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October 10, 2003

Dusty Baker


Q. Can you talk about how well the platoon situation at first base has worked out for you?

DUSTY BAKER: It's worked out great. Early in the year they were playing well together, and then Hee Seop got hurt and wasn't the same. And we got Simon, and then Randall has come over and done a great job for us, as well as Eric. And so they're both performing well. They're both the kind of guys that I don't necessarily have to pinch-hit a lefty for a righty or righty for a lefty, depending on who that person they may be facing. So I'm glad that we have both of them.

Q. Matt Clement obviously has received a lot less attention this year than Wood/Prior. Have you ever felt like he's being overlooked or underestimated? And just talk on how maybe that's benefitted him to maybe not have as much pressure.

DUSTY BAKER: Well, actually, I don't think he really cares about publicity too much, he's not that kind of guy. He just wants to pitch. He loves to pitch. He loves to compete. He wants to win. He wants to win very badly. He told me that other than his very first year in San Diego, this is the first winning team he's ever been on, since he's been playing professionally. So this is big for him. Yes, he's probably overlooked because of the fact that those two guys are getting headlines and striking out half the world, but he doesn't really care too much. He had a tough stretch there early in the year and then he got it together. And he's won some very good games for us, including the clincher against Pittsburgh.

Q. They say the third game is the swing game. Do you put a lot of emphasis on this ballgame here or as a manager looking at a whole series? Is that overemphasized?

DUSTY BAKER: I think it's overemphasized. There's always going to be a sway game, but what's to stop one team from winning X number of games in a row. I've seen that a number of times. We certainly want this game. It's the first game in their house, which no matter what, guarantees that you're going back to your house. That's the thing you want, you want to win it, win it early and hopefully do the same thing the next day.

Q. Dusty, you've faced Dontrelle twice. The more you face him, are you able to figure him out?

DUSTY BAKER: The more you face him the more for me to become familiar with him. The first time he pitched against us, you had no idea what to expect. You watch videos, but you haven't faced him personally. The second time we had more success with him than we did the first time. So the thing about it is he's a competitor. He's a big time competitor. A lot of it depends on how he's getting his breaking ball over or not. Like most pitchers it depends on what you do against him. So he's a very good young pitcher. But he's a pitcher that we have to face and a pitcher that we need to beat.

Q. Moises flew home last night and flew back this morning. Have you talked to him yet today? Do you know what time he got in? Was that a tough decision for him to do that, with the fear of him tiring himself out?

DUSTY BAKER: It wasn't a tough decision. To me family comes before anybody, plus Mo, at this stage of his career knows himself better than anybody. And he has a grandmother that's very sick. He flew home last time we came down to see his grandmother. At that time she was more sick than she is now, and it was his son's 7th birthday. And to me, I wasn't worrying about him tiring himself out, because at this point, I think practice is overrated at this point, anyway. You play 170 games. If you don't have it by now, it's going to be tough to get it. But our practice is basically mandatory for you guys, not for us. I'm not really worried about Mo being tired. Mo knows how to take care of himself. So actually I think it will make him better, clear his mind and clear his heart for him to see his grandmother, for her to see his son on his 7th birthday, and him to see his son.

Q. Do you know what time he got in?

DUSTY BAKER: I told him make sure he gets in in enough time where he doesn't miss the plane and then get in late. I think he got in like at 8:00 this morning, went in and took a nap, got up and ate lunch and he's ready to go.

Q. Just going back to Dontrelle for a minute, what do you think of the personality he's shown and the effect it's had on people around here and really on baseball?

DUSTY BAKER: He's a fine young man. His smile is contagious. He's a guy that looks like he loves life and the game. With his age at what he's doing he should love life. I look at my son, life is beautiful every day for him. And that's how I see Dontrelle. I remember when I was a young rookie like that. Ask him. Life is good. And life's been good for him in South Florida, and I'm glad for him and proud of him.

Q. You know the nine players on the field, you know the players on the bench. In a series like this, is there any particular strategizing you do because of the manager in the other dugout, especially an experienced manager like Jack McKeon? Is there a thinking that goes on between what he may do and what you wouldn't do?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, to a degree. I have managers' tendencies on the scouting reports. What a guy is most likely to do this and when a guy is most likely to do that. I'm sure they've got the same tendencies on me. Strategizing the opposing manager is part of the equation. The main part of the equation is knowing your own players and knowing yourself. And if your own players and yourself are doing what they're capable of doing, you're not worried as much about what the other manager can do to you. Sometimes you spend so much time worrying about him, that you forget what to do as the manager. I've known Jack for a long time. He's not afraid. He's a baseball man. I pay attention to what he does good. I pay attention to everything. I pay attention to his coaches. There's always something I'm trying to pick up from somebody.

End of FastScripts...

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