adding on. We didn't want to hold on to the lead, we wanted to add on to the lead, which we did. We know the Angels are a big comeback team. We also know they're a big inning team, much like we are. The key is to add on and hopefully your bullpen can stop it before they get too hot and out of hand. So that was a great job that Zerbe did and Felix Rodriguez. Then we turned it over to Tim Worrell.

Q. Along the lines of this good luck charm with your son, is Darren going to Anaheim? J.T., there's a shot of you talking to Darren in the dugout right after that happened. Can you tell us what you said to him?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, Darren's going to Anaheim. A couple of guys said that if he doesn't go, they don't go. So, he's going to Anaheim.

J.T. SNOW: I just was checking to make sure he was all right and just he said he was fine. Just give him a fist and he gave me a fist back. I said, "Way to go," and that was basically it. Just checking to make sure he was okay.

Q. J.T., real quick, I'm fascinated to know if there was ever a situation when you were a little boy when you ran onto a football field?

J.T. SNOW: No, we're not allowed on the football field when you're a kid. They don't let kids down the sidelines.

Q. You're not allowed in baseball either.

J.T. SNOW: Well, there's bat boys in baseball. In football, it's probably a little more dangerous. I was never allowed down on the sidelines.

Q. Barry, how big was it for you guys to get such a big lead early on, 6-0 after two innings?

BARRY BONDS: It was real big. But they fought back and we had to get back in the game a little bit. Sometimes when you get a big lead, you wait for something to happen, and most of the time it's negative against you. So, something we learned today, we're gonna get a lead, keep going, particularly if you're behind, you keep fighting.

Q. A lot's been written and said about how loud Anaheim's Edison Field is. Can you talk about going back there, trying to clinch with a crowd that's clapping those thunder sticks for nine full innings?

BARRY BONDS: No noise bothers me after I got past Atlanta. Nothing can bother me.

Q. Can you talk about the double off of Washburn, what kind of pitch it was, what you saw?

BARRY BONDS: Threw a changeup.

Q. And...?


Q. Were you looking for it? Were you looking for something else?

BARRY BONDS: I look just to hit the baseball.

Q. Do you feel particularly locked in at this time? Is it difficult to keep sort of a batting rhythm when you're getting walked so often, even more than in the regular season?

BARRY BONDS: I don't know if I'm getting walked any more at this time or in the regular season, but I've been going through intentional walks for over ten years now, so, I'm accustomed to it.

Q. Barry, Reggie Jackson would get very hot and then they'd start expanding his strike zone. He'd give in a little bit and try to contribute by swinging at what wasn't a strike. You don't seem to do that. How do you have that self-control?

BARRY BONDS: A lot of hard work, discipline, constant repetition in the batting cage.

Q. You talked about the team concept here and how happy you are to see everybody get a lot of credit. You've always been the guy who kind of shies away from the attention because the other guys don't get enough credit.

BARRY BONDS: Well, I always tell my friends, they say, "You're a big baseball player, you can do this, you can do that." I just tell them, "I'm like that surfer boy, I just want to surf, dude. I don't want to own a store." I just want to go to the ballpark, do my job just like anybody else, go home and be with my family. That's all fine and dandy, but that's not why I chose to play baseball. I chose to play baseball because I want to be the best at it for whatever it is for me. Being a team concept, doing the best I can. I don't like to talk about it really. I'd rather just show it on the field.

Q. They pitched to you four times in five plate appearances. How often has that happened in the last couple years with you?

BARRY BONDS: Probably the only team that's done that is the Rockies. They're pretty much a team that will pitch to anybody. I had a lot of good success off of them this time, but in the previous time, they've been able to quiet me for a little while.

Q. You've talked about it all year, the only thing that makes any difference to you is that ring. You're one game away from it now. Can you feel it? Can you taste it?

BARRY BONDS: I won't feel anything until it's over. It's hard enough for me to come in here and just talk. I want to do my talking on the field. That's where it counts. That's where it matters. To keep analyzing each and every day, to me, is just draining. I just want to go home and rest from today, because every day, every game that we've played each other, we're pretty much the same style team. It's just a seesaw back and forth. It's draining. By the sixth inning, you're digging down deep inside your gut to keep yourself going because they're draining us, as I'm pretty sure we're draining them.

Q. Any difficulty sleeping over the next couple of days or you're okay?

BARRY BONDS: It's been difficult to sleep ever since I've been in this playoff. Just playing at-bats in my head, pitches. Everything. I mean, it's an all day thing. I'd just rather sleep when it's over.

Q. Benito Santiago and Jeff Kent have had some tough times in this World Series. Both broke out in a good way tonight. Do you feel good for them?

BARRY BONDS: Oh, definitely. In this type of situation, a lot of times, every situation is going to be tough. The key to this is making those runs count when there's less than two outs. That's the key. You don't have to get hits all the time, but you do need to put the ball in play at the right opportunities to give your team a run.

End of FastScripts...

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