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October 7, 2002

Dusty Baker


Q. With both of last year's World Series teams being knocked out of the Division Series, do you think the field is more open now?

DUSTY BAKER: It certainly can't hurt. I think it's a possible year for the underdog. That's what it's looking like.

Q. What time did you guys get in this morning?

DUSTY BAKER: We got to the hotel about 6:15 a.m.

Q. Would you ever preferred a day off, having come all the way across country?

DUSTY BAKER: Preferably. We would have preferred a day off, but probably second choice would have been to play the early game yesterday versus the late game. That would have got us in at a much, you know, more desirable hour, 3 o'clock, instead of six o'clock.

Q. Do you think Major League Baseball needs to look into that, having a day off between Games 4 and 5?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, possibly. At the same time, I just think that maybe baseball needs to even the field as far as the most desirable TV times, east versus west. It seems like on the West Coast we get penalized some because of not prime time hour on the East Coast. So, possibly we need to level that out a little bit.

Q. Any particular reason why Russ Ortiz stayed with the team last night?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, we discussed it. I mean, big time, in length. We were even going to get him out on a flight at 10 o'clock last night and he would have got in like 30 minutes before we did. Number 1, we had to wait to see if we possibly would have needed Russ if we were behind 2-1. Plus, we live on the West Coast and Millwood lives in Atlanta. And so, God forbid, what would have happened if we'd have lost yesterday and then Russ would have been traveling all the way there and then turn around and go all the way back home. Millwood got to go right to his house and go to sleep. And plus, Millwood and the Braves knew that they were coming back here to either stay home or continue in the playoffs against the Cardinals that are coming in next. If we lose today, which we don't plan on, but either way, it's a lot easier. It's no decision when they are coming to their own home. All year long, we have flown guys ahead. Plus, Russ is very clean, he doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, curse, doesn't do anything. So therefore, it's not going to be as tough on him as somebody that has kind of a dirty liver; you know what I mean? (Laughter.)

Q. Without having to look too far ahead, would you discuss what you've been impressed with by the Cardinals the last six weeks of the season?

DUSTY BAKER: I was impressed with the Cardinals from the beginning. They had a very good team. They were in the playoffs last year. I was impressed, the fact that their pitching was hurt most of the year. I was also impressed on how they signed Simon out of the independent league. I was impressed how they picked up Chuck Finley and very impressed how they handled the situation from players to management to Tony LaRussa handling the situation with Darryl Kile. Also, last but not least, impressed how they pulled the deal off and signing Scott Rolen.

Q. Yesterday you talked about driving to the ballpark thinking about your future. I know you first want to advance to the World Series, but is your future in your mind at all?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. I mean, what's on my mind is the present. I'm the kind of person that remembers the past but lives in the present, but got to prepare for the future that's not promised to anybody. When you come to a situation like I had last winter, you know, when you beat cancer, then that gives you a totally different outlook and mindset as far as living too far in the future. I was told years ago by my dad, one of the many things he told me that I didn't really adhere to or think about was that the future is not promised to anybody. A lot of times, we live so far in the future that you cease to live in the present.

Q. J.T. at the beginning of the post-season talked about how important it is for a team to be relaxed and yesterday it became evident with how relaxed Livan is in pressure situations. Coming down to Game 5, going home or staying; do you feel you need to be hyped up or is it more important to be relaxed?

DUSTY BAKER: I was always taught that you want your heart to be pounding, but you want your mind to be in control and level-headed to control your heart. I remember asking Hank Aaron one time how he handled pressure and this and that and he said he could remove his mind from the situation -- you can't control the pounding of your heart. It's going to pound. But he said he would remove himself and above and look down as if he was a puppeteer controlling his emotions versus being a puppet, looking up where you had no control.

Q. Yesterday was the first elimination game the Giants have won in quite a while. Do you think the way you finished out the season played a role in your resiliency in being able to win that game?

DUSTY BAKER: I think not only in the way we finished the season, but the way we've played the last four or five years. We were knocked down, counted out, knocked down again, counted out and we kept fighting back. We have a bunch of guys that are fighters, plus we sort of vowed, I think, to not live in the past and let any of the negatives that happened in the past affect us in the present, because you can't bring those -- tell you the truth, we had chapel yesterday, and that's what chapel was about. You have to let the past not come forward in the present. You have to leave it there.

Q. Are you flying somewhere tonight or tomorrow morning?

DUSTY BAKER: Tonight. We are night fliers. We like to fly late. (Laughter.)

Q. With the Angels winning over the Yankees, 22 years ago you were there when a young kid named Mike Scioscia was there as catcher; did you see those leadership skills way back then?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I saw his leadership skills as a catcher. None of us ever envisioned, really, being a manager at that time. You were trying to play. If anything, you're leading on the field to lead to victory as a player. Very few of us probably even had aspirations to be a manager. All I know is he was trained very well. He was schooled in the of catching and leadership and different things by Roy Campenella who would come in his wheelchair every day and demonstrate what to do and think in this situation and that situation. He had some very good mentors with Campanella, Steve Yeager, Lasorda, guys on our team, Sandy Koufax and the various veterans that are were coming around.

End of FastScripts...

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