There's so many positives to be derived from the season. I think
it's great for us, it's great for the game, it's great for this division to
add another wonderful rivalry, so I agree with you. I think it's
something that we look forward to.
After the loss, is it better just to get a day off for the team,
and talk about you've lost one but you've still got the lead. Is it
better to just let Floyd and those guys handle coming out tonight
and closing it out or do you feel that you have to say
JOE MADDON: No, I want to handle it like we've
handled all other difficult situations this year. I thought we reacted
to it properly. Our guys were upset, but they got over it rather
quickly, which was good.
Coming on the plane, I liked them. Today in the clubhouse, I liked
them. I do like the idea that we have enough veterans within the
group now that they can take the message out there from us as a
coaching staff. Of course we're going to talk to the guys in passing,
in the food room, as they're just walking through the clubhouse, et
cetera. That's how it should work.
We've lost some difficult games this year. Of course, that one was
most difficult. But I think we've trained ourselves to be able to
move forward, and I really believe our guys have, and I know
we're ready to play tonight.
Much has been made about how Tropicana Field perhaps is
not as esthetic as some other ballparks, but this is your home.
What are the parts of the stadium that you like? And not just the
facilities perhaps that you only see in the clubhouse, but the things
that everyone can see out on the field.
JOE MADDON: Well, if you had seen it a couple years
ago to where it is right now, we have done a great job, the people
within the organization, to really move this along and make it
appear to be more of a baseball stadium.
When we first came here, obviously it was a little bit more
disappointing. I think now with all the scoreboards and the activity
and I think just the presentation has really gotten a lot better.
I remember Tim Salmon told me he felt like he was on a cruise ship
a couple years ago. That was hysterical. So I think we've added a
lot of excitement to the building. For me personally, I think it's
fair. I think it's a fair building. You can pitch here; you can hit
here. It plays pretty big in center field, which I like from the
Even though we have the turf, after the first year Tim Foley and I
and a couple other guys went up to Birmingham, Alabama, to see
their field turf at Legion Field, which was kind of cool because that's
where Namath had played and Bear Bryant had coached, et cetera.
So we went out and checked out the turf. This field turf here at
that -- I don't even know if it's still the same -- has the same
proclamation, but at that time was the only Major League field with
that kind of turf, whereas 50 percent of the strands stand up and
the other 50 lie flat, which I thought would permit it to be a little
bit more of a slow turf field. And then furthermore, it dirts very
So I think it plays pretty good. It plays pretty good in spite of
being turf. But overall I think it's a fair ballpark.
Yeah, we don't dig the catwalks. I don't want a ball hitting the roof
and having it impact play, nobody wants that. But overall I think
our people upstairs have done a great job to make it a great
environment, and right now I know our fans are digging it, and it's
really turned into a home field kind of thing based on the cowbells,
You and your team have not gone conservative with the
running game in the postseason. You've kept the pressure on.
How much of that is just staying true to what worked in the regular
season and how much of that is what the 2002 Angels did in the
postseason with their running game, if you remember what they
JOE MADDON: Yeah, I mean, this has been one of our
concepts that you're seeing right now. This is no different than the
regular season. It's part of the "Ray Way" of doing things.
We really research it a lot. We have the kind of guys that can take
advantage, too. Furthermore, all of our coaches do a wonderful job
in a lot of different aspects, but Davey Martinez, in particular, with
the base running and the base stealing has really had a huge impact
on our guys this year.
What you're seeing is just a continuation of regular season play.
And when I say that, I wanted to keep everything the same, I don't
want us to take less chances or more chances, take the same
chances based on pitchers' times at the plate, et cetera, what kind
of a lead you're getting, what the score is in the game. All those
So we're not doing anything different. I mean, people are seeing us
now maybe for the first time because we haven't been on TV that
often to this point. But this is pretty much the game we've always
played, and I want to continue to nurture it.
I don't want us to be pigeon holed into being one kind of a team. I
believe in power; I believe in speed, and of course the pitching, the
defense, I want us to be able to take advantage of playing this
game properly on every level, and I think we have the personnel to
I want to go back to the cowbells and the loudness of this
crowd, because this is one of the loudest buildings, of course, in the
Majors, even when it's not 30 plus. You guys have an incredible
record here, and I'm just wondering between the cowbells, the
record large crowds, is this more of a perceived advantage, or is it a
real advantage, do you think, and can it be a distraction?
JOE MADDON: Well, we've kind of turned it into that.
Just getting the 30 plus thousand people in here was a chore, but
when they've been here, we've played pretty well.
I've often thought even from day one, for anyone that might have
been here from day one, in the opening press conference, I talked
about we needed to turn this place into the pit. Having come here
with the Angels for so many years, even though the Devil Rays at
that time weren't a very good ballclub, you never liked playing
here. It was just the environment was it lacked. It lacked. It
was kind of a dead place to play, and it was different because of the
roof, et cetera.
So I always thought when we went to Minnesota, when you went to
the Old Kingdome, went to those old domes and those teams were
good, you didn't want to go there. That team played well there and
you didn't. So I thought that we should be able to turn this into
advantage for us eventually, and the term that just came to my
head was a pit, just being inside as it is, and the advantages that
the nooks and the crannies, the ceiling, even though it's kind of
symmetrical around the outfield, nevertheless the lights are low.
It bothers me because of my glasses that the light reflects off my
glasses all the time. I used to hate each just coaching here.
So why not take a place like this where you play the majority of
your games and turn it into an advantage. And furthermore with
the noise level, I love the noise level. I think it's fantastic, and I
know our guys respond to it.
Given that you've been in such game clinching situations
before in your career when you were with the Angels, in what ways
did you feel challenged as a manager when you found yourself in
that situation: Game 5, when all about -- seemed to be collapsing
and you have to keep your head in that situation?
JOE MADDON: That's just what you've got to do, man.
Talking about Bill Walsh, the football coach, something I had read
about him that I feel really applies, when he coached a game on a
sideline, in his mind's eye he was standing behind a piece of glass,
and that glass would separate the emotion.
Now, there's times I'm going to tell you, man, it gets a little bit
more difficult than that. But theoretically I like standing behind
that piece of glass as often as I can and just try to do what the
appropriate thing is at that moment void of emotion.
So when I read that, I thought that really made a lot of sense.
When you're playing in Fenway Park and some of these venues,
my goodness, it gets nasty. The biggest thing is to attempt to
think, as you would, like you and I are talking right now.
But I had read that advice, and there's times it gets a little more
testy than that, but what it really comes down to is that you're able
to continue to think in a manner that you would like to.
So the other night actually I felt okay. It's just it got away. They
came back and won a game, and their big boys came through for
them, and that's going to happen sometimes. Overall I just think
it's wise to try to keep your emotions out of it.
Was there a particular time that you can think of during the
season that teams started to look at you a little bit different, look at
your team as more of a rival and really think of you as a
JOE MADDON: Yeah, I was telling other folks, when
other managers and coaches aren't coming up and always giving,
hang in there; it's going to get better kind of a comments. It's
started to turn to "hey, listen, you guys are doing good, we like
what you're doing, keep it going." We started hearing those kind of
things as opposed to the consolation kind of stuff.
That started happening early on. I think even in spring training,
just talking to scouts, I think they could recognize the difference
within our group. And again I point back to last year, just even
going to the off season, the uniforms, a couple good acquisitions free
agent wise, and then of course, young players becoming a little bit
more veteran, and then getting into the season, starting off
relatively well. I think, honestly, it was just the comments from
the other teams, that little quick visit behind the batting cage and
their commentary just started to change.
When the playoffs started, you weren't quite sure of
Crawford's health in regards to the hand.
JOE MADDON: Right.
How much better has he been than you had a right to expect,
and as you observe him, how much do you think he's enjoying this
experience after all the losses in all the years he's been here?
JOE MADDON: That's a good question. I mean, I really
didn't know what to think. I really didn't. Again, he's not just
coming off an injury, he's coming off of surgery, which really is
different. I think that goes overlooked sometimes. So he's coming
off of surgery, and a key component in your hand, swinging the bat,
and all of a sudden toward the end there he was really starting to
push the doctors a bit.
Fortunately we had a couple instruction league games to pop him
into to just see exactly what it looked like, so I was able to come out
and watch him in the instruction league games, and he's swinging
the bat pretty good. Again, what I look at a lot of times when a guy
is coming off of a long layoff, it's not that he's getting hits. It's his
approach at the plate. He's not jumping all over the place, the
game wasn't too fast, the ball wasn't too quick.
Those are things I was trying to glom onto, and I thought, okay,
he's okay. And then when we get into the first part of the White
Sox series and you could see his at bats were pretty good, and he
wasn't over matched, and then of course it culminates in a five hit
So honestly, he's much further along than I had anticipated.
Is he enjoying it? Absolutely. I could hear his little giggle going on
now and then, and I like that, and you just see it in his face. Carl is
very intense when he plays, facially. You can see that, and I
obviously love that. But there's a part of him, also, when you can
step back and just giggle a little bit. I like that, also. He's an
exceptional athlete, and he is enjoying the moment.
At this time of year can a team have too much time off,
because whoever wins this series will be playing the Phillies team
that will have a whole week off. Can that be a detriment?
JOE MADDON: I don't know. You'll find out when it
happens, I guess. Sometimes groups get a chance to heal up. The
worst part is just the anticipation, just having to wait for it. That's
the most difficult thing to gauge and work with.
But I don't know, when you get down to the World Series and you
get this opportunity to play, I'm sure they're going to they will
find a way to stay sharp, and once that bell rings opening game, I
don't see -- I don't know that it's an advantage or a disadvantage.
I just think it comes down to the individual, how you handle the
moment, what you do in order to prepare yourself mentally.
It's all about what you think anyway. I don't necessarily see it as
being a huge disadvantage.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.