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September 30, 2003

Dusty Baker


Q. The big game performances, does it get any bigger than what Kerry did tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: No, it doesn't. That was a huge game. That's probably the biggest game in his life, at least his professional life. I mean, he was great all night. He tired in the 8th and we had to go get him. Then Farnsy came in and we got him out; then Borowski. We were flirting all night with scoring runs. We got it done, and it was especially big by Woody in Game 1. That's a huge game, especially in a five-game series.

Q. Is Game 1 the most important in the five-game series?

DUSTY BAKER: Definitely it's the most important. Number 2 is important, but number 1, it's good to get that out of the way. Now tomorrow will be big, but that's a big, big, big game in a five-game series, yes, it is.

Q. You going to a chain around your neck, is that a good luck charm?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't believe in mojo. No, it's not a good luck charm. Number one, don't believe everything you see on TV. It's a medallion with Jesus on it that I have had for like 30 years.

Q. How fortunate do you feel to have good hitting pitchers?

DUSTY BAKER: I mean, we have good hitting pitchers and they also do. You saw one tonight in Russ Ortiz, and you saw another one tonight in Kerry Wood. In the National League, you play National League ball, your pitchers are part of the offense. Our guys work on hitting. They don't just go out there and take home run practice. They take pride in being able to hit.

Q. Were you surprised at how pro-Cubs the support there was from the crowd?

DUSTY BAKER: I wasn't surprised. If they'll go from Chicago to Puerto Rico, then they will go from Chicago to Atlanta. The fact we haven't been in the playoffs for a long time and it's so close, we'll take all the support we can get.

Q. You loaded the bases in both the 4th and the 6th with nobody out. What was your thoughts when Simon struck out in the 6th?

DUSTY BAKER: My thoughts were, come on, Bako. That was my thought at the time. You can't do anything about him striking out. He's not a guy that strikes out very often at all. That's the only thing that was on my mind is, Bako, come through, please.

Q. It's a long time since you played here with Atlanta. Coming in here and beating Atlanta, do you have any thoughts about that?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I've got some thoughts about it. We came here last year and I know a lot of people here in Atlanta. This is where I started, and one thing is for sure. If you're going to go deep into the playoffs, more than likely you are going to have to come through Atlanta. My thoughts were coming here and our team beating Atlanta. I'm very excited about it, not overly excited. We still have a lot of work to do.

Q. What does a performance like this do to Kerry's reputation?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know what it does to his reputation. It has to be a tremendous boost to his confidence and to his career. His career is going in the right direction, skyward, and I think that's what it does more than anything. It lets him know and it lets us know in fact what he's capable of doing. I mean, it was a big game for Kerry. He wanted it badly. He was calm and cool all night, and it's due a lot to the maturity of a good pitcher turned into a great pitcher, hopefully.

Q. Do you think it's going to have a positive effect on Carlos's performance tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: Baseball is not a game really of momentum. It changes daily. Again, momentum, and each guy's performance is their own. They can have a positive effect. Certainly Carlos doesn't want to be left out. This is his first playoff performance. I hope it has a positive offense.

Q. What about the bullpen, Dusty?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, our bullpen did a great job. We have -- especially, that was huge, the fact that with bases loaded and one out, we turn Chipper around, you know, you saw the tomahawk chop many times here, and that was a first time for Farnsworth, so Farnsworth will be better even next time out. He has an idea now what it's all about.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dusty.

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