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October 26, 2002

Dusty Baker


MODERATOR: Questions for Dusty Baker.

Q. Have you set a contingency plan for a Game 7 starting pitcher?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, we're in line for Livan to pitch Game 7. But it's like everybody's available for Game 7. You know, Schmidt can be available, Kirk Rueter can be available. All the guys in our bullpen can be available.

Q. Can you compare the satisfactions you get from managing in relation to what it was like as a player?

DUSTY BAKER: Actually, I probably get more satisfaction as a manager, I think, because you're in charge, you're responsible for everything, even if you have nothing to do with some of it (smiling). It was different as a player. I mean, it was more fun as a player because you get to play and you get to have a direct effect on the outcome of the game. Whereas, the manager, you still are at the mercy of how the players perform. I mean, it's different. You get satisfaction out of both. You get different satisfactions, but I'd probably say you get more satisfaction out of being a manager. But it was more fun as a player.

Q. In '81, when you were playing for the Dodgers, you were in this same situation, they went into Yankee Stadium in Game 6, won. Is there anything you remember from that experience that you can bring to your team tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: Boy, not really. I don't remember what the score was. I don't remember anything other than we won, and we won on the road in Yankee Stadium. I do remember that some guys had some big nights, I think, that night. I think Pedro, Penguin (Ron Cey), and Yeager had big nights that night. Three guys have big nights tonight, usually you have a pretty good chance for a positive outcome.

Q. On the brink of a World Series championship, what has the mood been like in the locker room?

DUSTY BAKER: The mood is the same. We have a very consistent team as far as attitude is concerned. The mood is the same. I don't see any difference. Actually, I don't spend a whole bunch of time in the clubhouse to see. We have a bunch of veterans in there that know what's at stake. They know you don't count your chickens before they hatch. They know you got to go out and play to win. The only way you're going to be able to be a world champion is to play. Right now, we're still in practice mode. When the game starts, then that's when we really turn it on for your game mode.

Q. With respect to the Angels, do you look at a guy like Darin Erstad and think, "That's a guy I really would have liked to have played with"? Are you able to admire some of the things they're doing out there even though you're focused on your guys?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, certainly. I mean, athletes respect other athletes. I mean, it's more than Erstad on that team, but he's definitely one of the guys over there that you look at and say, "Hey, man, that guy can play. Man, he can play on any teams we might have had in the past. I wouldn't mind having that guy or this guy." You don't know exactly where you would put them, but you certainly wouldn't mind having them. Get to the World Series, both sides have some guys that are very, very good ball players. I mean, guys who don't quit, guys that are grinders, guys that come to beat you every day. That's what makes it fun to play against those kind of guys.

Q. As a real good hitter yourself in the last couple years, have you found yourself shaking your head at something that Barry has done and said, "How did he do that?"

DUSTY BAKER: I don't shake my head and say, "How did he do that?" He's done it about a hundred thousand times. You do find yourself saying, "Man, he's done it again." It's not, "How did he do it," it's the fact he keeps doing it, the fact that everybody in the ballpark expects it. The other team knows that he's capable of it at any time. But, again, the great players, everybody knows Michael Jordan is going to take the last shot of the game. Double team, triple team, pass the ball around, pass it back to him, he's going to make it. You know, Mario Lemieux is going to shoot the puck, have an assist. Gretzky, Joe Montana is going to go to Jerry Rice, everybody knows it. Jerry Rice is open some kind of way, touchdown. That's what true greatness is all about, similar to guys like Rickey Henderson, you know he's going to steal. We know it, they know it. I equate that to watching that Rolaids commercial, watching Rickey, trying to figure out his weakness, this kid takes his Rolaids because he knows he can't stop him.

Q. Have you thought at all about the possibility this could be your last game in the Giants' uniform?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. I'm just thinking about what's going to happen, how wonderful it would be for us to win. I'll think about all that stuff later. You'd be cheating yourself, the organization, the city, your team, if you let yourself think about anything else other than what's at hand.

Q. The season is long, it takes its toll on players' bodies. How much of it this time of year comes down to who's fresher mentally and emotionally?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, nobody's fresh. The thing it comes down to is who is the strongest emotionally and mentally and physically. That's what it comes down to. Everybody's tired. I mean, if there's a fresh guy out there, he hasn't played much. You know what I mean? It just comes down to who's the strongest mentally and emotionally, even more than physically, at this time.

Q. What has made Shawon Dunston a good bench player in your mind? Would you like to see him continue to play?

DUSTY BAKER: That's up to him if he wants to continue to play, or if he has a place to play. What's made him good is that he stays prepared, he still thinks he can play and he can. That's where it starts. I mean, nobody has to tell you when you're through, because you know when you're through. The fact that he pulls for his teammates, he's there to help, he keeps guys loose, he'll tell you the truth about yourself and about him, too. Plus he can give guys an outlook what it's like to have played this long and never been in this position and have them have a greater sense of appreciation of where they are and what they do have here, versus what they don't have. When you play that long, this is your first time getting here, then you don't want to hear anything from a guy that's been around three or four years and complaining about not playing.

Q. Does it give you any extra satisfaction to have a team with so many guys who are veterans, who have been through a lot of struggles, it's taken them a long time to get to this point?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it gives me a sense of satisfaction because when you're a 25th-round draft choice, 26 rounds, everybody told you after they made it to the big leagues, they were about to draft 92 that last round, you have a larger spot in your heart for guys that have struggled and underdog guys. We have guys on our team that have been in a number of organizations, some guys have been released, guys that some people thought were through. Yeah, it lets you know the power of a unit, the power of a team, and the power of a positive thought process. Yeah, it gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction, first, to be where we are, especially every series we go into, we've been picked to lose, including this one. You know, we still got some work to do. Just come out on top, hopefully. I hope I don't have to come back here tomorrow because I'm tired of talking to you (laughter).

Q. Is it just us?

DUSTY BAKER: No, period. Don't take it personally (smiling).

Q. The Giants have responded well to a family-oriented clubhouse, dugout, having the kids around. Is it something that you consciously tried to set in place or did it accidentally evolve?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's not something that you just consciously do. It's something that the organization didn't object to. Some organizations object to it. It's just something that evolved, I think. Plus we have some good kids, which makes it easier. I was thinking today, our kids are like a team themselves. They're a bat boy team. I mean, they take care of each other. They look out for the young ones. I mean, the other night was probably the only slip that's happened with my son. I mean, they have a good time. They're in the ballgame, they're rooting for us. They're rooting for their dads. Not only for their dads, they're rooting for the Giants. It makes it more of a family-type feeling. You know family, you might not get along with your brother, but you'd root for your brother, know what I mean?

Q. Do you ever talk to Johnny Oates about his fight with cancer, the same fight you have?

DUSTY BAKER: Yes, I've talked to Oatesy probably five or six times this summer. I've talked to him quite a bit. He called me after I had mine, and I called him. A guy that helped us both out a lot was John Vukovich, who went through something last year. So he's been in constant contact with Oatesy. You know, Don Baylor, quite a few guys that we all came up and played together. Oatesy and I were on the Braves together, we were on the Dodgers together, played against each other in the Minor Leagues, on the Orioles. I'm glad Oatesy is still here because a couple months ago, everybody didn't know whether Oatesy would still be here or not. I think it's great. Deep down in my heart, I still feel Oatesy will still make it.

End of FastScripts...

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