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World Series | GIANT NOTES

Magowan Stays Noncommittal About Baker

October 20, 2002|Jason Reid and HELENE ELLIOTT

General Manager Brian Sabean and Manager Dusty Baker, whose contracts expire after the World Series, will soon know whether they will remain with the San Francisco Giants, the club's owner said Saturday.

Peter Magowan, managing general partner, said a decision on Sabean, who is expected to return, could come "a day or two" after the Giants' final game, and that the managerial situation would be resolved "within a week."

Does that mean Magowan has someone on deck to replace the three-time manager of the year, reportedly among the leading candidates for openings with the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs?

"I'm not talking about that," said Magowan, surrounded by a throng of reporters in the visiting dugout at Edison Field before Game 1. "I just think we'll know. I think we'll know who it's going to be."

Does Magowan want Baker to return?

"I don't want to say," he said. "If I say it, it interferes with the general manager's responsibility and authority on doing what he wants to do. If I say, 'I think he's the greatest manager in baseball and I absolutely want him to be here,' then [how can I] tell the general manager, 'Whoever you have as your manager is going to be OK with me?' How's he going to take that when I, as his boss, have gone out and said that?"

Magowan did praise Baker for leading the Giants to the National League pennant.

"We've played well in the postseason, we had not done that in the previous nine years, so that's definitely a positive development," said Magowan, who hired Baker. "He's gotten the job done. He's managed beautifully in the playoffs. I honestly think he outmanaged two of the best managers in baseball in Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. And we won."

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Magowan fondly remembers when the World Series wasn't exclusively late-night TV.

"As a kid who loved the game of baseball, I would not have been allowed by my dad, at 9 and 10 years old, to stay up to 11, 12 at night to watch games, even if it was my favorite team," he said. "At least not on a school night, so I am very sympathetic. This is a very difficult problem."

But Fox paid $1.5 billion for postseason rights -- and prime time is moneymaking time.

"We can wear our purists' hats and we can be advocates for children who want to watch games," he said, "but there are a lot of bills that have to be paid."

-- Jason Reid

Baker likes the designated hitter -- but for the American League, not for his own league.

"It gave an opportunity for a lot of guys that can still play, or still hit, at least to continue to hit and play," he said. "It gives an opportunity to give guys days off. There is a place for it, I think.... But I like our style of baseball over here."

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Encino native Russ Ortiz needed two game plans for his start today: one on how to face the Angels' batters and one for handling ticket requests from friends and relatives.

The 28-year-old right-hander said he took care of the ticket request problem early. "I tried to nip it in the bud," he said. "I asked, before everybody else called me. I asked them, 'Hey, who wants to come to the game, and I'll get tickets?' So we got that taken care of in a nice and timely fashion."

As for the Angels, whom he hasn't seen since spring training, that took more preparation.

"When I look at video and hear the reports, I try to take in as much information as possible and go about it like I would at the beginning of the season, just kind of looking at every single little detail," he said. "As opposed to the [division series and National League championship series] where I saw the guys, and so I learned quite a few things from watching our other pitchers throw, or facing them myself. This time, it's just trying to get every little detail I can."

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Anyone who had bet on Baker knowing the name of the Angels' home field would have lost. Asked about the baseball memories he accumulated while growing up in Riverside, he waxed poetic about Steve Bilko, Albie Pearson, Dean Chance, Bo Belinsky and Bobby Knoop.

"So it's really pretty neat to have grown up watching both sides," he said, "and then here I am managing here in Angels Stadium."

He paused when he heard laughter. "Or what is it called now, Edison Field?"

--HELENE ELLIOTT

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