10/27/2002 7:30 pm ET
MLBeat: Baker's Game 7 hunch
Celebration on Monday, win or lose in Series finale
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For his entire tenure as manager of the Giants, including his team's improbable march to the World Series, Dusty Baker
has gone with his gut feeling. Saturday night, following his team's devastating Game 6 loss to the Angels, Baker got another hunch.
"I was in the bed, watching a little TV, getting these tickets [for friends] together and all of a sudden, something just told me to go with Pedro
[Feliz as the designated hitter]" said Baker from his office at Edison Field. "Especially in this park. That's where his power is, straight away.
... I think Pedro's swing is conducive to what [Anaheim starter John] Lackey throws and where he throws it."
So Baker scratched Tom Goodwin from the lineup and called Feliz in his hotel room.
"I was psyched," he said, admitting that he was a bit surprised to get his first postseason start in Game 7 of the World Series. "I've been
working all year and being ready for the time [I'm called upon]. ... It's better to play but I've enjoyed watching."
That was the first tough decision for Baker. The next will be how long to allow Livan Hernandez to pitch if he is not in his typical postseason
form. The right-hander is prone to big innings early, but often bounces back to stick around late in the game.
Baker said that all of his relievers are available, including Felix Rodriguez, who has appeared in each of the first six games. The first guy out
of his bullpen could be Kirk Rueter, but Baker said the situation would dictate that decision. One pitcher who might see action is Jay
Witasick, though he was unavailable to pitch in Games 4 and 5 after taking a line drive off his right elbow.
"Each day that goes by, Witasick gets healthier," said Baker. "I didn't tell nobody, but he wasn't available for two days. Yesterday he felt pretty
good. It was the first day he didn't come in for treatment ... since he got hit.
"You can map out everything you want to, but it basically depends on how long Livan goes."
Baker said he and Joe Morgan talked late Saturday about the 1975 World Series, in which Morgan's Reds lost in dramatic fashion to Carlton
Fisk and the Red Sox in Game 6, only to come back and win Game 7 for the championship. During that same conversation, Morgan likely
shared his advice on how to approach a do-or-die seventh game.
"Stay within your own element and you'll be OK," he said from the field before the first pitch. "The managers have to do the same thing. All
this I hear about, 'I've got nine guys in the bullpen' and that kind of stuff, if you panic because a guy hits a home run off your starter and bring
somebody else in, another starter ... he's going to be out of his element.
"You can't change the game for one day," Morgan added. "You're going to feel different when you walk out there but you've got to control that
Celebration, win or lose: Regardless of the outcome of Game 7, Monday will be a day of tribute in San Francisco.
Should the Giants capture the world championship, a parade honoring the team will kick off at 3 p.m. PT and run its course down
Montgomery St. before ending up at City Hall. If San Francisco does not win Game 7, there will still be an event around 1 p.m. at Pacific Bell
Park where fans can come and show appreciation for the team.
Another previously planned event is Baker's trip to South Bend, Ind., where he will watch the Notre Dame-Boston College game next
Saturday, courtesy of Fighting Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham. He also plans to attend the Indianapolis Colts-Tennessee Titans NFL
game on Sunday. Yet there remains a possibility his future as Giants manager could be decided by then.
"Maybe," he said. "It depends on how much time I have to sit down and think."
If not, Baker said he might use portions of that trip to help decide whether or not he plans to return to San Francisco for his 11th season as
skipper. One thing that does not appear to be a major issue in his return is money. Though Baker is expected to get a contract that ranks
among the highest among baseball's managers, the team has fared extremely well financially during the postseason.
President and managing general partner Peter Magowan said that the difference between a World Series lasting four games and this year's that has gone seven is approximately $6 million in revenue.
Bat boy suffers first loss: Baker's son, Darren, made national news for nearly getting run over in Game 5 in addition to the fact that
the Giants were undefeated in his first eight games serving as bat boy.
But the younger Baker took his first loss Saturday night pretty hard.
"He didn't like it," said his father. "I turned around after the game and he was standing by a security guard when I was grabbing my papers
and he was crying. ... He came in my office and he hid under my desk.
"He said, 'I don't want the Angels to win.' I said, 'I don't want them to win either.'"
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.