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October 14, 2003

Dusty Baker


Q. Any different feel for you particularly tonight sitting here knowing that you could be in a World Series by 10:00 tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: Not yet, you've got to win first. And I feel it's the same game preparation, same anticipation with what the game is going to be like, and looking forward to the start.

Q. Can you explain how challenging it was for Sammy to rebuild his image, and how he did it so quickly?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, mainly he did it by, number one, admitting a mistake. That's the first step. And then after that what can anybody say, after you mentioned you made a mistake. And the second step was he didn't dwell on it. And probably the third step is he probably started hitting some home runs.

Q. You said same game preparation, and there's still a few hours from game time, but anything special to keep the players calm knowing what you're up against?

DUSTY BAKER: No, everybody knows what's happening. No, not really. Just bought them some food today, to make sure the guys are nutritionally strong. Otherwise we're going with business as usual, batting practice, playing music. Baseball players, anything you do every day, you get into a routine, main thing is don't change your routine, just keep your routine the same, and keep your outlook the same.

Q. Over time what have you seen that makes a big game player? What do they have other than ability that makes them special? If it's Prior or someone, guys you've seen over the years, what makes a big game player in your mind?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably guys that look forward to being in that situation, I think, number one. Guys that want to be at the plate when the bases are loaded, two outs, guys that want to be on the mound in a big game. Guys that have the ability to focus, stay calm and simplify things as much as possible.

Q. How much does your team experience against Pavano, their at-bats against him, and what is it that you sense for a pitcher like that that you haven't seen so much of?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, we saw him back in July, I think, when we saw him. But I talked to some people that said he's throwing the ball down the stretch exceptionally well. He's the guy that threw the game clincher, I think, against the Mets for the Marlins. And he's capable of throwing a very, very, very good game. He's also capable of sometimes not throwing a good game, like everybody else. We saw him early in the year. I think he went 9 or 10 innings against us, or whatever it is, I think we beat him here, but he threw a very good game against us. A lot of that depends on how he's getting his breaking balls. We've got our game tester, leading off, Kenny Lofton. He gives us a heck of a read on what the guy is throwing that night.

Q. I don't know if you've been on the field yet. The wind seems to be blowing strongly left and right, and with the rain, how do you see that affecting the game?

DUSTY BAKER: Since I've been here,

that's the way it blows, left to right. I'd rather have it left to right than straight out or no wind, actually. The game conditions are such where the field is going to be wet. It could be slippery. I don't know how sure the footing is going to be. But I don't know, guys have a way in a big game. You try to not even look at the game conditions. You just play the game.

Q. Because the top of the Marlins lineup has not really produced the way they expected it to, and the way your club scores in the first, do you expect them to be aggressive, like Castillo and Pierre, to lay down bunts, just to get things going?

DUSTY BAKER: They do that anyway. You don't know what these guys are going to do early. I wish you wouldn't give them any more ideas than they already have. These guys are going to play their game. They do bunt early. They run early. These guys are an aggressive bunch of guys, and you have to keep them off the bases.

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