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Ring could be thing for Baker
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07/14/2003  8:20 PM ET 
Ring could be thing for Baker
Will Cubs skipper wear his Giants hardware Tuesday?
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Dusty Baker (right) jokes around with the Braves' Rafael Furcal (left) and Angels coach Alfredo Griffin on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. (M. Spencer Green/AP)
CHICAGO -- Dusty Baker will be wearing a Chicago Cubs hat when he steps on the field to manage the National League All-Stars on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. But he got the honor because he guided the San Francisco Giants to the World Series last year.

Will he wear something Tuesday from his Giants days, like his NL championship ring?

"That's a good idea," Baker said Monday. "I might do it now that you mention it. I wear it when I need some power. I should've been wearing it last week."

It could've helped the Cubs, who went 4-6 on their homestand and head into the All-Star break at 47-47, three games behind Houston in the Central Division.

This is Baker's first turn at managing the All-Star team and he was working on an outline for a pregame pep talk.

"I don't know what I'm going to tell them," he said. "I don't need to tell these stars too much.

"One thing is for sure, we're on the same side for two days," he said.

The winner of the All-Star Game will determine who gets home field advantage in the World Series. Baker didn't think the players needed much motivation.

"They have personal pride," he said. "If they didn't have personal pride, they wouldn't have made it this far and wouldn't have made it into pro ball. A lot of these guys had to work hard to get to this point.

"Pride is not a factor. Nobody wants to look bad, especially when you're an All-Star and the world is watching, the lights go on, families are watching, friends watching," he said.

2003 All-Star Game

2003 All-Star Game information >

Being the All-Star manager is a tough assignment. Baker said he wants to get everyone in the game, but he also recognizes he may hold some players back to make sure he doesn't run into the problem last year when the two teams ran out of pitchers.

"I'm going to try to play guys but I'm also trying to win the game as well," Baker said. "I play the game to win. I don't care if I play my mom or my daughter or my wife. I play to win. I don't like guys to go thousands of miles and not get the opportunity to play."

He'll also be careful. Florida rookie pitcher Dontrelle Willis was a late addition to the National League team and threw 104 pitches in his start Sunday. Could he be available on short rest for Tuesday's game?

"I've got to talk to him to see how he rebounds," Baker said. "That's very dangerous territory for a kid with one-day's rest.

"What's more important -- for people to see him or is it the health and well-being of the young man?"

Baker said he would likely hold back Willis and Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, who bruised his right shoulder in a collision Friday that knocked All-Star second baseman Marcus Giles of Atlanta out of Tuesday's game.

The All-Star experience can be exhausting.

"I know how tired Barry (Bonds) is every year coming back," Baker said. "Last year, I gave Barry the first day off after the All-Star Game. He was spent. They're tired when they get here. Most of the guys who were All-Stars are doing most of the work for their team. They're carrying most of the load or they wouldn't be All-Stars in the first place."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.




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