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November 4, 2022

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Workout Day Press Conference

Q. Understanding it's only been 10 hours, do you have any further clarity on Gurriel, kind of what happened and kind of how he's doing this morning?

DUSTY BAKER: Nope. I haven't talked to the trainers and I have no news. So I'll wait until I see him on the plane.

Q. I know in the past you've talked so much about your father and what he meant to your life and career and how he was with you in San Francisco when you came up short in the World Series. I just wondered, now that you're one win away from finally winning that title as a manager have you thought about him, and kind of just your feelings overall about the situation you're in?

DUSTY BAKER: Oh, yeah. I don't think about the situation I'm in. Just taking a day of rest, because you think about something all the time, it would drive you crazy. So you just got to take a day off, let it, you know, it comes in your mind in it and out in passing, and I think about my dad every day. I think about my dad. I think about my mom.

A couple days ago it was All Souls Day and I think about all the guys that I've played with and grew up with and that influenced my life. And you think about the souls that, All Souls Day is the about the angels that are protecting you. And I believe in that. So yeah, today's a big day, and the other day was a very heavy day.

Q. I want to ask you about momentum. We hear that phrase used a lot, and it seems like if any World Series could kind of squash that theory where there's such a thing as momentum in baseball, it might be this one. Over your career, I'm sure you've been asked about momentum a lot. Do you believe in that or do you sort of see every day as a new day, and how do you see momentum --

DUSTY BAKER: I believe in that, but I believe that momentum shifts from day to day. If you have a strong mind, you can handle the shift. But if you're not strong mentally, then you'll carry yesterday into today, especially if it was negative.

So I just urge my guys, if it was negative, if you had negative results, leave it back there. If you have positive results, take it with you and try to pretend that there really is momentum.

But the momentum goes daily. And I think a lot of it, most of the momentum is carried by the pitcher. If a guy's dealing, it doesn't matter what you did yesterday or it doesn't matter what you're going to do tomorrow.

Q. It may be too early, but do you have any idea yet who is available for you tomorrow out of your bullpen?

DUSTY BAKER: Oh, I don't know, man. I haven't even thought about it. I would think everybody's available, really, because we had a day off today. That's one reason, like I said, I didn't try to burn my bullpen up in that last McCullers game so that they could, that they would be available for two days in a row and then an off day and then available for two days in a row again.

I haven't talked to Pressly yet. He's the guy that I'm most worried about probably, him and Montero, because we've been riding them kind of hard.

But, hey, man, we got two games, potentially two games left and maybe even one, so we got to do what we can to entice this thing. Like, they told us when we were playing, hey, man, you got all winter to rest, but we certainly don't want to hurt anybody or take a chance at hurting somebody.

Q. Obviously you know him really well, but what is it about Valdez that you think makes him the perfect guy for Game 6 in the situation of trying to close out a World Series?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't know. This is his turn, number one, and he's on normal days' rest. I mean, this guy, he's been a big-game guy for us since he first got to this league. And that's kind of rare for a guy to have been in that position so many times at this point in his career.

So Framber, he pitched well against 'em last time. He pitches well home and road, but especially at home. Hey, man, why not?

Q. You envision sticking with David Hensley at DH?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know, man. Do we wish we could do it better? Yeah, certainly. But the main thing is we're one win away from a championship and it really doesn't matter who does the job, just that somebody does it.

I mean, do we wish we could do it better? Yeah, certainly. But the main thing is we're one win away from a championship and it really doesn't matter who does the job. Depends on Yuli's health. Nobody's really tore it up at DH, so I just got to figure out who is pitching for them first and what the matchup is.

I mean, it would be a whole lot easier if I had a Bryce Harper-type DH, but I don't. So I'm just, I just got to go with my feelings, and so far, no one's really stood out.

Q. You talked a little bit earlier about mindset. Can you just talk about the fact that your team's mindset and how it's, whatever the nudge is or the extra boost you've needed has come from different places and the, I guess the beauty of having that benefit on your team.

DUSTY BAKER: Right. Well, hey, man, I mean, you look over here and it's not there, but then you look on the other side, and it pops up over there. I mean, you got to have somebody come forward and step up. And it's not that easy. I mean, they got scouting reports, they have the same things that we have, you know, trying to combat a guy's strengths and weaknesses. It just feels good to win. I mean, it doesn't matter who does the job, just that somebody does it.

I mean, do we wish we could do it better? Yeah, certainly. But the main thing is we're one win away from a championship and it really doesn't matter who does the job.

Q. I know you've been in a lot of big games and great atmospheres over your career. I wonder what you expect from the crowd tomorrow night and what the atmosphere will be like for you guys when you come home.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I talked to some people. They told me the whole town erupted last night. They probably erupted when McCormick made that catch because we erupted in the dugout.

So, yeah, I'm not worried about the crowd. I mean, it's going to be a great, great crowd. They're for us. The town's for us. Tickets are at a premium because all of a sudden now everybody wants tickets. We could probably hold a couple hundred thousand if we had room.

But, yeah, it's going to be exciting. And we're kind of operating on fumes. I'm glad we had a day off today, rather than try five days in a row. So we'll be coming home this afternoon, have a good meal, and get ready to play tomorrow.

Q. Justin Verlander obviously got a big monkey off his back last night when he got his first World Series win. I know that that topic has been a big one, and also you getting your first World Series ring. So now that you're sort of on the cusp of it, is it more intense thinking as that could approach? And also just not being under contract for next year, are these two things, have they entered your mind at all as close as you get to the end of the season?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, not really. You can't worry about things that are out of your control, really. The only thing that's in your control is today, and then -- and that's not even in your control sometimes.

So, no, I haven't thought about it. I mean, it's going to take care of itself. It always has. All I know is that worry doesn't do any good at all. Worry just stops you from getting sleep. And there's an old saying that don't worry because worry worries about itself. And worry does no good at all.

So I've just learned over a period of time that, hey, you just live your life, try to do the right things, seize the moment, and enjoy as much as you can. I mean, enjoy this ride.

And then when the game time comes, you know -- I always thought, hey, when I'm supposed to win, I'm going to win. And when I'm supposed to sign a contract, I'll sign a contract. But in the meantime, I'm just going to go out there and enjoy what I have been doing for a long time.

Q. You may have addressed this last night and I just missed it, but how much of keeping --

DUSTY BAKER: Were you there? Were you there last night?

Q. I was there. I just wasn't until the interview room. I was in the clubhouse.

DUSTY BAKER: I got a question for you. How come you're never in the interview room when we win?

Q. Because they transcribe the interviews no matter what, so I can get whoever I need.

DUSTY BAKER: Okay. Go ahead.

Q. But how much of keeping Chas in center last night was because you didn't want Yordan's bat out of the game in a one-run game and how much of it was you were already down a guy on your bench because Yuli got hurt?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it was all because I didn't want Yordan's bat out of the game. I mean, that was simply it. If we would have played extra innings, let me see, who made the last out in the top of the 9th? Do you remember?

Q. Not off the top of my head, no.

DUSTY BAKER: I'm trying to remember myself. Because Yordan's spot, I think, was about to come up in the 9th. Yeah, yeah, that's what it was, Altuve's double play. And Yordan's spot would have come up had they tied it up in the 10th.

So I mean, there's no way I could have taken Yordan out of the game.

Q. There are some things that are bigger than baseball and that's the case for Mauricio Dubón. He's representing his country. It's usually a soccer country. But in the last few weeks, it's a baseball country. They have been waiting for 8th inning, 9th inning for him to come on. How do you think he has taken that responsibility? And can you talk a little bit about him what you have seen from him this year.

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he told me that, because I talk about his country with him all the time. He came to Sacramento at a young age. I've met him, he went to my baseball school. And then I asked him what has he done in his country, because everywhere I go, if I meet somebody from Honduras, they mention Dubón. And Ralph Garr, my best friend, had a friend from Honduras who wanted a Dubón ball, which I gave him a couple days ago.

Dubón talks about forming clinics in his home country, sending money, doing things, helping to build things. He's doing a lot for his country, and his country should be proud of him, and he's proud to be from Honduras, and I'm glad to have him on the team. Some of his homeboys ask me, When is he going to get an at-bat? I'd like to get him an at-bat.

But I like having him on the team because he can do a lot of things. I call him my Swiss Army knife. So I think he's going to be a good player, a very good player.

Q. Nothing in the last couple days probably surprised you, but what impressed you the most about your squad, especially after Game 3 to come back with the resiliency that they do? They have done it all year, but what, if you look at this squad right now, especially those last two games, what impressed you the most?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know, just the fact that we won on the road and how we continue to play well on the road because if you're going to win this thing, you got to win on the road. And you got to win getaway days. I mean, this is what we prided ourself with, you know, winning that rubber match. This was a rubber match, this was a getaway day, similar to the season, and we were one of the best around at that.

And that's what I was most proud of, squelching the crowd noise, you know, some of the hostility, and just, overall just playing, just play baseball. And that's what I love about this team.

Q. I wondered, when you get to a closeout game, is there a different message you give to your players or is there different things that you focus on than you would in just any other game?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I don't know, I don't really have a bunch of meetings or give a bunch of messages. I sort of feel out the mood and the atmosphere, and then I go around and talk to guys individually, or if I see something, or I'll say, Hey, man, go over and talk to this guy, or assign guys different duties.

So, no, I'm not going to do anything different, just go out there -- like I'm telling you, if we just go out there and just play baseball, we'll take care of ourself. It's not like football where you got to give some rah rah every Sunday. Because after awhile you run out of rah rahs to talk about.

So I mean this is a game where you have ups and downs. You got to deal with the, try to stay as consistent as you can and just, I can't say it enough, just play baseball. That's all I ask. And if we just play baseball, we'll win.

Q. I know that the first order of business was for you guys to win and to win it all. But can you talk about just the quality of these games as also being a fan of the sport, being a part of the kind of games that you guys have played this postseason, but especially in this World Series.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, the quality's been good. To me not great. Because both sides, both side had opportunities to win that game or win these games multiple times. We had runners on third base, less than two outs. We had, you know, I thought there was going to be a big, big offensive game, which it still might be in games coming up.

But the pitching's been good sometimes. The defense has been good most of the time. I think one of the keys in this, on both sides, has been the defense. So it's been exciting. Everybody I've talked to, I mean they're nervous. My wife said her blood pressure went up. Everybody I talked to are having a good time watching. I think it's good for baseball. So I'm excited to get back to Houston.

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