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October 9, 2002

Dusty Baker


Q. Both of the division series had much higher scoring this year than last year. Do you expect high scoring in this series?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I think it's very hard to predict, because I didn't think there was going to be high scoring with us in Atlanta, to tell you the truth with, both our pitching staffs. You would anticipate, especially ours would be high-scoring, and Minnesota and the Angels, because they both have very good offenses. So it's just hard to predict. I mean, on the outside, you could probably say that there are going to be a lot of runs scored in our series because both teams are very high, potent, offensive teams.

Q. Team chemistry is often written about, overrated or not, in your opinion?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I think it's not overrated. I think team chemistry is very, very important; how guys play together, how they pull together, and pull together in the common cause. I mean, you see a lot of teams that spend a lot of money that may not have that chemistry and don't win. I think chemistry is something that people talk about a lot but don't really understand. I think chemistry is very important in any job place.

Q. How do you deal with your name popping up in the latest managerial rumors, the latest being the Mets today?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, I hate to tell you guys, I don't read the newspapers too much. That's one way I deal with it. And there's nothing that really can be done about anything until everything is over. The way I deal with it is that we have work to do here. We have eight more games to win and we are the World Champions. There are still four standing and we are still one of the four, and this opportunity doesn't come along that often. So you have to put your personal things aside. That's what I tell my players. Right now, we are concentrating and focusing as a team, and not on any individual.

Q. In a seven-game National League series, Tony La Russa may have only four bench players available to him for several games because of Scott Rolen's injury. How difficult would it be to manage a team in this series with only four bench players available?

DUSTY BAKER: I think it's difficult if your pitcher gets knocked out of the game early or you're put in a couple of situations where you have to pinch-hit for somebody and the matchups are not right. You're going to have to save somebody for the end of the game, particularly one of your catchers in case somebody gets hurt. But in Tony's case, he does have the luxury of having Eli Marrero, who I think is a big factor, who can play a whole bunch of different position, as well as Pujols who can play a whole bunch of different positions. There are not many managers that have players qualified to play as many positions as those two guys. I think it's a risk and a gamble. I would not want to be in that situation.

Q. What went into your roster move?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, what went into the roster move is the fact that Witasick can go three to five innings if we need him. We didn't think that Manny Aybar, since he's the closer in AAA, before I knew he was a starter, but he's not really programmed and conditioned to go more than an inning or two. And the fact that with all of the left-handed hitters over there, we thought we needed a little left-hander, especially with Vina and Drew and Edmonds -- who else do they have over there? They have like five or six of them. We know that sooner or later, we're going to get in a situation where we're going to need that extra left-hander.

Q. Can you describe what Jason Schmidt has done for you guys this year, especially in light of the illness of his mother?

DUSTY BAKER: I tell you, I mean, spring training, that was a very tough spring for him. Not only was he a little injured with his arm at the time and missed the first month, but he also got the news about his mother, you know, which is always very disturbing and very distressing. He said that things were at least not getting any worse at this point. I know we've had a number of discussions about different natural medicines and potential enzymes, things that I take every day, different vitamins, different anti-oxidants to hopefully help the situation, and I was glad that I had just come through it a few months before, and I could sort of help him. A lot of times, you can say you understand, but unless you've been in that situation, you really don't understand. And I still don't understand because mine really wasn't as tragic as his mom's illness. So hopefully, you know, he might be pitching for her. Who knows, the Lord performs a lot of miracles, as I tell him, and I know it's terminated some people, but there's a good chance that his mom might come through a miracle.

Q. Tony La Russa added Scott Rolen, does that suggest that he might be available this weekend?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it suggests that to me, because Tony knows what he's doing. He won't go out there short-handed if he doesn't have to. What's he won, 1800-plus games? He knows what he's going now. And also, at the same time I know when I was playing, if I was Scott Rolen in that situation, I would have done anything to try to be eligible to play. So I'm sure Scott Rolen has made some progress or he would not have put him on the roster. I know that was a tough decision for Tony to make and not as tough a decision for Scott Rolen to try to convince Tony to make.

End of FastScripts...

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