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October 19, 2002

Dusty Baker

Reggie Sanders

J. T. Snow


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty Baker, J.T. Snow or Reggie Sanders. Just let me know whom and wait for the mike, please.

Q. J.T., pretty amazing play when you bounced down and up. You kept your focus.

J.T. SNOW: Yeah, luckily I fell on my back side so I was able to keep my head up and keep concentrating on the ball. I grabbed that netting right there and pulled myself up, made the catch. But I was --.

Q. You suddenly go away?

J.T. SNOW: Yeah, I was just saying after the game, after that play happened, that that's dangerous, whatever they call that stuff. I'm surprised that nobody caught that or saw that, because I would hate for somebody to get hurt and miss a chance at playing the World Series. I don't think that's up to Major League standards, that tarp or that turf or whatever you call it around the field. So, one of their players had said a lot of guys had done that on different teams through the course of the year, so at least we know now, I guess. Let's hope no one gets hurt.

Q. Dusty, what does it do to the team when Barry Bonds leads off the second inning with that home run?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it gives us a 1-0 lead, number one, and gives Jason a 1-0 lead. You always want the lead. For Barry to start off like that, a series like that, that's a very good sign. He was really, really focused and kind of quiet today and into what he had to do. So, I mean, that was big for us and big for him.

Q. J.T., when you were a kid, did you dream about hitting a home run in this stadium, in the World Series?

J.T. SNOW: Probably. I think every kid dreams of playing in the World Series. But this place has changed so much since I was here, this stadium's new, new uniforms, the fans are all dressed in red. It's pretty much a different place. I'm just trying to get a hit, that at-bat, just trying to hit the ball hard. Luckily, I got ahead in the count and was able to hit it over the fence.

Q. Dusty, the Angels this postseason have excelled at hitting with runners in scoring position. Tonight you held them. Just wondered if you could comment on your pitching in those situations, with runners in scoring position?

DUSTY BAKER: Our pitchers did a great job of stopping those guys from hitting with runners in scoring position, particularly they had two opportunities where Jason made quality pitches. I mean, real quality pitches on Darin Erstad and another quality pitch on Tim Salmon that J.T. made that great play on. Those were big plays. This team putting pressure on the opposition. They run a lot. They hit and run a lot. Didn't really rattle our pitchers that much. I tell you, they did a great job. Our bullpen did an outstanding job. Actually, both teams did an outstanding job in the bullpen. We wouldn't be where we are and I'm sure they feel the same way about their bullpen as we do. We hate to see those opportunities out there, but at the same time, once they get out there, you got to figure out how to get out of it.

Q. J.T., for those of us who aren't familiar with the story, could you walk us through your childhood history with this stadium.

J.T. SNOW: I grew up in Seal Beach, which is about 20 minutes from here, went to Los Alamitos High School, which is probably about 20 minutes, started coming around as a kid, followed the Dodgers and Angels. Was out here, dad used to take me to ball games. In '79, we really got into it with that team they had. When I was old enough to come to games by myself, get my driver's license, me and buddies would come here, buy the cheap seats, sneak down behind the dugout in the seventh inning, security guards would chase us around looking for our tickets. It's a place I came to as a kid and as a teenager and was a big Angel fan.

Q. Reggie, were you surprised at the number of home runs hit tonight? Talk about the blast you hit.

REGGIE SANDERS: This is definitely a very good ballpark to hit in. We knew coming in here it's a big difference from our ballpark versus this one, the ball carries a lot more. Tonight, it was one of those things where Barry got us started with that home run, fastball up and in. And for myself, it was a fastball away, stayed on it very well, and for me, when I'm going to rightfield like that with authority, I know that my swing is where it needs to be. The other guys, they were able to -- Glaus capitalized on two great pitches that Schmidt threw up in the zone. He was able to get up on top of it. But for the most part, it was a well-played game. It was definitely a stressful game. But nonetheless, we pulled it off.

Q. Can you go on, you struggled so much against St. Louis. All of a sudden, first game here, you snap out of it. Could you feel it coming in the practices, during the week?

REGGIE SANDERS: Absolutely right. I felt extremely well today. Those four days that I had off and the day that Dusty gave me off at home gave me a chance to work on what I needed to work on and definitely today was a good testament to that. I saw the ball extremely well. It's just a matter of just getting in good hitting position early and going from there. So those four days helped me out.

Q. J.T., you've been gone a long time from Anaheim. Is there any sense of vengeance?

J.T. SNOW: No, not really. Not at all. I mean, this is pretty much a new place, a new stadium, new uniforms. I only think there's maybe four or five guys and one coach that are still here. So, it's pretty much a different place. We didn't have any rally monkey (laughter) or rally animal when I was here. But it doesn't make it feel very -- it still felt pretty good, it always feels good to do well against your old team. But we're just trying to win every day and take one day at a time like we've been doing all postseason. It seems like it's been a different guy every night or every game, somebody's coming through big. That's a sign of a good team. Tonight was my chance. Who knows who it will be tomorrow. Benito Santiago did a great job against the Cardinals. We'll see what happens.

Q. J.T., what did you hit on the home run? What are you looking for in that situation? Does that take any of the sting out of kind of a down year, offensively, for you?

J.T. SNOW: I was looking for a fastball, I went to 3-0. I got the take, so I took and got a good look at the pitch. My second at-bat, I thought I had a really good at-bat, worked a walk, made him throw good pitches. I had some good swings. I saw the ball pretty well off him. I don't know if we faced him or I ever faced him before. I was just trying to stay inside the ball and drive it to left center because I kept fouling balls off my second at-bat. I like the way that guy pitches. He comes at you. He throws his fastball, and challenges you, Jason Schmidt did the same thing to their team. That makes for a good game. That makes two guys that are proud of their fastballs that throw it and challenge you and play the game the way it used to be played, not backing down from anybody. You like to play games like that.

Q. J.T., you said the stadium is different. Is it easier to see in the twilight than it was under the old configuration?

J.T. SNOW: Yeah. The sun hasn't been out in three days we've been here. I don't know if it's the marine layer or smog or whatever. But it makes it better when the sun's not out. The sun goes down a little bit earlier now later in the season than it does in the summertime or at the beginning of the season. It's always been a good place to hit, here, and to have a real nice big, green backdrop out there that you see the ball pretty good at the plate. We play in the toughest hitting ballpark there is in the Major League. Any time we go somewhere else, we feel like it helps us out a little bit. We know if we put good swings on the ball that we got a chance to drive it somewhere and hit home runs.

Q. This is for J.T. and I'd like Dusty to chime in. J.T., have you ever made quite a play like that, where absolutely lying on your back, get up to make a play? Dusty, have you seen a guy laying flat like that and recover in time to catch a ball like that?

J.T. SNOW: I don't think I've ever made a play like that, where I fell down and got back up. But like I said, good thing I fell on my back side, because I was able to keep looking at the ball. I called Benito off that ball right when it went up. I just tried to stay with it because you can't call a guy off then expect him to pick you up (laughter). I called it the whole way, kept calling it when I was laying down. Luckily, the net was there. I grabbed onto the net and pulled myself up.

DUSTY BAKER: When I was a kid, I saw Roberto Clemente in Dodger Stadium. He fell down like that and flipped his sunglasses down and made a play like that on his back. One year, bases were loaded in Pittsburgh, I had Astroturf shoes on, they had that cinder warning track out there. For that moment, I had a flashback of Roberto Clemente and bases loaded, I caught the ball on my back, I couldn't believe it, he couldn't believe it. Had I not seen Roberto Clemente do it, I didn't have the presence of mind to stand up. I just stayed on my back and caught it. For that moment I did something similar to Roberto Clemente.

Q. Dusty, I know it's still a best-of-seven, but how big is it to take Game 1?

DUSTY BAKER: It's real big. Best-of-seven, we have three victories to go. Any time you can come in and win Game 1, that's not the whole series, but it definitely gives you -- it jump starts you for the series. So now we have a big game tomorrow before we go back home and all through these playoffs we've -- we've had to win on the road. We've been a very good road team throughout these entire playoffs.

Q. Reggie, can you talk about your approach to Washburn? He only gave up 19 home runs in over 200 innings. You guys take him out three times. Just your approach, what did you talk to Gene about in your meetings before you faced him today?

REGGIE SANDERS: We know that he loves his fastball. So we were geared up to hit off his fastball. He knew that he was a guy that kept the ball up in the zone and he made the mistake of keeping the ball down. That's why I was able to capitalize on it. For the most part, he loves his fastball, didn't have his changeup working, really didn't have his slider working. Just went back to his fastball, so we were ready for it.

Q. J.T., when you hit a home run, you put your head down and go around the bases. This time, you gave yourself a little pump. Describe your emotion right around that time.

J.T. SNOW: I really can't remember. It was pretty exciting, to hit a home run in a World Series. But I was just happy that it got us a couple runs because it was such a tight game right there, that put us up 4-1. But I think we have so much adrenaline and we're so into the game, it's hard to remember what you do out there. I think it's just excitement and there's so much emotion that goes into each inning and all these games. I give the Angels a lot of credit. Every time we scored, they scored in their bottom half of the inning. They have a good team over there, they keep the pressure on you. I don't know about how these other guys felt, but I didn't feel too comfortable through the course of the game, even when we were up 4-1. They got a good team. It's going to take everything we got to beat them. It should be a great series.

Q. J.T., did you have a lot of old friends from Orange County here, old coaches?

J.T. SNOW: Not too many. Heard from a few people, but we only get four tickets here so that goes to the family first. Last thing you want to do is be playing ticket broker during the World Series. But I still have a few friends. But for the most part, most of my family is out of Orange County, and gone other places. So...

Q. Dusty, J.T. coming in, has it been a team effort?

DUSTY BAKER: J.T. was actually right. Every day we have a couple guys in the line-up that seem to match up with whoever they put on the mound to face us. It's been a team effort. One day it's David Bell, one day it's J.T., one day it's Barry, one day Jeff Kent, Rich Aurilia, Reggie. We've had a number of guys come through up-and-down our line-up. Like J.T. says, the sign of a good team, when you really don't know who's going to hurt you from day-to-day. I know a couple guys that are headliners, that get most of the headlines, but we have a great group of guys here that come to play every day, that do a number of things to help you, not only at the bat, but on the field and on the base. We just have a well-rounded team.

Q. In the bottom of the sixth inning, did any of you gentlemen fear the rally monkey?

J.T. SNOW: I didn't. It's great for the fans, I guess. If it's got them a few wins, that's great. But I've yet to see him get a hit or throw a strike or get somebody out. As long as you keep your attention on what's going on in the field, that's all that matters.

DUSTY BAKER: Reggie, you answer that (laughter).

REGGIE SANDERS: Wow (smiling)...I just think that it's good. It brings excitement to the fans here, because it keeps them in the game. I think they're excited about the rally monkey. They make money off the rally monkey. But as far as with us, we don't fear the rally monkey. We have one common goal, and that's try to win, so...

End of FastScripts...

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