DUSTY BAKER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT 10/8/12
An interview with:
Q. Of all the starting rotations that you’ve had with your teams, is this one the deepest?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, it’s one of ‘em. You know, we probably other than our one big winner, Johnny Cueto, the rest of everybody was close in 13, 14 wins, something like that.
This is probably one of the younger ones I have had since I’ve once I was in San Francisco I had some young guns over there with Shawn Estes and some of those guys. But, yeah, this is I don’t know, my first year was pretty deep in San Francisco, I had that excellent bullpen over there with Beck and Jeff Brantley and Mike Jackson and Burba, we won 104 games with those guys. It’s hard to really, after all there’s years, to say which one is the deepest.
Q. Dusty, this team didn’t play very well in September and you acknowledged that, certainly the way the series started it could having the other way. But this team seems to respond adversity and you have always said playoffs are a very different game. Because of the way this team played in the first two games, does it show that this team has matured from what you saw in 2010?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, you would hope so. You would hope a team would have matured in that period of time. I don’t know what our record was, but I think it was over 500 during that month. Very few teams go the whole season playing 500 or better during that month, even though people say, well, it wasn’t a very good month.
We didn’t hit very well, but we pitched good and the name of the game is how you not how you hit or how you pitch but it’s how you if you win the game and it doesn’t really matter, you know, with this team how you win the game, whether it’s 1 0 or 10 9, it still counts as a victory.
So this team really doesn’t look at things like that. This is a resilient team, a very close team, and these guys find a way.
Q. How about coming home up two and now a home atmosphere tomorrow night?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, we haven’t had very much time to enjoy home yet. It’s been mostly sleeping, but it’s going to be all my guys tonight to get a good night’s sleep and stay hungry. You stay hungry and humble and you keep playing the way you’ve been playing. 2 0 doesn’t mean anything unless you’re up 3 0 which is what counts in this series. You get too far ahead I urge our guys every to look at each at bat each at bat and every inning to every inning.
Q. Phillips started off with a 2 run homer, and what kind of spark is he on and off the field and how hard is it to find that kind of energy?
DUSTY BAKER: It’s hard to find that energy with talent. Sometimes you can find that energy but without talent it doesn’t do any good.
He sparks us on the field, off the field, on defense, on offense, and he can do many things to beat you. Like the other night when he avoided that tag and that led to two runs, that goes unnoticed but we notice it. Going first to third, taking pitches or not striking out very much. Here is a guy that can do almost anything on the baseball field.
He’s the only person that I have had probably other than that I had Barry Bonds that can bat anywhere in the lineup and feel comfortable doing that.
Q. You’ve been here for a few years. Have you seen a growth in him as a leader on this team?
DUSTY BAKER: I’ve seen a growth. When I first got here, the leaders of the team were Griffey and Dunn. When guys go elsewhere, then it allows sometimes guys to grow and allows them to grow into a leader. He’s one of our leaders here. We have a lot of leaders here in different departments.
But the “B” is the “B.” I’ve seen him grow big time since I’ve been here. When I first got here I was having to spank him once a month, do you know what I mean? Now it’s probably once every three months.
Q. Have you spoken to Johnny today? Do you have an update?
DUSTY BAKER: No, I haven’t spoken to Johnny. I spoke to my trainer. I was going to go see him when I get through talking here to decide what we’re going to do, what his body allows us to do. We’re going to do what’s best for him. I just hope that’s good for us, too.
Q. Each of your starters has a different personality or makeup or something. What stands out about Homer Bailey both to you in personality and make up and why did he blossom so much this year?
DUSTY BAKER: Number one, I think he blossomed because he has remained healthy for the first time in his career. You hope that a person blossoms and matures just through natural living and learning from your mistakes.
Our guys are different. I urge them to be different. You don’t want everybody to be cloned to be the same on your team. That’s not what life is all about. We have guys from different walks of life, different countries, different states, different one guy drives a truck, one guy drives a BMW and the other guy drives whatever.
I urge them to be themselves and I’ve said many times, his strength is also his weakness sometimes where he’s a bit stubborn sometimes, but that’s a good trait if you can direct it to the right direction.
Q. You got a nice ovation in San Francisco, a welcome back. Is this going to be a special thing for you to manage your first game here in a while and the reception you get tomorrow night?
DUSTY BAKER: I don’t know. I don’t think about it. I didn’t think about getting a reception in San Francisco. I’m just doing my job. I don’t really you don’t really like jeers and boos, but you don’t think about, you know, the cheers either, really. Like I said, I’m just doing my job. I just do the job the best I can at that point in time.
Q. Maybe a little bit on that same vein but in San Francisco, I read where you said that it was special or you felt like you were sort of appreciating things that maybe you had started to take for granted after being in the hospital. I’m wondering if winning in the playoffs counts for something to be appreciated even more and if this can continue for your team how special would that be for you, given that you watched it play without you?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, it would be very special. But I’ve been feeling that it’s been a special year from the time we got to Spring Training. I told our guys this is a special year. As far as appreciating where we are and what’s going on here, I’ve always had that appreciation.
You know, what I meant was more of an appreciation outside of the game and outside of baseball. I meant my family, just a lot of stuff. Like when you watch the geese fly over. That’s why I got my huntin’ stuff on now. I see them coming off that river now; I notice every time they come off the river. That kind of stuff. Or the half moon the other night. A lot of times you just take for granted it’s a full moon or half moon. Now all of the sudden you start seeing the moon.
I also think about my father a lot that would have been out in San Francisco at every game. These things I think about as far as playing for, as far as winning for some of the people that are responsible for me being here.
Q. Kind of in keeping with that, Johnny Rockets has taken the double bacon off the Double Dusty Baker over here, and they smothered it with couscous now. Do you think some of the fateful components of what has unfolded at the end of September, your issues, Ryan Ludwick needing time off, he comes back, he’s fresh and diving and lunging out in left field, he’s hitting. Do you believe the planets are aligning and things are in order?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I believe that. Bryan Price’s father died early in the year. I was talking to Bryan about that the other day out in San Francisco and his dad would have been there, too. His dad died this summer. These are the things you think about. I had this one kid give me a sweatshirt that said “The Year of the 12.” He gave it to me in Spring Training. I believe in that. It’s only going to be I’m only going to see one number 12 while I’m living. It’s a special year. I just feel that it’s our year.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Ryan Hanigan and his place. How much has he been part of this pitching staff and this team as a whole?
DUSTY BAKER: That’s a great question. You’re only as good as your receiver. I know the pitcher gets a lot of the credit, when he throws a good game but you got to have somebody back there which is very, very important and it’s putting down the right fingers and that you have confidence in what he’s calling. That is big!
You know, the good teams I’ve been on, you’re only as strong as you are up the middle, that’s your backbone, your pitching, second baseman, shortstop, center fielder and your catcher. He is my field general on the field, and it’s a great feeling when you trust that field general to carry out what you expect to be done.
Q. You alluded to the fact that you guys weren’t hitting well in September. How much of a concern was that going into the postseason or do you look at it as a general up and down cycle of the season?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Everybody wants to get concerned, but there isn’t a whole lot you can do with this concern. Sometimes it’s not happening but you have to be doing something on one phase of your game which was pitchin’, you know what I mean?
Our pitching was carrying us for a while. There was a time our hitting was carrying us for a while and I’m hoping now that during this course of the playoffs, both of them can carry us, you can be strong on both ends. That’s the epitome of having a great time.
But it starts with pitchin’, you know what I mean? It’s sure nice to see us score some runs. That was the first that might have been the first kind of kick back game I’ve had in about three months, maybe. You know what I mean?
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