10/19/2002 7:25 pm ET
MLBeat: Schmidt glad he's a Giant
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Jason Schmidt is on the mound in Game 1 of the World Series, but he wouldn't be if it weren't for a conversation at a closed cafe in a Boston mall at 12:30 in the morning in mid-December.
Just hours after general manager Brian Sabean and assistant GM Ned Colletti had made the decision to call Schmidt's agent, Alan Hendricks, to tell him that they were out of the bidding for his client, Colletti wandered through the closed mall attached to a Boston Sheraton, where the winter meetings were being held.
Colletti was with Giants scout John DiCarlo and he bumped into Hendricks, who was accompanied by someone in the Dodgers' organization. Before long, it was just Colletti and Hendricks.
"We sat down and had a real heart to heart with no B.S. and no posturing," said Colletti. "It was just the two of us at one in the morning, sitting in a closed cafe in a closed mall. We talked, I told him our concerns about the money where we were at, what we could afford to do.
"If [Schmidt's] heart was set on more money and going some place else, that was what would happen."
That's when Hendricks said, "Don't be so sure he doesn't want to stay."
The two put together the parameters of a four-year, $30-million deal and the next morning, they worked out a few kinks in the contract.
"Within 24 hours of the meeting in the mall," said Colletti, "I was in Chicago, he was in Houston and Jason Schmidt was coming back to the Giants."
Schmidt turned out to be the Giants ace for most of the season and Friday, he thought back to his decision not to sign with his hometown team, the Mariners during the winter.
"I thought about it the whole year, 'What if Seattle ends up doing what they did last year, making it the whole way?'" he said. "Instead, here I am. Obviously, it was the right decision and I couldn't be happier."
Playoff roster set: After much debate, the Giants opted to keep their roster the same for the World Series as it was in the NLCS, featuring a trio of left-handers in the bullpen and no left-handed hitters on the bench.
"Had we been playing all American League games, we probably would have went with Damon [Minor]" said manager Dusty Baker. "But we've got some National League games, which is the reason why we stayed the way we were."
The Giants contemplated activating Marvin Benard, but opted against it because the veteran outfielder had not seen much live action over the past four months.
In Game 1, Baker decided to have Tsuyoshi Shinjo serve as the designated hitter rather than Shawon Dunston, whom Baker said would fill that role in Game 2. He made that decision based on the fact that Shinjo is a high fastball hitter and has performed well against left-handers this season (.291, 4 HR, 20 RBI). Anaheim starter Jarrod Washburn is a southpaw who often throws high heat.
Baker also considered having Kenny Lofton serve as the designated hitter and Shinjo play center field, but a discussion with Lofton changed his mind.
"He hadn't had very much success DHing," said Baker. "He doesn't feeling like he stays in the game. Everybody doesn't favor DHing. That was the major reason. ... If a guy doesn't feel comfortable doing it and hasn't had much success doing it, it's not a very good move."
Good distractions: Baker said that he slept well Friday night because he was worn out by playing "sock baseball" with his three-year-old son, Darren, in the hotel room until 10:30 p.m. Still, Baker admitted to feeling the butterflies a bit before Saturday's game.
"You're a little nervous," he said. "You wish you knew what was going to happen but it's a good nervousness. Like Hank Aaron told us years ago, it's ok to be nervous, just don't be scared. You're going to be nervous. I don't care what your name is."
Josh Rawitch is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.