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October 8, 2002

Tony La Russa


Q. Is looking at a five-game series in the beginning any different than looking at a seven-game series?

TONY LaRUSSA: Oh, I think as far as the competition, it gives you a little better chance for the team that plays the best to win. You can go out and win three in five, you might stumble into one or two and sneak the series. So four is more than three -- six out of 11, four-out-of-seven en, all that stuff. I think it also requires you to use more of your roster. You usually have to use an extra starting pitcher and you see more of the depth of each club.

Q. Are you still looking at decisions tomorrow on Rolen and Williams for your roster?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I definitely believe the decision on Woody has been made. Woody will be on the roster and he will be the second game starter. On Scott, I just talked to him outside. Because I've been on the field, I haven't heard how he came out of the treatment today. You know, he's got more flexibility and mobility in his shoulder than did he yesterday, which is a lot more than two days ago. Initially we were going to wait until ten o'clock tomorrow morning to decide. It just means that there are decisions still to be made. I was real pessimistic two days ago. Pessimistic this morning. I feel a little bit better right now. It's really a tough call.

Q. Jason Schmidt compared the two lineups; what are your observations of the Giants' lineup?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I have felt for -- going back the last two or three years, that there's a lot of similarities with the way our position players go about playing the game and the way the pitchers compete. I really think that -- I look at the Giants and I see a very well-balanced team. They have got a glittering superstar that's the most dangerous player playing, but they also have a very good team around him. I think a lot of their assets are assets of ours, and that's why our competition has really been close over the years.

Q. There's so many things that go on facing a guy like Barry, even Matt Morris came in and had a lot to say, but with you thing he said, you don't want to get booed by your home fans for walking and you don't want to get your ego get in the way too much. Can you talk about the challenge that goes on in a pitcher's head?

TONY LaRUSSA: Yeah, that's really the unique difference. We saw it with Mark (McGwire). You see it with Barry. It's a unique difference nowadays, when you get into a game and there's some fans that are there to see the individual perform. What we try to remember is -- the reason we are supposed to be in uniform is for our team to play against their team. It's a competition between two teams. So, I've got a feeling that there are a whole lot more of our fans will boo Matt if he throws a hanging curveball down the middle or a nothing fastball down the middle and he hits a couple of home runs. If he misses with that curveball or fastball and walks him a time or two, and a few people boo because they can't see Barry hit a home run, then they are misunderstanding the competition. We're here to compete against Barry, recognize how good he is and how dangerous he is, but we are here to compete against the Giants. In the end, the answer is: Who wins the competition.

Q. Your pitching staff is similar to the Giants in that people know Schilling and Johnson, people know Glavine and Maddux, but a lot of people would not be able to name a lot of the people on your pitching staff. What do you like about your staff and what makes it so good?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I've got to laugh. We've got great fans that are very knowledgeable, and there are a lot of times during the year they could not name our starting staff, because it was flux. (Laughing). But, you know, Matt, I think, made a real mark last year with his regular season and performance in the playoffs. He's had a really solid season. He has not been quite as dramatic with the 20 wins, but I think most fans recognize that he's an upper echelon starter. Woody is going to be one of the real issues from our side. He could not perform in that last series and he's getting the ball in Game 2. He has been amazing this year with very little preparation, traditional preparation and goes out there and competes well. So, do fan knows Woody? Do they know Chuck Finley? I mean, baseball fans know these people. Andy Benes, they should know him; he's been around for a while. But a lot of fans, the post-season is where you make your mark so hopefully they will make their mark.

Q. What's it been like managing against Dusty for the last several years?

TONY LaRUSSA: We just talked about it outside. I made some comments -- I first met him back in the early 70s and he was on the '86 club in Oakland. There is not anybody in uniform that respects and admires Dusty more than I do. I think this guy does a great job. I have half-kiddingly said I would love to be his agent negotiating his contract in the off-season because I hope he breaks the bank. It pains me, because I'm from the Bay Area, and I don't know if it's propaganda or people having fun, but it's ridiculous for people not to understand the great job that he has done with the Giants, for ten years. And so I know one thing: When we play against the Giants, that competition will not be decided because Dusty makes a mistake.

End of FastScripts...

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