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October 14, 2003

Dusty Baker


Q. In short, are you stunned?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, not really. They are an explosive club. A couple of events happened in that inning. I thought we had Castillo out. If we didn't have fan interference, but they can't call it, because the ball wasn't on the field of play. And then we had Pudge 0-2, and then he gets a hit, and then we thought we had a ground ball doubleplay, because Gonzo, he's only made ten errors all year long, that's the stunning part, because he doesn't miss anything. And then after that we couldn't stop the bleeding. They just started hitting the ball all over everywhere. It comes down to Game 7 now. It's going to be a heck of a ballgame tomorrow. And tomorrow is winner take all.

Q. I know that all season long you've been preaching, forget history, forget the past, forget the hexes. But when you get five outs away, the fans are counting down the outs, and the fan interference happens, is it at some point the curse, but the history creeped into players' minds?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it has nothing to do with the curse. It has to do with the fan interference, the very uncharacteristic error by Gonzo, because he doesn't miss anything. And then they just started hitting. It has nothing to do with the curse, it has to do with their bats.

Q. Do you think it's the weight of history?

DUSTY BAKER: No, history had nothing to do with this game, nothing.

Q. I know fans have been one of the biggest assets of the team this season. Do you have any words for that gentleman who stuck his hands there and took the ball away?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. The only words I have is maybe he was a Marlins fan, that's the only thing I can come up with.

Q. You're a big motivator of the players. What are you going to do? It seemed like it really knocked the wind out -- there was a lot of momentum here tonight. And what do you do, do you hold a special meeting or something?

DUSTY BAKER: There's nothing I can do tonight. Tonight there's nothing you can do. We have Kerry Wood going, and it's going to be tough to beat both those guys. And I still like our chances very much. We're at home tomorrow, Game 7. I think they beat us 2 out of 3 here, and we beat them 2 out of 3 down there, so we're back to even. And we've just got to go out and play, and play better ball tomorrow.

Q. One of the positive things is that you still do have home field advantage, and with the fans backing you.

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, we do. And so anybody that thinks this is over, they're not a Cubs fan. This isn't over by a long ways. And it's still to our advantage. We've got Kerry Wood going tomorrow and we're still at home. As far as I'm concerned we're still in very, very good shape.

Q. As either a former player or a manager, have you ever understood why home fans sometimes interfere with the home players trying to go into foul territory and make a catch?

DUSTY BAKER: No. I've never understood that. And I probably never will. I don't know if it's a natural reaction to try to catch the ball, but if you're for your team, you have to give your player every opportunity and chance to catch the ball. I talked to Mo, he said he timed it perfectly, he was right there, and all of a sudden the ball was gone.

Q. What did Moises say to you about the play?

DUSTY BAKER: I asked Mo -- where we were, we couldn't see it in the dugout. And then after that I saw the fans jumping up and down and making noise. I asked Mo what happened, he said he had it perfectly timed and the ball was just about to enter his glove and all of a sudden it was gone. And that's what Mo said.

Q. Can you give us a sense of what the reaction is in the clubhouse tonight, what's the feeling?

DUSTY BAKER: The feelings right now are very quiet and subdued. But we know there's Game 7. We know these guys are tough, we know they don't quit. And we don't quit either. So the feeling and attitude is hey, man, it's our game to win tomorrow, that's the attitude.

Q. I know you don't want to dwell on negativity, and you said yesterday that fans should stop thinking that way. What do you have to say to them after this game?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, we need them tomorrow, that's what I have to say. We need their positiveness, we need their noise, we need them pulling for their team, our team, like they've never pulled before. This is probably one of the biggest games in Cubs history tomorrow. As for our team, we've never done anything easy. It hasn't been easy all year long. We went to Game 5 in Atlanta, and won that one. Here we are in Game 7 tomorrow. And so that's what I've got to say. Nobody hang their heads. I'm proud of my guys, and you're going to see us come out tomorrow and fight and battle until the last out and hey, man, it's our game to win tomorrow.

Q. Prior has been basically unflappable all season, and the fan play with Moises, he showed he was upset. And they showed on the replay that Prior was shouting fan, fan. Do you think he got fazed by that, and rattled at all?

DUSTY BAKER: No. I mean, like I said, he settled down after that. He had Pudge 0-2 and got a breaking ball over too much of the plate, and Pudge can hit. You've got to give Pudge credit. And the next play Cabrera, he hit a ground ball, and I thought we were out of the inning at that point. And we were going to turn it over to Borowski, because I thought he was getting close to his limit. And he had gotten Lee out pretty good, and Farnsworth was warming up, and he hadn't gotten Lee out very well. No, I haven't got nothing bad to say about Mark Prior. He didn't lose anything, they just hit him.

End of FastScripts...

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