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October 22, 2002

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty Baker.

Q. Could you just give us your line-up.

DUSTY BAKER: Yes, our line-up is Lofton, Aurilia, Kent, Bonds, Santiago, Snow, Reggie Sanders, David Bell and Livan.

Q. How do you expect the conditions to affect the game today?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, not that much. I mean, these are sort of standard conditions for us. It's a little colder and damper than usual. It could affect the grass, I think, especially if it's wet. Balls will probably be a little faster in the infield, skip a little more in the outfield. I haven't seen a difference in how the ball carries from other days. So I anticipate -- I don't anticipate it will affect it that much. The one thing that's affected with the overcast, I think, is there won't be any glare off the centerfield backdrop out there, so the visibility should be much better than normal at this time of day.

Q. How long are you going to stick with Livan if he has trouble?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't anticipate him having trouble, number one. How long I stick with him depends on the scoreboard, depends on the score of the game, depends on the inning. So the game and his performance and his pitch count, which isn't as important to Livan as other players, other pitchers, but it will be like on a performance account.

Q. Kent was productive when you moved him in the No. 3 spot the last two months or so during the season. He seems to have dropped off in the postseason. Do you see a difference in his approach?

DUSTY BAKER: They're pitching him tougher. Looks like they have an idea on how to exploit his weaknesses, which everybody else -- everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. He's not swinging as well as he's capable of swinging right now. That goes from day-to-day. Any day now, Jeff could just explode; who knows what he can do. He's a former MVP. He's very productive RBI-wise, hits .300 every year. I'm not that worried about Jeff, because Jeff is going to hit.

Q. With the suddenness of the series, depending on winning or losing on a particular night, could you change your rotation? Have you thought about possibilities of changing, depending on how this series goes?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't think about changing until that actually happens. If it happens, depends on where we are, whatever. It could possibly change it. But right now, we're going to stay with what we have and where we are.

Q. What do you expect from Kirk Rueter tomorrow? It looks like he has settled down from pitching in the playoffs?

DUSTY BAKER: We expect Kirk to be the same Steady-Eddie self. He's the Steady-Eddie guy we have on our staff. His personality is very consistent. He's, perhaps if not the, one of the most competitive people we have on the team. He fields his position wonderfully, he's a good bunter, a good base runner. He's highly competitive. So we expect Kirk to be the same Kirk that we always know.

Q. Jason Christiansen has been wearing a tribute to Darryl Kile on his hat. Is he going to continue to do that?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's going to continue to do that, but they have a mandate from the league that you're not supposed to have anything on your hat or this or that. So the league talked to him, they talked to me. He's going to continue to wear it on his hat, but his hat is going to be -- that particular hat will be off his head and in the dugout. He's been forced to wear a hat without the "DK" on it.

Q. Any other players planning on commemorating him?

DUSTY BAKER: There are only a couple other players here that played with Darryl Kile, actually. I think he and Shawon Dunston, I don't think there are any other guys. But, no. League tells you to do something, you got to do it, especially when he's on the DL. It's a privilege and honor when you're on the DL to be allowed to sit in the dugout. Like I said, they told him he could still have it, but not wear it. He has to have it in the dugout somewhere.

Q. The three innings that you faced Francisco in Anaheim will give you an approach so the next time, if you face him, your batters will have a different look instead of just swinging. The Yankees had this kid on the ropes. Minnesota got him. What is your approach?

DUSTY BAKER: I can't tell you what our approach is going to be, but once you see a guy a couple times, you're more familiar with him. You know what his fastball does, you know what his slider does, if he has two or three different sliders, you know his speed, you know his movement. The kid has outstanding stuff. Very, very good stuff. It's definitely to his advantage, the first time around if you haven't seen him. There's a good chance he has seen our guys more than we've seen him. Whether it's on TV, scouting reports or whatever. Until you see a pitcher live, yourself, the scouting reports don't help you as much as the scouting report helps him. He knows where he's trying to throw the ball, his sequence of pitches, of when he's going to throw certain pitches. But until you've seen a guy, I've always said that's why I'm not crazy about September callups, even though I was one coming up. Because as a manager or former player, September callups, you're at the mercy of sight unseen and hitting what you haven't seen before.

Q. When you were a player, what did you think about coming here in late September when it was getting cold and damp? How did it affect your game?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, when I was a player, it was cold and damp here all the time. We were in Candlestick Park, which is a lot colder and damper than Pac Bell. I didn't mind coming here as a player because my mom and dad, brothers and sisters and relatives and homeboys, was everybody here. I could come here three days and leave from here. It was a little bit different when I came here to play in 1984. That was a lot different on an everyday basis versus just coming in for a two- or three -, four-game series. This is probably an uncharacteristically cold day and damp day for Pac Bell. Usually the weather is pretty nice here.

Q. Peter Magowan mentioned yesterday that when the Giants signed Barry, baseball people told him you guys wouldn't win because he was too selfish a player. I wonder what your reaction is to that and if you think the last ten years and especially this postseason have proven that wrong?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, there are people that told him not to sign me, too. So both of us have proven a lot of people wrong. You can't really -- at that time, Barry was ten years younger than he is now. This is his 10th year here. Over a 10-year period, people mature, change. Life changes over a decade. So whatever people said that Barry would never be a winner, those people are definitely wrong.

Q. Did Darren look at his crystal ball tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he's not going to be here because he got sick in Anaheim, missed that game, he'll miss the game tonight too. He'll probably be here tomorrow. He told me Reggie Sanders and David Bell were going to hit home runs again today.

Q. Going back the way you were just talking about with Barry, in '93, when you both came here, you won 103 games but they didn't have a wildcard. Looking back on that, if they had had a wildcard at that time, do you think you might have been going through this whole experience ten years ago?

DUSTY BAKER: Yes, we feel we had a great chance of going through the experience ten years ago. We know the Phillies really didn't want any part of us. We know the Braves weren't crazy about coming here to play us, had we had a one-game playoff. We were going to have a one-game playoff at our park. In the back of our minds, we could have been going through this ten years ago because we had an excellent team. Speed, defense, power, good pitching. We had it all. You win 103 games, most of the time you're going to go somewhere other than home, which we went home in '93. '94, we had basically the same team but we had a strike and had injuries. Then in '95 and '96, start breaking up, a lot of our team. From that '93 team, there were still guys, a lot of guys that were still playing up to a couple years ago. So we feel at that time we had an excellent core of players and it doesn't seem like ten years, but, yeah, I would have loved to enjoy that ten years ago.

End of FastScripts...

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