Dusty Baker did have other things to say yesterday at the Winter Meetings, and had a better early evening interview on the MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM which was much better for Dusty as his old friend Casey Stern who conducted the interview and helped him through some clarifications on the Aroldis Chapman controversy.
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After about 5 minutes they got into Dusty’s vision,
“We’d like to be more athletic. We’d like some more speed. That’s something missing in the game, period. You know the speed. Speed kills. You look at Kansas City. You couldn’t stop them from putting the ball in play, you couldn’t stop them from going 1st to 3rd. You dribble a few in there. You need to make more contact because a ball in play is a dangerous ball. You have to catch it, you have to throw it, you have to catch it on the other side. Just play hard ball on a daily basis.”
“I’m convinced if you play 7 days a week..you play hard 7 days a week, somebody on the other side there is not playing as hard as you 7 days a week. So you pick up a game there, a game there, a game there, next thing you know you start believing that what you’re doing. The power of belief is big.”
Dusty talked about the risk of rushing a player to the Majors and said that sometimes they fail but sometimes it helps. You just never know but he would like to err on the side of caution and not rush a player to the Majors because of need.
“I know how to run the race, and I hope my team follows my lead and tries not to fight me too much on certain things.”
“I’ve had good bullpens and I know how to use them and I know how to rest them. We want to get as solid of bullpen as we can. We need some backup. Hopefully we get some surprises out of Spring Training. Some kids…I hope for some surprise of a pitcher or 2 especially where all of a sudden a guy gets it together over the Winter and you don’t know how it happens… There’s no formula… All of a sudden a guy gets a feel for a split finger or a feel for his sinker and next thing you know this guy goes from a 2 pitch pitcher to a 3 pitch pitcher and his confidence goes through the roof and next thing you know is you have a quality pitcher.”
“[Starters] believe in a quality start. I believe in a quality win. And in my 1st year in managing we shortened the game. I would take a starter out in the 7th around 80 pitches and [go to the bullpen] I had only a few guys that could go the 8th or 9th innings [as a starter]. There’s no better feeling then a confidence in your bullpen and there’s no worse feeling than a lack of confidence in your bullpen. As I tell our guys, stay close to this guy until we get to that weak sista. (laughter) The weak sista given up about 5 runs before they can get somebody loose and you don’t want to have a weak sista on your side.”
In Dusty fashion, he had them laughing and finished his Tuesday better than he started it.