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An interview with Cole Hamels

An interview with Cole Hamels

You grew up obviously on the West Coast. Can you talk a little bit maybe about the West Coast fans, their attitude towards baseball and how you found is it the same, different than East Coast atmosphere over here in Philadelphia?

COLE HAMELS: You know, growing up on the West Coast, I think there's more to do. There's more opportunities other than devoting your whole attention to sports.

I think on the West Coast everybody is very active. I think they're outside a little bit more and so when you have good weather you can be at the beach. You can be mountain biking. You can be just playing with your kids. Versus being on the East Coast where I think it's just kind of the history and just kind of that long time evolution of sports.

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I think this is where football and baseball and hockey were kind of just what took up everybody's lives because that was the fun and excitement. So being on the East Coast, I think the fans are more passionate and they're more involved with the game and they understand the game a little bit more.

On the West Coast, I think when I went to the games we arrived at the 3rd inning and left by the 8th. You didn't really know. You had to wake up the next morning to see if the team won, versus the East Coast they're here. They'll be after the game cheering you on. I think that's been great for what I've experienced and great for a player. And that's something you want to play in front of.

Also, I think the West Coast, it's more of a business adventure when you take somebody to a game. You're almost trying to break the next business deal or something and in the East Coast, it's everybody is wearing jerseys versus a suit and tie and everybody are eating the hot dogs and everything.

So it's just something where I love the West Coast, don't get me wrong. I hope they don't kill me now (smiling). They're never going to invite me back. It's just something that the East Coast, they're more passionate and more involved and I think that just brings the love of the game a little bit more.

Manny Ramirez, what has he added to the Dodgers lineup in your eyes?

COLE HAMELS: He's added confidence. I think he's the type of guy that is bringing his .330 career average, I don't know what it is, it's something like that, it's ridiculous, to a team that has young guys who have all the guys that have all the potential in the world.

And I think with that extra confidence in the lineup and him being around to teach them, they're able to go out and be themselves and grow as a player. And I think that's something where you start to see that lineup blossom and start to really, I guess, scare a lot of teams. And they've been able to produce. Which has gotten them this far. So any time you get a person like that, I really credit Jamie for doing that to our pitching staff.

So to really get to that next level, you need to have somebody that can help you. And I think that's what Manny's done for the Dodgers.

Outside of Manny, who do you see as a big threat to you in their lineup?

COLE HAMELS: Everyone. I think every single one opposed to the pitcher, but then again they can get a big hit now and then. Their whole lineup from start to finish is very talented. They've all had success. They all can put some damage on the scoreboard with a quick home run here and there. They steal bases. So every single one of them you cannot take lightly. You really have to go after them and attack them and try to put them in an opportunity where the pitcher has the upper hand versus them. And I think that has to do with having the count in your favor.

With all the drama, the intensity, the attention, the focus on the first game of a big post season series, how are you able to filter that out and just go about the necessary business that you needed to do?

COLE HAMELS: I think it's something where I've let my routine of working out really kind of dictate what I'm thinking and how I'm performing. I think when you're so focused on for myself making myself feel healthy and feel strong, then you don't really think about the game as much. You just think about trying to be in the best possible shape I can possibly be in. And that's what I've been able to do is this routine that I've started ever since spring training and being able to learn what it's like to pitch in a full season.

I think that's taken a lot of my thought processes away from all the games I had during the season, just because I was wanting to pitch every five days. So I didn't even care who I was pitching against I just wanted to be out there. I think that's what's helped me get through the season. And I think it's helped me right now, because I want to be that guy that can go out there into the post season and have success. And I think the success for me is not necessarily what's on the scoreboard but feeling healthy, because I know if I do feel healthy I can help this team out.

I can't control the whole game or the outcome. I'm only a small part. I can only limit the team from scoring runs. But even if I limit a team from scoring runs and we don't score runs then you didn't really have success. You have to have the other guys on the team to pick you up. As long as I do my part, I think I can help this team out and I think they're going to go out and do their job and we'll be able to come away with a victory.

Cole, pretty much along the same lines. You threw a lot of innings this year, but then you've had like only one start in two weeks the way the schedule has broken. How much has that helped you at this point, do you think has it kind of refreshed you entering this series?

COLE HAMELS: It has, not having to pitch Game 5 definitely helped out. I'd love to have been the guy to decide that but the it makes things a little nicer and relieves the stress tension knowing you get to pitch another Game 1. And going out there with seven days off just allows your body to fully recover.

And when you're able to go out there and have that confidence that you feel good and you're able to practice efficiently, then you know when you get out there on the mound you're going to be effective just because you've been preparing and you've been doing everything the right way.

You said before Game 1 of the division series you were just going to take it like another game. After having pitched in that game, is it different? And is there anything from that game you're using as part of your preparation for this start?

COLE HAMELS: I don't think it's different. I think it's different to the fact when you're not playing. When you're sitting there seeing the crowd go nuts and you want to win so bad and I can't do anything about it. They're not going to put me in to pinch hit any time soon, you guys already saw. I'm not going to get to take part in these games. I think it's the part when you're playing it's the game and you enjoy it so much you've been working so hard since spring training to go out there and win to the best of your ability.

So going out there in Game 1 I was able to accomplish a lot just by getting ahead of hitters and getting them out. This game against the Dodgers I think it helps that I have faced them this year. I think that was kind of the problem I had last year, I never faced Colorado so I didn't know what to expect. Being able to face the Dodgers twice this year kind of gives me a heads up of what I can look for, the angles, the holes, what guys are going to do, the potential that guys can either steal on you or hit the big home run when that time comes.

So just being able to I guess kind of get that edge. And I think that's what's going to help me in this game is knowing that I've played against them. It's not going to be a new experience. And just going out there and treating it as another game, even though I really do want to win.

Along the same lines now that you've pitched in the division series and won, as you go championship series, World Series, do you feel like you're moving up a notch and have a new challenge in front of you or is the post season simply the post season and that's that?

COLE HAMELS: I think it's the post season. I do think that as you keep continuing to win, this room will get a little more crowded (chuckling). But it's the attention that the fans give it. It's been great. Just seeing the support that they give us every single day. I guess the people wearing Philly outfits during -- I know this is a testy sort of time wearing red when it's supposed to be green. But I think for them to give us the support for the next couple of weeks has been tremendous. And I think it's just great for the city and being able to go out there and win for them is going to just make us feel a lot better that they stuck with us ever since February.

One of the things we've been asking about is the great playoff history between the Phillies and the Dodgers. Larry Bowa was in here talking about it and Davey Lopes coming in. It was 30 years ago. I don't mean this to say you should know, but when I say to you "Black Friday," do you know what that is?

COLE HAMELS: No, because I know I wasn't born then. I guess if somebody is talking about Black Friday, I suppose somebody lost, probably the Phillies.

But my question is, there's all the history of any team that anybody plays on, how important is it for this group to sort of carve your own path to make your own sort of name for yourself in that realm?

COLE HAMELS: I think it's always important, because even though there's history between teams, all of us on this team came from a different city. We all grew up rooting for a different team. I don't know anybody in this room that was born in Philadelphia and rooted for the Phillies growing up.

Jamie.

COLE HAMELS: Jamie, that's true. You got me wrong on that one. But that's kind of what we've been put on this team, and we've come together. The organization has done a great job in welcoming us. So we've learned to I guess experience what Philadelphia is all about and to have the fans take us in and I think we are living the moment of 2008. And we want to be the team of 2008, not the 1980s, not 1993. Not even 2007.

We want to be the team that everybody remembers as the team of 2008, went to the World Series and won the World Series. And so it's something that we've been with each other since February, and I think it's just something where we've developed tremendous friendships and bonds that we want to be able to have these memories for when we're older and we're retired and out of the game.

Speaking of Jamie Moyer, yesterday he was talking about the fact that sometimes every hitter -- you have a book on each hitter. But you don't necessarily always pitch them the same way because perhaps they come to town, something is a little different about the way they're doing it. Is it something you notice you have a starting point with each hitter but as you're pitching you realize he's not performing the way I thought or he's more susceptible here or there than I thought and adjust it series to series?

COLE HAMELS: You have to. That's what everybody talks about being in the Big Leagues, the reason we're in the Big Leagues is because we make the adjustments the quickest. We don't make it game to game. We make it from pitch to pitch.

And I think that's what you have to realize if you want to have success at this level, you have to be able to learn something from every swing and every at bat that this guy takes, because when it comes down to the certain level that we are right now this is when it really matters.

And so we've had 162 games to practice and now it really is the time to go out there and play and take what we've learned this whole season and execute it. And I think that's something where you start at a certain point in the game and you go about trying to get the guy out, but the moment he changes, you have to be able to counter that. And I think that's something where I've learned how to do that throughout this year, that I most necessarily never would have known last year or the year before that.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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