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October 3, 2000

Dusty Baker


Q. How different does this series seem from the past couple of ones you've been involved with?

DUSTY BAKER: Against the Mets or the playoffs?

Q. In the playoffs in the general, with the new ballpark?

DUSTY BAKER: We won't know that until tomorrow. Right now, it doesn't seem like it's playoffs, really, because it's just practice. And even when I was playing during the World Series, it doesn't seem like World Series actually until the day of the game. I mean right now, I don't know what it is, just practice. I'll let you know tomorrow about 11:30.

Q. Do you have an emotional sense going into the series of how things are?

DUSTY BAKER: Not really, because I sort of guard my emotions, in order to save energy, until the actual game time. Because if I was walking around with an emotional sense right now, by tomorrow I'd be asleep by about 1 o'clock.

Q. Have you decided your final post-season roster spot?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, we just decided. We're going to go with Miguel Del Toro, because it's been determined that John Johnstone is not medically able to help us, at least in this series right now. He's going to go get some more opinions on the situation on his back that's been bothering him for a few months now.

Q. Do you have your starting lineup for tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: You know I've got a starting lineup. Yes, I've got it.

Q. Can you share it with us?

DUSTY BAKER: That's what you wanted? Well, at this moment unless something happens tomorrow, Marvin Benard, Billy Mueller, Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Ellis Burks, Rich Aurilia, J.T. Snow, and Bobby Estalella, and Livan Hernandez.

Q. Dusty, you guys worked so hard at the end of the season to secure this home-field advantage, and now you've got the Mets in here, who you guys swept at home this year. How important is it on this home-field advantage against these guys?

DUSTY BAKER: It's important now, because this is the series at hand. And it could be important in the next series, too. But right now it's important because we wanted to come home, and we didn't want to travel all the way to the East and continue the week-long road trip that we were on. And you get to come home, get to be with your family, get to be with your friends, the fans. And it's important also because we think that in '97, because of the rules the way they were, that we were cheated as well as our fans were cheated by only having one playoff game at home, even though we had won the Western Division. And the fact of how we've played the Mets here, and also how they played us there. I don't think they -- I don't think they won any here, and we only won one there. I think that shows the advantage of the home-field advantage, especially in a championship series.

Q. Playing Marvin and J.T., those are two guys with lefties that are kind of up in the air sometimes. Why in each of those cases did you decide that way?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, No. 1, it's their first game of the series, and you want to put your starting team out there, definitely, in that first game. And also the fact that Hampton is actually better against righties than he is lefties, even though he's pretty good against both. And it might be a little different come Leiter the next day. I think lefties in the League are only hitting 118 off Leiter, which is a change for him, because in the past he had more success against righties than lefties. I'm just going with the best team I think that we can field for the first game.

Q. Dusty, the team played before at a sold-out stadium for more than half the season. Do you think that will help going into the post season, where there are more fans in the stands and the environment?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it's not going to hurt, definitely, it's not going to be any different. I think a lot of times the teams that might get rattled by it are the teams that aren't drawing, and you get a packed house in post season. For us, it's been packed every day. The major difference might be a few more Mets fans out here now than during the season. And who knows, there could be -- we don't know until we get there. It could be a different crowd during the post season that I've noticed, even when I was in LA. The people that you saw every day are the people whose bosses had the season tickets that didn't come on a daily basis, they gave the tickets to their employees. And now the employees couldn't get them anymore, and the bosses come. So you might see a little bit different face in the crowd than we did during the course of the year.

Q. Dusty, last year the Mets were involved, and you were there, you saw it. They were involved in a tight, gut-wrenching playoff series that they survived, and it's fresh in their minds. Does that give them any advantage over you, the recentness of that, compared to the recentness of most of your post-season experience?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't give anybody an advantage over us. Like I don't give them, and I don't give them -- us any advantage. When you're one of the top 8 teams that survived the year-long season, I honestly believe that the right circumstances, anybody can win. You didn't make this long run for nothing. And if last year at this time is fresh in your mind, then you've got a better memory than me, because that's a long time ago. And things change, people change. We're playing a different team. They have a little different team than they had last year, and we have a different team than we did last year. It's tough to live in the past of last year.

Q. Dusty, Giants have had the best records in the majors this season. Does it bother you when some people throw in doubt. Like you had a little slide last week after clinching. People are saying: Well, maybe the Giants were just happy to win the division. Does that bother you?

DUSTY BAKER: Not really. I mean because if you've been around here the last few years, we get doubt every year, so it's no big deal. Nobody believes it, so it's really no thing. It doesn't matter what people say. If anybody would notice, if anybody would do their homework, they'd know the same thing happened with the White Sox, the Braves, the Cardinals, same thing happened to almost everybody that got there. So all that matters to us is really how we feel about ourselves. Most of the guys on this team, they don't listen to talk shows; they don't care anything about them. They don't look at the newspaper. We just care about just going out and doing our job, and you guys can write whatever you want to write.

Q. I just wanted to know if there's anything about Candlestick or about -- anything about Candlestick that accounts for Livan and Shawn having such records -- not Candlestick -- but Pac Bell Park that accounts for Livan and Shawn having such excellent records?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know, they just feel comfortable here. Some guys play well in some ballparks, and don't in others. I don't know. Maybe it's the mound, maybe it's the time of the games. I hadn't really thought about it, actually. You probably have to ask them that. But we just feel comfortable playing here. We like it here. Shawn was pretty comfortable in Candlestick, too. Maybe Shawn is just a home dude, you know what I mean? It was unbelievable. And plus Livan was the same way. I think Livan's home record in Miami and last year, just something happens on the road. Maybe it's the last at-bat or something, I don't know.

Q. Dusty, do you think people have been mentioning Bonds numbers in the playoffs. What happens to a player in the regular season to the post season to cause that to happen?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know, because I've only been to the post season once with Barry. I don't know what happened with Pittsburg. I really don't care to know. The only thing that matters is what's happened with us now. And quite frankly, after this point, I'm not going to answer any more of those questions, because it just seems that people dwell on the negatives, on what a guy hasn't done, versus on what a guy has done. The more you talk about it, the more you make it worse on the guy that's trying to forget about it. And personally, we're just going to forget about it. Just say: Hey, man, you start over again. Leave that junk in the past. You can't bring it back, no matter if you talk about it. I can come up with theories and alibis and reasons, and guess what? I still don't know. I'd be lying if I told you why. So it's just a matter of you can just put: Dusty says he doesn't know.

Q. Dusty, across the board, I can't think of one player who has had a negative thing to say about you, under your tenureship with the Giants. What do you think you did differently as a manager than maybe some of the other maybe older guys or guys who aren't as hip as you?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, the fact that one of my rules is if you've got something to say, then come tell me, don't tell the press. There's -- I'm sure there's some guys. Nobody's loved by everybody. And I don't care who you are, just that if you had a beef, you don't go to the paper, because it's nobody's business but ours. And if I have a beef, then I go to him or them, and I don't go to the paper. So the best way to make it look like everybody gets along is just keep it in the house.

End of FastScripts....

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