JIM LEYLAND: I want to do whatever is
in the best interests of baseball. And if the
Commissioner and everybody says we'll play
baseball tonight, which I think we will, we'll play
baseball. I really have no say in the decision
whether to play or not. And whatever decision is
made, I'll honor it.
I'm ready to play tonight. It's going to be a
little miserable, probably, but it's not going to be
any different for the Cardinals than it is for us.
In regards to Kenny Rogers, you
said you didn't want to pitch him in this
atmosphere. Were you saying the potentially
hostile response would disrupt him?
JIM LEYLAND: You know, this is another
one of those where it's good for the journalists,
because they all have opinions, and that's good. I
don't have any problem with that, it's not going to
change my mind. My view was I want to pitch him
Game 2 and 6, and I heard one TV personality say
that he thinks the hostile environment would really
motivate Kenny, and I don't buy that. I think it
would probably work the opposite. I think the
environment in Comerica Park motivates Kenny.
The bottom line is we have to win three
games. So if somebody thinks, well, you have a
better chance to extend it by pitching Kenny
tonight, well, that may or may not be. But my
thought process is I'm not going to change
anything. Plus Kenny, you know, he's had quite a
bit of rest during this run, two extra days, and he's
responded very well to it. We have to win three
games. I made that decision and however people
want to look at that, I'm sure you can make a case
for either way.
And I will say this, if it was one game left, I
would pitch Kenny. But we've got to win three.
How much stock do you put in
experience, having been here before?
Obviously the Cardinals have a core that has
been in the postseason quite a bit and been to
a World Series, you guys have quite a few who
have not. Has that made a difference in terms
of some of these errors or throwing errors or
JIM LEYLAND: No, I think if the ball is
wet and you don't get it gripped just right, it can slip
out of anybody's hand. I don't buy that. The
reason the Detroit Tigers are here, if you want to
make a case for that, we shouldn't be here,
because the Yankees had more experience than
we did, a lot of the Oakland players had more
experience than we did. We probably shouldn't
have even gotten into the playoffs if you want to go
on the experience. The White Sox aren't even in
the playoffs this year, and they're the defending
I'll take talent. There's a lot of
combinations when you're 1-3 that didn't go right,
but a lot of it is we've just really haven't had much
breathing room and we really haven't done
anything offensively, in my opinion. Obviously,
yes, when you play a tight game, like we did last
night, you've got to make the plays, but nobody
can help the fact that a man slipped on a wet
surface. It came at a real dramatic time, during the
World Series. If that happened during the regular
season, you might see it on the highlights for a
second then you wouldn't see it anymore. But now
you'll probably be watching it for a long time.
They're still talking about Curt Flood,
Christ, that was 1968 (laughter.)
This hasn't been asked, you mentioned the
pitchers errors, have you ever seen anything like
it? Any of your pitching staffs ever made this many
errors in consecutive games like this, and do you
have any explanation for it?
JIM LEYLAND: I think it's a record, from
what somebody told me. I hope we don't break it
But any ways, I think we just set a record
for pitcher errors in consecutive games or
something, and you always try to find alternatives
silver lining in everything. So obviously next spring
when we talk about PFP, none of the pitchers will
be bitching about it, when they see what happened
in the World Series.
I've already come up with a thing next
spring, I know this sounds crazy, but I'm going to
have the grounds crew sprinkle out in front of
home plate and make it wet on a couple of
occasions, and have them work it and pick up the
ball and work in wet conditions. It may sound
crazy, but we're going to do it. We're going to have
them water the field in front of the grass and roll
some bunts out and make them throw it. There is
something to it, I think, because Rodney, it was
wet, he gripped the ball with everything, it wasn't a
normal grip when he threw it, and he kind of
pushed it and it slipped out on him.
I haven't seen anything like it, but I don't
believe that's the reason we're.
You always talk about after a loss
that you don't want your team to hang its head,
you want them to act normal and maintain the
routine. The hours leading up to tonight games
what do you want to see, do you want to hear
in the clubhouse among the guys?
JIM LEYLAND: I don't know, I think a lot
of that stuff gets carried away. There's simple
things that you say to them, I say something to
them before each and every game. We're going to
play this game. I talked to them yesterday about it.
We just have to remember what it took us to get
here and how hard we worked to get here, and not
get caught up in if we lose, it's over, and if we win
we have to go back to Detroit.
We have to have respect how hard we
worked to get here. We're a World Series team.
It's pretty amazing where we've come from. So I
think you look at the positive things and you stay
with that and you know that if you win a ballgame
tonight you're still playing, and I keep emphasizing
that. The postseason, if you win the next game,
you always play the next day. If we didn't, we're
going to go home. We're going to try to get better.
And obviously next year, but we still got a
legitimate shot. We're talking about nine innings to
win a game. Can we do that? Absolutely. Will
we? I have no idea.
There's no special message. These guys
are all bright young men, they can figure it out.
With Polanco, what can you say or
do with him to kind of help him get going at the
JIM LEYLAND: I have no clue. If I knew
that, I would have done it three games ago. But
he's one of our most professional hitters. In fact, I
think he's one of the most professional hitters in
the American League. Maybe not productive
home run-wise and stuff, but he's a tremendous
He had a line shot last night, he hit a bullet
to leftfield. When we needed to get the guy over, I
didn't need to sacrifice, because I knew he could
hit it that way. He hasn't had, obviously, a very
good World Series offensively, although he has hit
a few balls pretty good, and the ones he hit good
were caught. It's been one of those little funks
where if you hit it good, it's right at somebody. But
he's definitely one of our guys. I mean, I think the
world of him. He's a professional hitter and I can
honestly say without Placido Polanco, he's one
guy, we wouldn't have been here without him.
There's no question about that. You just have to
hope he finds some holes tonight.
Can you think of a player that you've
seen or managed or managed against that you
would draw parallels with with Eckstein?
JIM LEYLAND: I'd have to think about
that. I think that the No. 1 thing about Eckstein is
that people don't really give him the credit for the
amount of talent he has. This guy is a much more
talented player than I think is the perception. I
mean, this guy is very tough to strike out. He can
pop a ball, I'm not talking about home run power,
but he makes -- he never misses a ground ball.
They say, well, he doesn't have a strong arm, but
everybody is always out. This guy is really a
talented player. And I think what happens is
because he's smaller in physical structure
everybody thinks that there's this cute little kid,
doesn't have a lot of talent, but nice kid, plays
hard, hustles. You know, believe me, there's a lot
more to this guy than that. This guy is a very
talented baseball player.
I've never seen him miss a ground ball.
And I can remember talking to Don Zimmer, who I
talk to all the time, a couple of years ago told me
about him. He said, you look at him, you can't
figure it out. And then during the course of the
game he's in the middle of every single thing. He's
gone after ground balls in a series, he's in the right
spot every time. This guy is a heck of a player.
And I think it's unfair that he really doesn't get the
credit that he deserves for having as much talent
as he does. This guy is a very talented guy. And
he's also obviously a very tough kid.
This will only be the second time in
the last two weeks that you guys will play
consecutive days, how much of a relief is that
for your guys?
JIM LEYLAND: I think it's obviously good
for us. But once again, believe me when I tell you,
I'm not looking to find anything that would indicate
that we're feeling sorry for ourselves or we have
some reason for not doing well. I'm not going to do
that. Obviously we need to play, we haven't
played very much. Have we been a little stale?
We probably have been. But I'm just not going to
get into that because I just think that people take
that the wrong way, and somebody along the line
is going to say, the Tigers are looking for excuses.
There's no excuses. I just won't tolerate that.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.