'Last minute' talks irk unsigned Baker


ANAHEIM, Calif. - With his team about to play Game 7 of the World Series, San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker faced another heavy dose of questions about his uncertain future last night and gave one of his most telling answers.

Baker's contract is about to expire, and Giants owner Peter Magowan has put off addressing the situation until after the season. Magowan said he hopes to have the matter resolved within a week to 10 days.

"It might even take longer than that," Magowan said last night. "I don't know."

Asked what he would want Magowan to tell him to indicate the team wants him back, Baker said, "I don't know right now. If somebody wanted me back, then they would - a lot of times you wouldn't wait until the last minute to tell them."

The Chicago Cubs reportedly are willing to offer Baker whatever it takes to make him their next manager, and there has been speculation the Seattle Mariners will be interested too, once Lou Piniella officially signs with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Going to Disneyland

What will the Anaheim Angels do after winning their first World Series?

The team owned by The Walt Disney Co. is going to Disneyland, of course.

The Angels will parade down Main Street starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow. They will be joined by Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly and Jackie Autry, widow of singing cowboy Gene Autry, the team's former owner.

The festivities will continue at 11 a.m. at the Arrowhead Pond with the official Angels victory parade, which will make its way through Anaheim to Edison Field for a fan appreciation party at noon.

The Angels will appear later that afternoon at Disney's California Adventure.

Starting at 3 p.m., fans will be able to ask the players questions and participate in special activities, culminating in a concert and fireworks display at 7:30 p.m.

Lineup surprise

Baker used Pedro Feliz, 24, as his designated hitter last night, starting him for the first time in the Series. Feliz, a right-handed hitter, was hitless in his previous two Series at-bats.

"Young Pedro Feliz is going to be a star, No. 1," Baker said. "I think he can handle it. No. 2, I think his swing and his happy zone - where he likes the ball - is more conducive against [Angels starter John] Lackey."

Baker also noted how right-handers were hitting .317 against Lackey, and lefties .210.

The theories were fine, but not the results. Feliz was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Vote of confidence

Angels manager Mike Scioscia has tried to avoid getting dragged into the Giants' managerial controversy, but he did field a question before yesterday's game about the uncertainty of Baker's status.

"Not knowing the environment of the Giants' organization and not knowing the relationships, it's tough to comment," Scioscia said. "I know how I feel about Dusty. I know there's not many people in the game of baseball that I respect as much as Dusty. He's incredible. He's obviously a leader."

No new insight

Scioscia was asked during the pre-game news conference if he had learned anything new about Barry Bonds during the course of the World Series, during which Bonds has hit four mammoth home runs.

"No," Scioscia said. "I've seen Barry long enough to know that him hitting one more home run wasn't going to have me gain any more respect for his talent.

"I don't think anyone can deny what an offensive force he is that really transcends eras. If you go back, it's not just saying that Barry Bonds is maybe the best hitter today, you might go back generations and come up with the same analysis."

Monkey business

The Angels have seen an amazing surge in souvenir sales during the postseason, as might be expected from the team that brought fans the now-famous "Rally Monkey." The team is grossing about $1 million per day on merchandise on postseason game days and about $100,000 per day on off days. The Angels' cut of the pie is about 25 percent of the gross, but it adds up pretty quickly.

The net profits from the postseason -ticket sales, concessions and parking - should reach about $7 million, which is a nice boost for a team that was projected to lose $18 million this year.

Preparation is a hit ...

It probably doesn't do much for the egos of the pitching coaches to watch the ball carom around the ballpark like a giant pinball machine, but the fact that this has been one of the highest-scoring World Series in history doesn't bother Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.

Can he explain it? "I don't know," he said. "I mean, from our side, our guys do a great job of preparing. They study the films of the pitcher they're going to face that night, all the way through the relievers. They've done this all season. We'll come in after batting practice, they'll get in front of the TV, sit back and relax and get a game plan."

... but the TV ratings aren't

Even though the World Series went seven games, it still may set a record low for televising ratings.

Anaheim's thrilling 6-5 comeback win Saturday received an 11.8 preliminary national rating and 21 share, Nielsen Media Research said yesterday.

Despite the Angels' rally from a 5-0 seventh-inning deficit against San Francisco, the rating dropped 14 percent from Game 6 last year, when Arizona's 15-2 rout of the New York Yankees got an 13.8/24.

Each rating point for the broadcast networks represents 1,080,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 100.8 million TV homes, and overnight ratings measure the largest markets, comprising 63 percent of the United States. The share is the percentage of in-use TVs tuned to a program.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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