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October 4, 2000

Dusty Baker


DUSTY BAKER: Well, it feels different because I don't remember the last time, really. It's like a long time ago, seems like a long time ago. This is a new series, new team, new energy, new ballpark. It's a newer and refreshed feeling.

Q. Dusty, did you watch the A's game last night, and what were your impressions?

DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, well, I always watch the A's. Even my little boy knows the A's. He says: Let's go A's! So my impressions were they had a lot of life, a lot of energy, and a lot of confidence. And they played a very good game; they played a very aggressive game. And just looked like the Yankees didn't have the same sort of, I don't know, life and confidence that I had seen in them in the past. But that's understandable, especially after the way they finished a little slow.

Q. Dusty, it's the postseason, and it's very important, and it's been a long year for you. The people who have been around you all year tell me that you're about the same. Would you agree with that, or is there a little more churning inside?

DUSTY BAKER: The closer it gets to game time, the more there's turning on the inside. Naturally, you have nervous energy. You wonder what's to come and what's to be. But I try to remain the same. And I learned a long time ago as a player that you try to be as consistent in your personality as possible, and just remain positive and focused and increase intensity, and above all, just be brave. So like I said, I try to be the same and try to keep my team the same.

Q. Dusty, New Yorkers are understandably interested in the history of the Giants franchise; it came from New York. That comes into play whenever the Giants play the Mets. Are you at all interested in the history of your franchise, when you guys came out from New York?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, yeah, I'm very interested. I remember, I think I was 9 going on 10 years old when both the Dodgers and the Giants came out. And naturally, with Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays playing New York, you're very interested in the history. Plus, whenever you go to New York, New Yorkers are very knowledgeable, especially the history of the Giants. And there's still a lot of New Yorkers who still relate to the Giants. You see a lot of New York Giants hats when you go to New York. You realize that -- we go to Shea Stadium, we don't have the equal number of fans, but I bet you 25, 30 percent of them are Giants fans. Where they come from, I don't know exactly, but I know that there are a lot of people in New York that are pulling for us.

Q. How is Shawn? He's a little more mature now. How is he better equipped to handle postseason than last time?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, last time I thought he handled it pretty well, too, especially for a young player. The games that we played postseason last time, best of my knowledge, I think all of them were one-run ballgames. They were very close ballgames. And I think Shawn's going to be fine. I think it helps the fact that we're playing here at home for Shawn, too. He's had a lot of success here at home. Shawn has come a long ways. I know people are looking for negatives, but they're not there. And so we have every bit of confidence that Shawn can get the job done.

Q. Dusty, as someone who played in multiple playoff series, how might the fact that you have a lot of players in the roster, who have played either with the Giants in '97 or on other teams, how might they benefit the second or third time around being in the postseason?

DUSTY BAKER: I think that's going to help, not only the players that have been there, but I think that the players that haven't been there. Nobody knows what it's about until you get there. You can watch it on TV, you can play on the Little League or college World Series, but nothing is like playing in the major leagues and being in postseason play. This is what a lot of the kids, when you're young, what you think about, what you yearn for. And it's great when you're able to reach a goal at a very young age. And so now that we reach one goal, then we have to concentrate on reaching this goal, the next goal and the next goal; take it one step at a time. I think our players are -- we've got players up and down the line-up that have been there before, guys that have been close, and guys that want to very badly to go all the way.

Q. Dusty, everybody knows the stakes. But do you still give a motivational speech before a series like this?

DUSTY BAKER: No, not really. I don't think that's necessary. Everybody knows. I remember during the course of the year I asked Mark Gardner: Do I need to address the team? And he says: No, everybody knows what you're about, what we're about, and what our destination and goal is. And to me, right now it's not necessary. Like I said, just try to be the same, go out and play the same game we've been playing. These guys know what's at stake just like while we were -- right after we clinched it, we had a few games there that we lost, and I didn't address the team, because these guys are -- I treat them like men, and they respond like men. And they picked it up. I didn't have to tell them that the home-field advantage was at stake. Everybody knows that. And to me, sometimes I think we can have too many meetings. I think in our country we tend to meet too much. You go to the average business office, and they're meeting just to be meeting. And so a lot of times I think meetings are counterproductive and you add more pressure than is already there.

Q. Dusty, can you talk a little bit about the impact that Dave Righetti has had on your pitching staff this year?

DUSTY BAKER: I think he's had a very positive impact. He's brought a lot of energy to the table, a tremendous amount of knowledge. The fact that he was both the starter and reliever. He was like one of the child prodigies that came in. So he was the guy that had been on many championship teams with the Yankees, and so he's the guy that's experienced almost everything that a pitcher can experience in this game. And he can relate to everybody on our pitching staff, from old to young. He was a star, he was a fallen star, he was a mentor to like Rod Beck. So he's done a lot of positive things. So if anybody has anything they need to discuss or area that's unknown, then he's been there. Not to mention the amount of knowledge and expertise and the energy that he's brought to the table.

Q. Dusty, could you give me your thoughts on all the firings in the National League of managers since the season has ended?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I thought there were quite a few last year. But this year seems like -- I was surprised nobody got fired during the season, because that always happens. And evidently there are some organizations that want to change for some reason, I don't know. I'm sure some of these guys will be rehired again, and there possibly might be a couple of new faces in there. And I don't know. One thing is for sure, it appears that anything can happen to anybody, because it's happened to some quality guys, especially a couple of guys that won last year. And then all of a sudden, this year they didn't win, so it just looks like, I don't know, the managers are probably under more scrutiny and more pressure to win now than I think ever before.

Q. Dusty, yesterday your second baseman said if you guys win the World Series he might retire. A, do you think he's serious; and B, what are your thoughts on that?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I talked to him today about it, hoping that he was not serious. And he told me indeed that he was just trying to deflect some of the questions about the MVP and stuff, and just to show really how badly and how much desire he had to win the World Series. So no, he's not going anywhere, he said. He's going to play a while. He's looking forward to another contract. And if you bought a 20,000 acre ranch, those guys aren't going to pay what you're making out here (laughter.)

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