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October 22, 2021

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 6 Press Conference

Astros - 5, Red Sox - 0

Q. Congratulations.

DUSTY BAKER: Thank you.

Q. What were your emotions? You've talked about how hard it is to get that last out even if you are close. We know your history. What were you thinking? What was going through your mind when that last out was made?

DUSTY BAKER: Game 6 has been my nemesis in most playoffs and that's what I was thinking. I mean, you got to get past your nemesis. I was afraid of electricity when I was a kid, so now I'm an owner of an energy company. You try to get past things in your life. And my dad came home and I had stuck a screwdriver in a wall socket, and it was all black around it. And my dad asked me, who did it? Like most kids, I said, I don't know. He said, go get my belt. And he goes, maybe this will refresh your memory. Oh, yeah, dad, it's coming back to me.

That's what was going through my mind about -- I mean, it's a long road. When you are starting Spring Training, everybody wants to get to this point, and I've been to this point quite a few times. I was just grateful and thankful. I said a prayer to my dad and to Hank Aaron, and Al Kaline and Joe Morgan and Bob Watson and all my partners that are in Heaven. I thought about Jimmy Wynn and especially guys that have been in this organization. Some of them didn't get to this point. I felt that they were with us.

And it was hairy for a while. It was 1-0, and then we made it 2-0, and that was a big three-run homer. I always tell these guys, if we can win the seventh, eighth, and ninth, if necessary, then most of the time you're going to get back in game or put the game out of reach. And our bullpen did a great job. Garcia who got roughed up the last time, he did a great job. These guys felt that we were going to get to this point, and it's a matter of belief. Before it happens, you have to believe it. These guys believe it.

Q. I saw you embracing your family as you were getting ready to walk off the field. Can you just take us through what those emotions were like?

DUSTY BAKER: I had my son and his best friend and my wife. It's not very often that your kid tells you they are proud of you. Most of the time it's us telling them that we're proud of them. My emotions were such that -- you know, they wanted it for us, they wanted it for me. But we've still got some work to do. And when I look on that board out there every day, the X's, I didn't know what that meant out there. I didn't know that meant for the H-Town. I was trying to figure out -- somebody couldn't spell. Then, you know, somebody told me what that meant. So now we got four more to go to complete that.

Yeah, it's a beautiful day. It's hard for anybody to tell me there's not a God because it put me in this position to be with these guys here.

Q. I know it was pretty quick, but can you put into words what it means that you came back last year to have another chance to win a World Series, and now you're really close to that?

DUSTY BAKER: I mean, I'm here. At the beginning of this journey, you know, I didn't even have a job, and I interviewed with the Phillies. They went with Joe Girardi. And then my son told me in his infinite wisdom, he goes, Dad, maybe that job wasn't yours, and this is a better job. I hate that A.J. Hinch lost his job in the manner that he did, but I inherited a good team, much like Sparky Anderson inherited the Big Red Machine.

But you got to put in the time, you got to put in the effort. You have to get to know each individual player and what motivates them, or sometimes you just leave them alone. It's a lot of work to get to this point. When the season started in April, I looked up -- I have a schedule on my wall. And, boy, we started out, we were way up here in April, and then we came down here to September, and now we're into October. And I'm asking everybody, you know, what's the date and what day is it because, you know, they all kind of run together when you just get up, go to the ballpark, try to win that day, then go back home, get some rest, and come back to the next day and try to win.

We've got a maximum seven days now, and hopefully it won't take seven games to win hopefully.

Q. Congratulations.

DUSTY BAKER: Thank you.

Q. You said you inherited a good team, but a good team with a unique, really unprecedented issue over its head. What is it like to now see these guys work through that to get back to --

DUSTY BAKER: It means a lot. I had some things over my head too, and so we had a lot in common. When you can identify with the people that you're with no matter what age they are, you know, it's easier to get along and identify the struggles that they're going through, and like I said, I feel very fortunate to have this group of guys and to be in this position to possibly win the World Series.

Q. With the way this series started and you lose Lance before it starts, and then the way you lost Games 2 and 3, how easy would it have been for this team to basically buckle under all that?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it probably would have been easy, but that is not this team. I mean, this team didn't do anything easy, and this team doesn't make any alibis or excuses. I mean, we lost Yordan last year. Nobody alibied or used that as an excuse. We lost Lance. We lost a number of guys throughout the year, and these guys just keep on trucking. You know what I mean? Like Eddie Kendricks used to sing about. Like we lost George Springer. That was a big, big blow to this team.

But, you know, the young guys really picked us up. Without those young guys to fill in around the nucleus and the core of this team, there's no way that we could have won it, and you can tell by the way we're rotating center fielders, and you could tell by how young Framber and young GarcĂ­a pitched the last couple of days. They grew up before our eyes.

Q. A couple of questions ago from Ken's question, you said when you came here -- they had a lot hanging over them, and I think you said you had stuff hanging over you too. What did you mean by that?

DUSTY BAKER: You got to look it up.

Q. Well, what made you want to take on this challenge then?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I love the game. Number one, I love the game. There's a few things I still hadn't accomplished. When I was in L.A. when I was playing, they tried to say I was doing this and doing that. And then when I got to different jobs, they said that -- I heard mostly criticism. You didn't do this, or you're not good at that. You don't know how to use your bullpen, or you don't like young players. I heard a whole bunch of stuff. Most of it not complimentary, you know what I mean?

As an African-American, most of the time they don't really say that you are of a certain intelligence. That's not something that we usually get, and so I've been hearing a lot of this stuff most of my life. That's what I mean by I had some stuff hanging over my head. Probably still before I die, I'll have some more stuff hanging over my head. It doesn't matter. It just depends on how I feel about myself, how they feel about me, and how the Lord feels about me.

And like I tell these guys, you don't have anything to prove or show anybody. The only entities that you have to satisfy are God, family, and yourself, and then the other people can see you later.

Q. Dusty, you talk about momentum swings and changes in game. How big was strike them out, throw them out?

DUSTY BAKER: That was huge. There are people who were wondering why Maldi was playing, hitting .075. These young guys, you see how he directed them through the game, and that was huge. If he couldn't throw and he's safe, I mean, who knows what could have happened? That was an inning ender, an inning-ending play by Maldi.

And defense is so important especially up the middle. Your catcher is my field general. He is invaluable to what they bring to the table.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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