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October 18, 2002

Dusty Baker

Barry Bonds


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Barry Bonds.

Q. Do you think if a pitcher intentionally walks you, is he being smart, or is he being -- is he not being brave?

BARRY BONDS: Next question.

Q. Does that mean you're not going to answer that?


Q. Speaking to some of the Angels and some of your teammates, I don't know if they used the word "nervous," but certainly there are jitters, going into a situation they've never been in before. Are you the same way or calm, cool and collected?

BARRY BONDS: I think we're excited, both sides. The Giants have been in the World Series, but I think it's very exciting for the Angels that have never been in a World Series. I've never been in a World Series. There's a lot of guys on their team, our team, that have never been in the World Series. Obviously, everyone's excited to be here. I am particularly, it's something I've worked for my whole life.

Q. There is a perception that managers will approach you depending on what the situation happens to be in the late innings. Do you interpret your at-bat with that same outlook? In other words, are you tempted to go at what maybe a borderline pitch, or you're looking to get on base?

BARRY BONDS: I can only swing at what I can hit. If I can't hit it, I don't swing at it. I give pitchers respect. There is a point in the game where you have to. You can't hit every pitch. You have to be able to tip your hat to a certain pitch that's there. You have to just -- there's margins of errors in hitting. Like they say, the game's about inches. He may make that pitch that, on his inches, that's the pitch he got me out. But if he misses with those inches, that's the pitch I'm going to hit out. So, there are just margins of inches in this game. Nobody out there's perfect. No hitter's perfect. No pitcher's perfect. We are going to make mistakes, and I'm going to miss mistakes. They're going to make good pitches, I may hit good pitches. You don't discredit anybody in type of situation. We're professionals and everybody's out there trying to do the best they can in any given situation at any time.

Q. Obviously, your resume speaks for itself in what you've done over the years, especially the last two years. The knock on you is you had never won a playoff series, your team hadn't. You'd never been to a World Series. Now that both have occurred, what do you have to say to your critics?

BARRY BONDS: I don't have anything to say. It's your guys' job. That's what you do. I don't discredit your jobs. I mean, that's what you guys do, you analyze us. That's fine with me. If I didn't get here, I would go back to training and try again. I think that's what we all do. I have the opportunity to be here. I'm excited to be here. It's something I worked for forever and every Angel player over there has worked for it ever since we were in little league. We're the two teams that now have that opportunity to have our time, our day. However the outcome comes, is however the outcome comes.

Q. If you won this thing, can you just rest easy now, knowing you've accomplished everything in this game?

BARRY BONDS: I rest easy every day I wake up.

Q. How do you balance the joy of having fun, being in the World Series, and also the business of winning one?

BARRY BONDS: I want to win a World Series, and so does everyone on their side want to win a World Series. I've played with Bud Black over there, I've played against Mike Scioscia over there. They have had the opportunity to see me play, play with me or against me. I have a lot of respect for those two guys over there, because I've seen them play and I know the type of characters they are. I love both of them. I think Mike Scioscia's done a great job with this organization. I think Bud Black has done a great job as a pitching coach. I think Dusty Baker has done a great job for us and the people that we have on staff. We're both here. Let's just play baseball.

Q. Can you talk about your early awarenesses of the World Series? Did you go to games when you were young, watching them on television? The earliest you might remember?

BARRY BONDS: I never really watched the World Series. I watched the first game, I was there at the first game with Arizona-Yankees, but I don't watch all the games. You flick back and forth. I've never been to the Hall of Fame either, I'll go the day somebody says I'm invited or inducted. I figured the World Series meant for me, I'll go the day I get there. Unfortunately, I hit 73 home runs last year and got invited to go to the World Series and throw out the first pitch. It was a great honor (laughing).

Q. Did you watch World Series games?

BARRY BONDS: I watched my dad and Willie. As a child, you have favorites. When your favorites aren't in it, you're not watching it.

Q. You've come out on record and said the team should definitely bring Jeff Kent back. What are your feelings on Dusty Baker coming back? If he were not to come back, how would you feel about that?

BARRY BONDS: I would be disappointed just due to the fact at how Dusty -- Dusty has been the core to our team. He's the one that's really -- that really keeps everything in line and keeps everybody together. Dusty and I go way, way back to my childhood. There's a lot of history between the two of us. There's a lot of respect between the two of us. He deserves it. He's built a dynasty in San Francisco that I think is overwhelming. He's well-respected in San Francisco. Everybody loves him out there. We do, too, because he brings us food (laughter). If you want to know truthfully (laughing)... You're in a slump, you're gonna get some food in your locker before the game and it's well appreciated. Dusty always thinks about each individual player at each given time, which is really, really complementing to a manager, as a player. I just don't think the grass is going to be greener on the other side.

Q. For him?

BARRY BONDS: For the Giants (laughing).

Q. Two-part question, Barry. How much does it detract from the game for you to get so few at-bats because you're put on so often in key situations? And how much pressure and difficulty is it for a guy like Benito to follow you in so many situations where the pitcher is saying, "We don't think you can beat us"?

BARRY BONDS: I don't know how to comment on that. Your job is to stay focused. I've learned over years that I don't take any pitch for granted, whether I feel they may walk me or I feel they may not walk me. I take every pitch as though, "This guy's gonna throw a strike and I'm going to be ready to hit it." That's probably why I've been so successful in this, just due to the fact that I don't take anything for granted and I have respect for that guy on that mound, regardless. Even if, in the back of my mind, I'm saying, "Okay, the first pitch he threw away, second pitch he threw away," I'm not going to sit there, just assume, "This third pitch is going to be away." I'm just not going to do that. My approach isn't like that. I take every pitch until it's 3-0, then maybe I might say, "Okay, he's not going to give me three straight fastballs here."

Q. Does it detract from your enjoyment of the game?

BARRY BONDS: No. I learned that when I hit 73 home runs with my son -- when my son was upset and my daughter was upset, saying, "They pitch to everyone else, dad. How come you don't get to hit?" I told my son, I thought that was the best thing that made it easier for me, because I had to explain to my son there are other parts of the game of baseball than just swinging a baseball bat. I get on base, "Now I'm a base runner, son, now I need to try to get to second base and score." If the hitter's behind me and I can run and steal a base, distract the pitcher in any way to get to second base, that's my job, and make his job easier. So, a lot of times I'm trying to get to second base to make the hitter behind me's job easier, not to think he's got to hit a double to score me, just get a base hit, get me to third base with two outs and let the next guy hit a fly ball.

Q. You used the word the other day, you used it again today, the Giants won a World Series in five decades. What do you mean by "dynasty"?

BARRY BONDS: Well, the Giants haven't won a World Series, period, in San Francisco. I think what Dusty has done here has been phenomenal in the time I've been here with the amount of pressure he's been under as an African American manager. I think how he's carried it and how he's handled it has been phenomenal. I believe a lot of you guys have comments in the paper, speaks for itself, on Dusty's character.

Q. Barry, both teams have to come in with some confidence. Can you compare the mood of this team now compared to when you went into the Atlanta series and then the St. Louis series?

BARRY BONDS: I feel that both teams' confidence is going to be pretty good. But you never know in the situation. Guys have been sitting around for five days, and I think the only advantage that both sides have in it is the fact that September 11th came last year and we had to sit and wait and restart the season again. So, mentally, in the back of your mind, you can prepare yourself for that. But, I mean, for all of us that are first-timers, that didn't go through that problem last year, I don't know how to handle it, the sitting and the waiting and the anticipation. You'd probably be just on edges all the time, just, "Hurry up, let's get this over with, let's just do this." But I think we're prepared, they're prepared, and we know -- Dusty knows as well as I do, Mike Scioscia has those guys prepared. Dusty's doing his job to get us prepared. I believe both managers are doing their job in preparing both sides for this series.

Q. Your son is a bat boy for the team. What is special about having him there with you in the dugout during games? What's special for him? As a kid who was around your father, what makes it special?

BARRY BONDS: It probably makes it more special to me than it does to him. When my dad played, we weren't allowed to be on the field. You had to be a certain age. You weren't allowed to practice with the team. My dad had to bring us out earlier before the team came out to take extra batting practice on the field. I think Willie helped out a little bit because Willie was in charge of the Giants at the time and said, "My godson's coming out on the field." The Giants organization is just one organization that is a family organization, a family-oriented organization, that allows the kids to participate. Dusty is a manager that sees -- I guess the relaxation of the players when they do have their kids around, it takes a little bit of stress off and allows us to not only be able to play the game but be able to enjoy it with our families.

Q. Is that one of the reasons you came here ten years ago?

BARRY BONDS: No, I came back to San Francisco because of my godfather, Willie Mays, and had the opportunity to play baseball where I was raised in my hometown is a dream come true. I always wanted to play the outfield next to my godfather, I just didn't know the age difference at that time. I just said, "I'm going to play the outfield with you, be in leftfield." I have the opportunity now to play leftfield and I play against the ghost of Willie and my dad. My dad played rightfield, my godfather played center, I play left. I get to have that dream every single day when I step on that field at Pac Bell.

Q. Do you have any memories of being at this ballpark with your dad?

BARRY BONDS: Yeah, the parking lot used to be out there in leftfield. We used to stand out there. That's when my dad hit 39 home runs. Used to watch Nolan pitch. Oh, yeah, I remember it all. Just had the big "A" out there. They were losing every game but... (Laughter). We were still coming to the games. But, yeah, I remember being out here all the time. We used to have family softball games with the Disney characters when I was here playing.

Q. Can you talk about how much of an impact Jeff Kent can have on the pitches you see and the pitches you hit?

BARRY BONDS: Jeff Kent is one of our leaders on our team. Jeff Kent carries himself very professionally. Jeff Kent is an outstanding hitter. I think Jeff Kent and myself complement each other very well. If one's not doing it, the other wants to do it. If one's doing it, the other one wants to do better. I think that's outstanding. Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson had Kareem. There's always got to be somebody to help that other person, one, become a better player or challenge themselves, and Jeff Kent challenges me a lot in how I perform. And I try to challenge him as much as I can for his performance. I think we complement each other very, very well.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Barry. Now we'll take questions for Dusty Baker.

DUSTY BAKER: Before we get started, I'd like to say I'm sorry for being late. We had a meeting to go over the Angels. That's why Barry was late and I was late. That being said...

Q. I know you have been asked this ad nauseam, but have you decided on a DH for tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: No, we haven't decided yet because we haven't decided on our roster. We're not keeping it secret, we're just trying to mull over some things with the best roster to keep, the best matchups. You got to wait till tomorrow.

Q. All the talk about Barry and the pitches he's going to see, how big a role is Jeff Kent going to have in that? It seems the questions are aimed at the Angels and the pitchers and Mike Scioscia, but how big of an impact is Jeff Kent?

DUSTY BAKER: Quite frankly, it's the other way around. Depends on the pitches Jeff's going to see with Barry hitting behind him. If Jeff's hot and getting on base, that's going to help Barry because the pitches are going to be in a stretch. Hopefully, we can get not only Jeff on base, but you get your leadoff hitter - Jeff on base, the more runners you have on base, the better chance they have to pitch to Barry. It's not only Barry but the guys, how they get on in front of Barry and occupy a base or two or three, where they have to pitch to Barry.

Q. We've talked to all the managers you faced in the previous rounds and Mike Scioscia today about whether or not they're going to pitch to Barry and what the theory is, when to put each guy on. How much do you think about when Barry is going to be put on or what the different scenarios would be?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't spend that much time thinking about it, there's not a whole bunch that my thinking can affect whether they pitch to him or not. Like I said, a lot of it has to do with how many men are on base, the game situation, if there's a base open. If there's a base open, they'll probably walk Barry. If the bases are clogged, they have a good chance of pitching to him. I don't spend a lot of time wondering what they're going to do over there. That's more or less out of my control. That's under the control of the opposing manager.

Q. What about the Lofton dynamic, of him kind of getting hot here and feeling good about his game? Can he, himself, be a handful and be a guy that directs some small ball your way when you need it?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's a guy that can direct small ball and large ball at the same time. He has relative power, can hit the ball out of the ballpark, extra base power. He's a guy that starts our inning. You want him on base. The more he's on base, your leadoff man or any leadoff man, especially if he can steal a base, distract the pitcher so they have to pay attention to him, Kenny Lofton is very, very big in the equation. Very rarely have you seen a championship team without a quality leadoff man. Kenny has been that for years. He's very important in this equation of getting our engine started. Also in the American League, you don't have a pitcher in that spot, you have a DH, he can come up in a number of situations, not only as a leadoff man, but as a man to advance a runner or an RBI man, depending on the situation of the ball game.

Q. You said roster decisions, what are some of the factors that are going into that decision? Number two, about Shawon Dunston, the path that he's taken here, you guys have had him three times now, three separate occasions. What is it that's special about him?

DUSTY BAKER: The first time we got Shawon, he was playing shortstop. We got him as an everyday shortstop. But he got hurt a couple times, had a bad back. And now he's well, but Shawon is a guy that you enjoy on your team because he's brutally honest. He'll tell you what's on his mind. He'll tell each player not what they want to hear, but what he thinks is the truth and what they need to hear at that time. You need those kind of leaders on your team. All people see what your batting average is, this and that, but they don't see the intangibles that happen in the clubhouse and dugout as well as what happened on the ball field. As far as our roster decisions are concerned, we're trying to decide if their righties are tougher on lefties or righties, do we need some speed? If we were playing every game by American League rules with a DH, we might use a different roster. If we had all the games in our ballpark, you might use a different roster there. We're trying to get the best combination roster for American League DH games and also National League non-DH games.

Q. Two quick questions. Will you be managing next year? If so, where do you think that will be?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I'll be managing somewhere next year. Where that is right now, I don't know. We got another week left in this one. Then we'll decide, the organization and myself, where I'll be managing. And for how long. So, I'll definitely be managing someplace. If somebody wants my services, I'll be a manager.

Q. By winning so quickly against St. Louis, you had some more time off than you would normally have during a regular season. Do you think about what that does to a team's rhythm? Do you think it's beneficial, the extra time?

DUSTY BAKER: I think it's been beneficial because we had a very tough stretch there, including the last month of the season and the playoffs where we had a tremendous amount of travel. We got into -- at the end of the season, Milwaukee, came back home, then we had to go back to Atlanta, then back to St. Louis. And we needed a couple days off. I don't know if we needed this many days off, but you want to win as quickly as possible. I mean, quite frankly, my team was tired and spent. Now they had the opportunity to get their strength back. The physical strength back. I don't know, first time I've been in the playoffs and World Series where it felt like Super Bowl week where you got almost a whole week to talk about things, except a potential seven games instead of one. I think this time is very beneficial for our team.

Q. What food do you put in guys' lockers? Have you made any deliveries recently?

DUSTY BAKER: No, I haven't made any deliveries recently because over here at Disneyland there's a lot of fast food stuff (laughter). It's never fast food, I

just -- when a guy, when I see him a little tired, let's face it, nutrition, I learned from Hank Aaron, nutrition and how you eat and the fuel you put in your body is a direct reflection on your energy level. I put whatever food I think is necessary, I mean sometimes it's fish, sometimes it depends on the person. Sometimes it's chicken, sometimes it's collard greens, sometimes it's ribs, sometimes it's, in the case of Shinjo, I think it's called "maki," sometimes it's "edamame," it just depends on what I think that particular person would like and need. We have a fast food society, especially with the younger players. I remember when I first took this job, I would see a bunch of guys coming in with Arby's, McDonald's, Burger King. They hit a triple, can barely make third base and I know why. I know Hank Aaron was big on breakfast, he would get on us all the time about eating, eating properly and at the right time and basically taking care of yourself.

Q. I know it's no secret in the earlier years there were times that you and Barry sometimes had a rocky relationship. To hear him talk the way he talks about you now, do you think it may be the case of a child who comes to appreciate his father along the way as he gets older and wiser?

DUSTY BAKER: That happened to me, probably happened to half the guys in the room here, it happens to a lot of players. I don't know, you just have to continue to try and hopefully they understand and see that you have their best interests at heart. I mean, not only their present, but also their future, how they're perceived after baseball, which I think is as important or more important during your career in baseball, because there's plenty of life, hopefully, when they retire from baseball. It's very gratifying to hear. You can really see a tremendous transformation over the last couple years, of relaxation, of a relaxed attitude in Barry. Definite team concept and attitude, and after a while, once you reach a certain point and level, what else is there basically than the friends and the friendships and the camaraderie that you derive at with your teammates?

Q. How does Robb Nen compare now to when you first got him in '98? Was it at all unsettling for this team to watch him struggle through those ninth innings even though he got the job done?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, you name me a one, two, three closer, and I don't know who that guy is. That's the toughest job in baseball, I think, other than being the utility player. Probably, to be a closer. You take the last breath out of a team in the ninth inning, especially on the road, an especially tough job. That's a heck of a job. Robb was a good closer when we got him. We feel he's gotten better and better since we've gotten him. You have to give the hitters credit, too. They're not going to let you get them out over and over and over. They go to school, they study, watch film, see your tendencies, then it's about the particular person to readjust to the adjustment they've made to him.

Q. The Angels have had a great pattern of going first to third and scoring from second this year, taking the extra base. With your outfield, do you feel like you guys will be able to challenge them if they try to do that? Secondly, I wanted your comments on what Barry was saying about how he and Jeff sort of feed off each other, he compared to Magic and Kareem, Jordan and Pippen. Do you see anything like that?

DUSTY BAKER: Number one, your first question, the secret of playing the outfield, stopping going first to third, is not throwing them out necessarily, it's how you charge the ball and play the ball to stop them from running in the first plays. That's the key to being a good outfielder, stop that runner from going first to third or have the third base coach hold them at third base versus challenging your outfield. Because if you can stop them, then that creates a couple things, number one. They have to get another hit to score that same run. The trail runner is usually going to go to second base when he's scoring, you stop that trail runner from scoring, therefore, it leaves you a lot of times in a potential double play situation. That's the secret to -- especially with an aggressive fast opposing team. As far as Jeff and Barry, yes, I agree wholeheartedly. They are basically similar in a lot of ways. They're similar in a lot of ways. They're just different guys. One's black, one's white, but they're both great ball players. I equate it to that movie with Sydney Poitier and Tony Curtis, both are handcuffed, the one guy throws the other guy off the cliff, he realizes, "Oh, man, if he goes, I go, too," I will urge everybody to go get that movie. They end up being cool and partners at the end. This has been a while, quite a transformation for both of them actually. They're both great ball players and they're both better together than apart.

Q. Curious, this is kind of an off the wall question, anybody who knows you knows how much you appreciate good music. You are always playing music before games. How does that get you in the mood? What are some of your selections you like to play before games?

DUSTY BAKER: I was always the music man when I was on the Braves. I was kind of music man when I was on the Dodgers. Just depends. I like all kind of music probably except country and western, I'm not big country and western, but I like the blues, which is similar. They're always singing about a lady that left them, a dog that died. See what I'm saying? They're opposite but very similar. So, I listen to all kind of music, lately my music has been probably before the game "Mr. Lucky" by John Lee Hooker who's sending us some vibes from heaven hopefully, he was a good friend of mine. Groove Armada (phonetic), Peter Tash (ph), I listen to Tupac sometimes, I listen to almost all kinds of music depending on what kind of mood I'm in. If I'm in a high anxiety mood, I listen to something mellow. If I'm tired that day, I listen to something upbeat. If I need an aggressive attitude, then I listen to some rap music. If I need some mellow attitude, I'll listen to some jazz.

Q. When you were a rookie manager in the Arizona fall league, do you have any recollections of Garret Anderson or Troy Percival?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, at that time, they were both very talented. At that time, I thought that Garret Anderson had a tremendous amount of ability. I know his reputation at that time was sort of a kind of laid back kind of guy that needed some fire, but he had that fire in him. He was just kind of a laid back kind of young man. I remember Troy Percival was a guy that threw exceptionally hard, had an outstanding breaking ball. I remember that he used to ice his arm before the game because he had some bone chips in his elbow I think, and I think everybody, well, they told me they knew he was going to blow it out sooner or later, then they would have to operate on him and fix it, which they ended up doing. I enjoyed having both of them on my fall league team. I didn't get to have Troy the whole season because I think he got in an accident in his truck, so they sent him home early that year. But, yeah, I enjoyed having both of them. I also had Troy on the All-Star team going to Japan a couple years ago.

Q. In preparing for Game 1, what are your impressions of Jarrod Washburn? What kind of approach do you think your hitters need to take in order to be successful against him?

DUSTY BAKER: One that bothers them is his fastball. He's going to throw fastballs. Anybody that's usually a pretty successful pitcher will throw the best pitch, still, in baseball, is a well-located fastball. Make him come down? The don't, he'll throw that fastball up in the zone early. Then, probably later in the game, second or third time around, he'll start using his changeup and breaking ball more. But hopefully we can get him in the early innings.

End of FastScripts...

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