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October 23, 2022

Dusty Baker

New York, New York, USA

Yankee Stadium

Houston Astros

Postgame 4 Press Conference

Houston Astros - 6, New York Yankees - 5

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions for Dusty Baker.

Q. What does this mean for you to be coming back to the World Series and what is it about this team you think that made it so special that they were able to do this?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, this is our second year in a row, and it's hard to do. It's a long road to get here. There's a lot that happens in the months to get here from spring training. It means that we persevered and we stayed together, and we made the necessary trades when we had to try to strengthen certain parts of our team.

These guys are very close knit bunch of guys. That was on our minds the whole spring training is getting back to this point, and it's a wonderful thing when you accomplish a goal. So we got one more goal to go and then we can set some new goals.

Q. For you individually, you've been in this game for so long managing for 25 years and coming so close to the World Series title last year, just how hungry were you coming into the season to get that elusive ring?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, I stay hungry. People, some people, most people are rooting for us, some people are rooting against us. It doesn't matter. That motivates you either way. There's a lot of positive thoughts coming our way. There's a ton of positive thoughts and spiritual togetherness in the city of Houston. It's galvanized our team. I've never seen a city so close to the players and always behind their players. Like I've never heard a cross word or anybody boo in our town for the team, and it means a lot. It means an awful lot. It means that they love and respect and togetherness.

Q. Why do you feel like this team is more well equipped than last year's to win it all?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, we got Lance McCullers that we didn't have going into the World Series, and we have Justin Verlander going into the World Series that we didn't have. We have some young guys that are, that have been there before.

You look at Framber, you look at Garcia, you look at Javier, and some of the young guys that's never been there before, and last year PeƱa was on the taxi squad, which he was paying attention and yearning to be on the team to get to the World Series, and here he is now. A year ago he was on the taxi squad and now he's MVP of this series.

So I think that's going to motivate some of the young kids that are on the taxi squad now. And these guys, I mean, we want it, we earned it, and we think we deserve it, but nobody's going to give it to you, you got to go out and take what you want.

Q. You mentioned Jeremy. Obviously replacing a very good player at shortstop. What has he meant for you that he was able to hold down that position all year and now be the MVP of the LCS?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's had a lot of support. He has a lot of support from his mom and dad and from his teammates here. He's a very confident but humble young man. He's in a position where, people say it's hard to win with a young shortstop, catcher, and center fielder and young pitching staff, but he's grasped the situation, the responsibility of that. He's hitting second in the order and playing shortstop. That's a lot of responsibility and a lot of work. He hasn't shied away from it. He's actually embraced it.

Q. Once again, in the 7th inning in this game your team capitalized on an error from the Yankees and then went on to score those two runs that end up being decisive. What is it about this group of guys that you have that enables them to take advantage of those miscues and turn them into wins?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, that's a very good question. I mean, you can't always do that, but it's a thought process that you have. To a man, almost, they were saying, hey, boys, here's our break, and if you think it's a break, you can turn it into a break. It starts with the thought process.

It's like even if it's not break you got to pretend that it's a break and then next thing you know, boom, we got two runs out of it and the power of positive thinking can take you and the power of belief can take you a long ways and to great heights.

Q. Obviously this is probably the most competitive game of the series, still a sweep, but what was it about, again what is it about your team that you guys were able to bounce back, keep punching back, and not worry that the Yankees might steal one, instead you guys were just able to close it out in four?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, the thing about this team is that they don't panic. They never panic. They try to find a way. It was early in the game. You would rather have that happen to you early in the game because you got time to come back and rebound.

But it helped us. We could tell that something was wrong with Nestor because we've never seen him throw that many balls. Usually he has pinpoint control. So that helped us a lot. You hate to see a quality guy like him hurt, but you got to take advantage of that situation. You got to take advantage of it. You're looking for an edge always. So that helped us a lot. I hope that Nestor's okay. He's on the All Star team with me and Judge and Holmes. And, you know, you're not supposed to like the opposition, but those are quality guys, Stanton. And they got a great team over there, and the guy that came over that I feel close to and close to his dad was Booney. So, you know, they're not going anywhere. They're going to be around for a long time.

Q. Your thoughts on the World Series and facing the Phillies?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, the Phillies, I mean, they can hit. They got a couple top of the rotation type pitchers. They got their bullpen together. They play good defense. As you saw, they don't quit. When they were in town that last series there was a knock on my door, on the back door, and nobody knocks on the back door. And it was Bryce Harper and he came in and sat down and we talked for a long period of time. I wished him well. I didn't know how well, but I wished him well, and he told me, he says, Hey, man, they're going to go for it, because everybody was picking St. Louis over them and whoever was playing 'em.

But, hey, man, they got some quality guys. You get this far, you know, they got the same belief over there that we have over here, so I'm sure it's going to be a great series.

Q. You touched on Jeremy's humility and how he's kind of handled everything, and the comparisons are obviously natural, given that he's filling the shoes of a big void in Carlos and everything, but how well equipped do you think he was able to do that, given the humility and how he's handled everything?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I think he's very equipped, knowing his mom and dad, because he comes from a great family. He comes from a baseball family. His mom's actually got mad at me a little bit because he didn't play in Boston and there were a bunch of people from Providence, Rhode Island, his town. Actually, I had to explain, have you ever had to explain something to somebody's mama? You know, it's like (laughing.) and I was like, Mama, he's hurt. That's why he's not playing.

But I think it's important that Carlos passed the torch to him because I've seen some players don't pass the torch. They pass some dynamite. But Carlos passed the torch and he was a mentor to him. This is what baseball and life is all about, rooting for somebody else, because there's a lot of jobs out there. We wanted to keep Carlos. Carlos wanted to stay, couldn't get things together. But the organization also felt that PeƱa was the right guy for the job, and he's exceeded expectations.

Q. How special do you think it was to just win the series here for guys like Altuve and Bregman and the treatment that they have gotten here and just kind of quiet out that crowd?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, they got better treatment here this time than in previous times here. So maybe it was a different crowd or maybe the crowd has finally forgiven things of the past.

I was on a radio show with CC Sabathia's. He's from my hometown and went to my baseball school when he was a kid, and it seems like CC has sort of buried that axe too, which helped the whole town, I think, bury the axe.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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