Well it's kind of an unbelievable history. I think this kid almost made the Big League club. The only reason we keep him is because he could have played center field, shortstop and could play different positions. We were in trouble at the second base position then we give him the shot, play well, play great, and Alexei is a complete ball player. He can do a lot of things people don't even know about it. He plays the game right. I think one of the biggest reasons we are where we are because him.
A lot of people are gonna remember the grand slam against Detroit maybe? Yeah. He does better stuff than that all year long. His play is consistent.
I'm glad we take the shot and keep him here and, you know, this kid has a great future. You know, this kid's got a tremendous chance, a great career.
Unfortunately, you know, he should be Rookie of the Year, he should, but I don't make that decision. But the way he played. The one he's been out there and do what he is suppose to do, he should have a legit shot.
In that same sense, you have Ramirez and Longoria in this series. Do you kind of think these are two guys who will be carrying baseball -- two stars big stars of the future?
You see those two guys walk on the field you know they're baseball players. I mean, it's kind of -- those guys are going to be part of Mauers and the Gomez and the Quentins.
The a new era of baseball players coming out, DeJesus, coming out of the American League. All those kids, they're going to come and make baseball fun. And those two guys are going to be the key.
You look at Longoria making the All Star team and carrying his ball club to the playoffs and same way with Ramirez. It's fun to see that competition.
I remember a couple years, whoever it was a little bit good it was Rookie of the Year. Now the competition is harder. It's come back to be better. And I think that's awesome for baseball. We got a lot of superstars. I don't want to say over the hill, but almost done. And all these kids coming out and playing the way they play right now I think it will be great for baseball.
That's why I think the Rookie of the Year voting is going to be tough, because those two day guys in the pennant race, I'm sorry in the playoff, those two guys compete all year long and it's going to be fun.
Ozzie, for those of us who don't know Danks, can you talk about what kind of guy he is, how is he able to blank out the pressure in the playoff game and do you see him having another game in him like that?
I don't know if he will pitch the same way as he pitched against Minnesota but mentally this kid is pretty tough. I don't think he's always blocked everything out. I think he's got got a little bit of Mark Buehrle mentally. Don't let anything bother him on the mound. He is a pretty good competitor. He's got fire. He wants to do good. But their starters are tough, good pitchers.
But I think I like the make up of this kid. And this kid shows everybody -- in the course of a year, every game you pitched it was do or die. Floyd and Danks, if we don't win with those two guys I would not be sitting here right now. I hope he put a show like he did last time because I think he deserves it and near that spot.
Has it crossed your mind at all, I mean, when you are looking at Tampa Bay and you had a chance to see Minnesota that you are saying I wish I had a team that did that instead of a team that does what this team does where it's either feast or famine? Something where you could actually do more and manage more?
I wish I could, but I think -- I'm in the playoffs for a reason. The only reason we're in the playoffs is because those guys are playing well for me all year long.
A lot of people say we're not playing good on artificial grass. But the people playing artificial grass is Minnesota and Tampa Bay.
They think they're going to win. I this think they build the ball club they way they thought it would be better for them.
Those two franchises don't have the money that other franchises have. That's my opinion. The Boston, the White Sox, all those people got the money and that's why they have to build a club of young talent, put it together the best weapons they can get, trying to put the best kids out there. Last three years I think Tampa Bay be so underrated. They made great trades. They won one way and they stick with them. But guys were there all were going crazy.
I think there's a reason. We had the ball club built by pitching and power. And we played like that all year long. And I'm not going to say we played great but we played good enough to be where we are right now. And that's what we got. And I think that's the reason the difference between those two organizations or two ball clubs and us.
Would you have moved John up ahead of Gavin for tomorrow's game even if John didn't pitch as well as he did against the Twins?
The reason I did it just because I wanted a lefty against them. That's it. Because the game got before -- I mean that is the only reason I did it. I wanted to see them face another lefty.
Ozzie, their bullpen they use a lot of guys. They've been pretty effective recently. What makes that bullpen good, Tampa Bay's?
It's one thing and one thing only, the starting rotation. The starting rotation go two, three innings. They're going to be in deep trouble. But the starting rotation go six, seven innings, hold the lead or keep the game close that's why they've been so effective. Those guys out there and throw strikes. That's the only two things I really think about how they are out of the bullpen right now.
Ozzie, are you the type of manager that takes positives away from losses especially like, say yesterday? Do you stress some of this positiveness that the game could have gone either way until that eighth inning?
I don't have any choice. I think we compete. One thing about it different was, and I keep saying, that the difference was they got 12 hits and six runs. We got 12 hits, two runs.
In the first inning and we left too many people on base. I don't know what the reason that happens always when we play Tampa at Tampa Bay. Because that happened all year long. We left a hundred thousand people on base. And maybe because of the bullpen's pretty good. Or because we're not playing Chicago baseball. But it's not happening just a couple day days ago it just happened all summer.
Ozzie, when you look in their clubhouse, they're hungry, they're young, they want that first Title. You can feel the excitement. Your clubhouse is a lot more professional. They've been there before. Is the hunger the same if you've already won it once before? And how do you have to keep that level of intensity up?
I think we're not changing anything. You know, we lost all year long. We just laid back type of people. I think we're more hungrier than they are because the opportunity to win more over the years. We got a couple guys almost career's over and then they'll never win the World Series. Griffey and Thome -- and I think they should be more hungry because they don't have too long a career.
Tampa Bay has a chance for a long time. They're young they have maybe another ten shots to be out there. But I don't think they're excited about it. I think they play all year the same way. Looking at everybody, they treat each other like brothers. You can see the sides, they're just a bunch of kids having fun. Nothing better. When you play good you have fun. Forget about it. If you play good you have fun. And that's what those guys do all year long.
It's different ball club, but, you know, we got the same enthusiasm the same hunger they are.
Ozzie, why do you think you guys have struggled indoors?
I think because the team plays indoors they build the ball club to do that. I think that's the only reason I see it. Minnesota, we had a lot of problems playing there. They have their own way to play. They got their own style, and that's the only way I can look at it.
Talking about playing in domes, can you talk about the advantage it is playing at home. Joe Maddon talked about it the other day that the infield usually around first base is a little more wet to slow them down, a little bit on the base path. Can you talk about that home field advantage?
How do we know that I never run the bases here? (Laughter.) I never talked to I will talk to Roger about it. That's going to be our advantage I will tell them make sure you have a swimming pool at first base. (Laughter.) But I don't get into that. I don't. Believe me I don't. Because I think they're going to run no matter what even if the field is wet. The field is always wet here because that's the way we keep it all around the bases.
We were going to try to trick it, no, I don't think that's an advantage. I might next year when they play here there will be a lot of complaints by Major League Baseball because you can't even move there. But I think we play good here. The I think this ballpark for some reason we play better. And we hit a lot of home runs here. But it's different now. It's cold weather -- it's cold weather now and the ball is not going to travel the way it did in the summer but we'll see what happened. Maybe that's why my team is slow because the field is wet. But not for me.
You mentioned you looked across the dugout and see the Tampa Bay guys are goofing around and like each other. Do you think your team likes each other? You said they fight and they play hard but do you think they actually like each other when it comes down to it?
I don't care if they like each other the only thing I care is make sure you play to win. When you win people love each other you know what I mean. It doesn't matter. I think the difference -- we have veteran clubhouse, veteran guys, you know, they go about the business different way.
On the other side you see a bunch of kids there just I don't want to say happy just to be there, just like enjoying the moment. But you know when you got Konerko, Dye, Thome, Griffey, those are laid back type of guys. And it's just different personality. Quentin, Crede, all those guys almost the same. Over there you got Gomez and Pena, you look at Pena -- I love the Pena thing because Pena was relieved by everybody. Now he is the head quarter of the ball club. And I think he should feel proud himself be what it is and who he is.
And to me those guys just go out there and have fun. Like I say, I think they enjoy the moment.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.