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October 5, 2000

Dusty Baker

Russ Ortiz


Q. The last game against the Mets when you played them in August, Russ, you had a stellar performance and seemed to ignite you guys. Would both of you comment on that game?

RUSS ORTIZ: To get beat three in a row, and an opportunity to close it out with a win, and especially on a get-away date, to be in another city is one thing. If I get a chance to do that is real important. And if that helped us get on a good winning streak or whatever, that's great. That's my job. That's what I'm supposed to do. But I think always -- I don't think Dusty has always said that that get-away day is important, getting on the plane, and you're feeling good and going to a different city or even coming home, on a positive note. So that carries over.

DUSTY BAKER: It was important for us to win that game, because we hadn't won a game in New York this year, even though we only went there one time. And I stressed to the guys that it was a good chance, if we're going to the World Series, that we're going to have to come back through New York. We certainly had to show them and ourselves that we had the ability to win in New York, and that's why that game was so important to us.

Q. What changed?

DUSTY BAKER: It was really a matter of really the hitting. The three games that we lost there, every day they were getting two and three -- two RBI hits. And we had them on the ropes every game, with potential to win every game, because as you recall, every game was close. And we didn't get, I don't think, any two-out RBI hits until that last game, which is the difference in the game yesterday. We got the two out RBI hits, and they didn't. And that's what changed the game; the games were close. They beat us three out of four, but realistically we could have won three out of four. Just one more hit or one more play.

Q. Can you describe the mood with the players right now, before this game gets going?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, we have a very consistent personality on this club. We don't get too high when things are going good; we don't get too low when things are going poorly. And the mood today is much like the mood of yesterday. I don't see any more or any less of anything from one day to the next. I don't have to say anything. We have a bunch of mature guys. They realize the work that's at hand. We certainly would like to take both of these games, because if they win today, then they would have accomplished their goal, which is to come here and split, and especially in our ballpark. And they're much in the same situation here as we were then, where they hadn't beaten us yet. So today is going to be a very, very tough, hard-fought game. And the mood is exactly the same.

Q. Russ, can you talk a little bit about why you enjoy pitching in New York? You said earlier it was your first Major League win there .

RUSS ORTIZ: Well, I enjoy it because I like being in New York. I like visiting there. It's the kind of city where the town likes baseball, and they get excited for it. And I think I enjoy that. And it just makes it a lot more fun for me. And I've been fortunate enough to have some good games there. But like I said, it's just being in that atmosphere I think allows me to relax a little more and have some fun, and just concentrate on what I have to do.

DUSTY BAKER: Plus, you always remember the site of your first anything. And I think that plays a lot in a lot of players' minds. I know personally I enjoy going to Houston when no one else enjoyed going to Houston, because my first Major League homerun I hit in the Astrodome. I think that has a lot to do with that feeling, if you can rekindle that feeling of how it was on your very first victory. I don't want to speak for Russ, but I'm speaking in general.

Q. What's the offensive approach tonight? What are you going to do differently tonight that you didn't do in August?

DUSTY BAKER: I can't tell you that, because I told somebody the other day we were going to have a different line-up. Then they went and told Leiter what that line-up was going to be, so that gave him time to go and scout and look at some films. That's something that's between me and the team. I'm not being smart or wise, but sometimes I think we give too much information to the opposition. He's not telling us what he's going to do to us (laughter.)

Q. Russ, the game in New York this year, certainly one of the bigger wins of the year, considering you guys lost the first three. Did that get you on a roll? Through August you obviously pitched great. Did winning that game give you a boost of confidence?

RUSS ORTIZ: I think that was just a big game for me, because I was facing a line-up that was pretty tough. And to be able to hit my spots and throw quality pitches, and like I want to do, and be -- and to shut those guys down was a big confidence booster. It helps boost confidence, in my pitches. And to say that was a big key to what happened in August, I don't know. I just try to prepare the same way every start and let whatever happens, happens on the field. And that just happened to be a game where everything was working out the way Bobby and I had planned it. And they scored plenty of runs for me that day, and it made it a lot easier for me to concentrate on my job. But I think the one thing, if I can go out there and show the guys that I'm going to throw strikes and get ahead early, I think it does help a little bit for them to stay on their toes a little more. And when they do get up to swing the bat, they start scoring runs, they know that maybe that particular day I'm going to bring them in as soon as possible. So I think they could tell that I was going on that day, and they scored the runs. And hopefully that instilled in them that that was going to be a consistent thing from then on. And that's what I try to do. And I've been able to work out that way for the most part.

Q. Maybe you can correct me if I don't have this right, but -- the question is for Russ. But as I understand it, the Giants will not know what time they're going to play on Saturday until tomorrow, because of the Seattle, Chicago game. So the question is, with the game time not even settled, as a pitcher, we know that starting pitchers -- how difficult is it when you don't know what time on a certain day that you're going to pitch?

RUSS ORTIZ: Since the game is later, if that series is over, to me it doesn't make any difference. Right now, as far as I'm concerned, the game's at 1:00. And if it's later, that will give me an hour more to sleep. And I think that will maybe help a little more. But as far as that, I'm looking forward to a 1:00 game.

Q. Dusty, could you comment on what the Cardinals did to Maddux and Glavine? Are you surprised by that?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, they've beaten them pretty well all year long. And sometimes you may not match up with that particular team, pitching-wise, offensively, speed-wise. And everybody here knows how tough the Cardinals are in Busch Stadium. They're tough. They've been tough for years. But one thing is for sure: They've got to go back to Atlanta. And I've seen -- it's going to be difficult for the Braves to come back, but I've seen it happen before. Just because you're up 2-0, I think the Cardinals were up on them, I think, 2-0 a few years ago, and the Braves came back and beat them three in a row. It's not over until that final out of that third victory. And now I think that possibly the Braves might be feeling the effects of not having John Smoltz in their rotation. Because you beat Maddux, you might beat Glavine, your chances of beating Smoltz, and if you get back around the chances of beating Glavine and Maddux twice in a row isn't good. So it's a real big game, that first game they go back to Atlanta, because they're going to have to face those same guys all over again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

RUSS ORTIZ: Well, anytime I think you get a packed stadium, a lot of the time the sounds are muffled anyway. If there's not that many people in the stands, I think it's a lot easier to hear things. So with them shouting or screaming, whatever, at me, for their team, to me it's muffled. I'm not concentrating on the crowd. I'm concentrating on what I need to do. But at the same time, like I said before, it just makes it fun, a lot more fun when you have that particular type of crowd, just like we do here, even though it's our fans and I don't really hear them that much, still just to have that atmosphere makes it a lot more enjoyable. But at the same time, it does get you going a little bit when they think that they have me on the ropes, and I get out of it, and all of a sudden the stadium gets quiet and they get a little mad at their team really. And I think that does get the juices flowing a little more for me, because I know I sat them down, and it's just one of those things that I enjoy.

Q. Dusty, not a lot of teams would be able to do what you're able to do, moving Jeff to first base. What kind of advantage does that give you against a different left-hander?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, that's the one thing that Brian Sabean and I discussed before the season to try to give us as many interchangeable parts as possible and still feel confident. Jeff's played a very good first base, and he actually enjoys first base, and it's fun for him to play first base. He knows that J.T. is our first baseman, but gives me flexibility to use Ramon Martinez as first or second, and he feels comfortable doing both. So that gives me flexibility that a lot of managers may not have, and a comfort level that I feel going both ways. And late in the game they bring their right-hander for Ramon. I have J.T. that can hit for Ramon, and I can move J.T. back to first base later in the game. And same with Marvin and same with Calvin Murray. So I love having those options. And probably a lot of people are wondering why I'm doing it. We've done this all year. He's extremely tough on lefties. I looked up the stats, and Leiter has only given up 14 hits all year to left-handers. This guy is tough on left-handers. We're going with the best line-up we can to try to win the ballgame.

Q. I'm just wondering, you guys had a great game yesterday, is there anything you plan to do differently today to change that?

DUSTY BAKER: No, just hopefully the same game, same results. No. We're just going to go out and play. Like I tell my guys: Just play, and play hard; but play smart and be alert to any situation that may arise in the game. And probably the No. 1 thing is, like Hank Aaron told me years ago: To be nervous but not scared, but you have to be brave. That's all we want is our guys to be brave.

Q. Russ, what would be the biggest playoff game you would have pitched at another level, and how did you do? You don't strike me as the kind of guy to get too excited over this, your personality?

RUSS ORTIZ: Probably, I'd say what had any real significance was in a Regional in college, where I think I pitched back-to-back games, a doubleheader. And when I was a closer, they had me as a closer there.

Q. What was the situation, details?

RUSS ORTIZ: I think we had lost a game and one of those things. We won, and we had to play again later that night and play against another team.

Q. Who was it?

RUSS ORTIZ: I don't remember. But as far as -- to me, the game is the same. The only difference is doing something like this or having more media around. But as far as -- I noticed yesterday, as soon as we were ready to play, throughout the whole game to me it was the same, just like we were here any other time during the season. But just before and afterwards, just all the hoopla going on around is something that I just try not to pay attention too much to; because, for one, I don't really particularly like talking or doing stuff outside of just talking to the guys, because this is something that I'm uncomfortable with. So I just don't really think about it or concern myself.

Q. You won the first game in the closer. How did you do the second game?

RUSS ORTIZ: I was a closer -- I had the save the first game and had to save the second game. We ended up going to the World Series that year.

Q. There was a report on the radio today, Dusty, that you were approached by the Dodgers to manage there next year. Can you comment on that?

DUSTY BAKER: You believe everything you hear on the radio? They can't approach me. I'm under contract. That's tampering. You can't do that, and I wouldn't dare do that. Why would I even accept anything like that, when we're trying to go the World Series ourselves? No, you're going to hear all kinds of stuff until the day comes that I sign. Unless it comes out of my mouth, don't believe anything that you hear.

Q. What is your reaction to the way Bobby has reshuffled his line-up?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't really have one, because each manager can do what they want to do. He knows his situation; he knows his players. He's privileged to information that I'm privileged to about who hits this guy. And they have a certain injury situation over there that I may not know anything about. My reaction is that he could do what he wants to do, and I can do what I want to do; and hopefully, what I'm doing will come out better.

End of FastScripts....

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