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November 5, 2022

Dusty Baker

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Pregame 6 Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with questions for Dusty.

Q. Can you offer any clarity on Yuli and kind of what the measures he took to try to get back and kind of what the diagnosis and kind of his status is?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he took every, he tried everything. He came in yesterday, got treatment. Came in this morning early, got treatment. Didn't respond well enough to play. He tried to run. And from a guy who had knee injuries, the hardest thing to do is to stop and then to round the bases or have lateral movement. And, you know, he tried everything.

He wasn't crying, but he had tears in his eyes. You could tell how badly that he wanted to play. We just couldn't do it and had to replace him.

Q. You talked about Yuli. Do you have any thoughts about possible, the possible 7th game opener?

DUSTY BAKER: (Answer in Spanish.)

Q. On day like today when you have a chance to clinch a series and more importantly the World Series, are the emotions any different than a normal playoff game? And is your routine any different than a normal playoff game?

DUSTY BAKER: No, my routine is not any different. My motions are definitely there, and definitely there on both sides. I mean, we're trying to close it out and they're trying to remain alive. So, yeah, I mean, the emotions are running high today, but you got to try to remain as calm as you can.

You can waste emotion early because we got three or four hours before the game starts. I mean, you only got so much emotion. So you got to kind of calm it, and the closer the game gets, then the closer -- I mean, me personally, my son asks me all the time, Dad, are you excited yet? And I say him, Not yet.

And he knows what answer he's going to get because I try to save it until the National Anthem. Whoever is singing the National Anthem, then that's when it gets to its peak.

Q. I wondered, what was your day like today before you came to the ballpark? What did you do? What music did you listen to? Like, kind of just a sense of your day.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, first, I went and got coffee in my normal spot in Rice village, and then I went to pick up these expensive shoes that the sole came off of (smiling.) I was getting 'em repaired. And then I went by the cleaners. And then I came here and listened to Big Mama Thornton, You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog (smiling), because that's what I'll listen to. That's what my mom used to tell me sometimes.

Q. You've referenced your son a lot during this run. I'm curious, as he's gotten older, what's it been like to have him to bounce things off of or discuss these games with?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, it's been great. It's been great having him here. He was here, last time, 20 years ago -- well, he was here last year too. But 20 years ago he was three years old and a bat boy.

So, yeah, as you can tell, I think highly of my son and, like, he's probably the most positive person that I've met. He's no longer a kid, but you know how kids are. I mean, you go fishing, they're always thinking they're going to catch something, and he does. And he reminds me that, Hey, Dad, you know, you'll get it done.

Q. How can Yuli's news affect with Framber pitching, so defensively?

DUSTY BAKER: That's a good question. Yeah, you know, we'll see. Like, we went to playing Mancini because we think that he has the most experience at first base. And whoever is on the infield is going to get probably more action than they would normally get and also get more throws across the diamond than you would normally get because there's going to be so many ground balls probably hit to the left side of the field.

So now it's Mancini's time to shine and I feel that this is another opportunity for him to have a good series, all in one game, hopefully.

Q. I know there's a lot of pressure already to just win a World Series as a manager. But being on the verge of winning a World Series as an African American manager, what does that mean to you? And do you have any different type of emotions?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not yet. I mean, you know, it's in the hands of the Lord to me anyway. I mean, as much as you think you're in control, you're really not in control as much as you think you are. So all you can control is what you can control.

I don't think about being an African American manager because I look in the mirror every day and I know what I am. You know what I'm saying? And so I do know that there's certain pressure from a lot of people that are pulling for me, especially people of color. And that part I do feel. I hear it every day. I see it when I'm walking down the street when I see a policeman, a bellman, or anybody of color, but especially of African American color. And so I feel that I've been chosen for this.

Now, there was a time that I didn't necessarily want it, but that's been the story of my life. A lot of things I didn't want that you're forced to be in this position. I think about my dad and all the souls that have passed before me.

Q. Christian Vázquez obviously played a big role in catching that no-hitter the other night. But having the opportunity to DH him today, you guys have only done that once, I think, since he came over here, what are you looking for offensively from him? And what have you seen throughout this postseason so far?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, he's a contact guy. We can do a lot of things with him. I did that one time as an experiment to see. I had wanted to do it a couple times, but I didn't want to have to necessarily in case something happened to Maldy, if I had to hit for Maldy or run for Maldy or whatever it is, I really didn't want to put my team in the position where I was going to lose a DH and then have to put a pitcher in there and then hit for the pitcher, revert back to my National League days, with only a four-man bench.

So this is something that I had thought about, talked about, especially with my batting coaches, many times, but wasn't in a position to do so without the third catcher, even though the third catcher would probably be in the game late, catching and not very experienced. But I've put kids, not kids. I've put young players in a position many times and they have come through.

So just like I told him, Hey, man, David slew Goliath, so maybe, I hope I don't have to use David necessarily sometime (laughing). But that's what I told him.

Q. I was asking Josh about the collaborative thinking of pitching, pitcher usage, and that type of thing, but it all comes down to your decision. Do you enjoy that spot? It seems like to outsiders to make the decision of which pitcher to go with now, next time, next time after that, in-game decisions, you obviously enjoy managing --

DUSTY BAKER: No, that's part of my job, but I mean, it's also, I'm the one that does it, but I'm not the only one that's in the decision. You know what I mean? So that's why, I mean, the President of the United States makes a decision and addresses the public, but he got a secretary of defense, secretary of treasury, secretary of this and a secretary of that, and a man that doesn't use his counsel is not a very wise man.

That's why you, especially if you're waging war or whatever it is, which we're out there in, you have to use the people that were trained to do that. And this is a little tougher now because we're in the age of the Sabermetrics and different things, and sometimes the computer doesn't necessarily agree with me or you or whatever, but I'm the one that has to deliver the message.

Q. The challenge of realtime decisions. I mean, you can sit and plan all day long, but you have to make the realtime decision and then you'll be asked about it later.

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, well, I'm going to do that just like the coach that I was reading the other day, the coach that started a young quarterback and he goes to get a haircut on Tuesday or Monday or Tuesday after the Saturday game, college game. And the barber tells him, Hey, man, I don't think I would use that young quarterback on Saturday that you used. And the coach says, Hey, if I had until Sunday to make that decision I wouldn't have used him either.

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