With having the layoff I think the first couple of days after clinching,
you're just so excited to get to the next round, so you really kind of
forget about what the next task at hand is. So going with I believe,
what, six or seven days off, we've had a really good routine where I've
still kind of been mentally staying into the game with keeping my work
out routine the same, throwing in the bullpen. Because I can't throw in
a live game, I just throw in the bullpen. And it's just the focus that you
have to have.
When I go out to my bullpen, I do try to visualize that there's a hitter
out there, and I try to make every pitch count, as though it's a game
Being around these guys, though, I think it makes things easier, and
ease the tensions that you would have or the distractions, because
everybody is so excited and so focused to play. We just have
something in common that I think is going to hopefully help us
progress all the way through the Series.
Before the last series you talked about the importance of keeping
focus in these big games. How tough is that to do now that it's the
World Series and you know how much more these games mean?
COLE HAMELS: See, I think that's the thing that as a
player you don't look at. I think from everybody that is outside,
there's a significance with the game that we're playing. For us the
World Series is something that you look back on, not when you're
playing. It's something that I think I will cherish probably ten years
from now, and I'll probably go through my head with what was going
on, what I was thinking, who I was playing, what results I had. And it
also is kind of I guess more shocking for myself and for the Rays just
because of how young we are and we're in the World Series.
When you play 10, 15 years and never make the World Series, then I
think this kind of stage becomes a little bit more, and it can be either
more burdening or it can be more exciting. For me, because I played
three years, been in the playoffs twice, World Series once, I think it's
kind of a normal thing, and I hope it is. But going out there knowing
that you have to get a job done. I know with the extra added attention
it's more excitement, with family coming in. You just have to push
that aside and let people know I have a job to do. If we want to
celebrate, we can celebrate over the holidays.
This Tampa Bay Rays team doesn't have what anyone would call
statistics; they get the job done. When you look at that lineup, what do
COLE HAMELS: A lot of talent. The majority of all these
players have been top round picks, so they were from either teams
that did well, either in high school or college, or they just did well
themselves, because they either played on a Team USA or some sort
of level of play that they excelled in, therefore, they became a top
round pick. And as a top round pick, myself, I think we have the same
sort of mental mindset to go out and play this game. We play as hard
as we possibly can, we work as hard as we possibly can, but we have
the extra added talent to get the job done when it's needed.
The Rays I think are .700 or something in home percentage.
You've always talked you want to be the guy in that clinching or key
game, but in a sense is Game 1 that kind of a game, because of who
COLE HAMELS: Of course. Anytime you come into
somebody else's home, it's going to be louder, they're going to have
that more, I guess, excitement level, just knowing that they have the
comfort level because it's some place they've played 81 games.
They've done very well here. That's something where, it is, you have
to come in there, you have to be prepared to, I guess, deal with the
crowd, but also with the team. Because if you feel comfortable in a
place you're going to be able to play to your potential. And I know
that's what they're going to be able to do. You just have to go out
there and be very narrow minded and really try to get the job done
because this is Game 1. I think sets the table and the tone for what
the series is going to be like. You're just going out there. And I know
that everything I possibly can do, I hope it's going to be benefitting our
If you face Kazmir, you have sort of relationship with him, don't
you? Could you explain it, go into a little bit of detail?
COLE HAMELS: Both Scott and I were the drafted the
same year. He was two picks ahead of me. I think we were always
compared through high school and with being a top round pick, and
through that you kind of get to know a guy, not on a personal level, but
on a level of respect.
With that, because we played against him in Spring Training, we've
been able to at least talk, and I think we relate at the same level,
because we've had to go through the same experiences.
He's a tremendous pitcher. I don't know about his hitting; he's playing
in the American League, but I'm sure he's pretty good. But he's a good
guy and he has a competitive spirit that is one of the best. And so
being able too pitch against him will be a great opportunity for both of
us, because being compared at such an early age, and finally to be able
to compete against each other at this sort of stage makes things a little
It seems like the Rays are kind of the choice to win the Series.
Do you guys feel like underdogs? Do you use any of that talk as
COLE HAMELS: You know, I know it's all other people's
speculations, but as our team, I guess when you look at match ups or
just the way that we've played I think we're very even. And I think
that's what the World Series is all about. It's about two teams that
have played hard and have won their divisions. I guess the American
League East is always the talk of the town anytime baseball season
comes because of Boston and the Yankees. Any team that can beat
Boston and the Yankees is pretty impressive. But I think the National
League has gained more respect due to the amount of the players that
have come into the league with trades or free agency.
So I think we're at a very even level. I don't know what they're really
looking at. But I just think we're very equal. I can't say who to favor.
I'm going to pick my side, no doubt. But I think it really is going to
bring a good competitive level to this World Series.
Does having your Spring Training here and playing against the
Rays in exhibition games help you prepare for this?
COLE HAMELS: It can, but I know when you play people in
March and also you're playing them in October, a lot of people have
changed. And that's what is baseball. In March everybody is just
trying to get used to baseball again, and you're really just trying to get
yourself prepared for a season. Here you're supposed to have
everything prepared and everything ready to go.
Being able to at least see certain hitters does help a bit because you
can see how they stand at the plate, see their speed, see their arms.
So that will help. But I know if you ever compare my Spring Training
numbers to season numbers, they're not good. So I wouldn't go on my,
I guess, my results in Spring Training and how I faired there, how I'm
going to do this week. I think it does help being able to play in Tampa
for Spring Training and playing the World Series here, I think we're
going to have a pretty good crowd, versus playing on the West Coast.
I know having fans that have been down here due to moves and
Spring Training. I think you'll see a lot more red than people expect.
Cole, your team's record against the AL is not something that
COLE HAMELS: Not so good (laughs).
Why do you think that is? I think it wasn't so great, I'm trying to
do this by memory, I'm not sure it was great last year. You're
supposed to be an AL like club. Why do you think you struggled
COLE HAMELS: I don't know. From a pitching standpoint
going into an AL home team, the designated hitter can definitely come
into effect. I know with the pitcher if you get into a jam and you know
the pitcher is coming up, you have a feeling you can get out of it. When
you come into an AL team, and you're facing a No. 9 hitter that can get
10 home runs, 15 home runs, knock in 60 or 80 RBIs, it's a lot
different than a pitcher standing there. It makes things tougher. But
I think it's kind of the when you go and you play the American
League teams in June, you've just grown so accustomed to playing
National League teams and sort of that style of baseball, and they
added in, you're playing two weeks worth of AL teams, I think it's a
shock to everybody. I don't know what it is, if it's more of a shock to
the National League than the American League, but I know for some
odd reason the National League has not been able to overcome the
How aware are you of just exactly what a championship would
mean to these fans in Philadelphia?
COLE HAMELS: I think we've got a perspective of what we
were able to accomplish last year to make the playoffs, and seeing the
attention that it brought and the way that the fans came out and were
celebrating. Going into this season the amount of sell outs we had, the
amount of people you see on the street wearing Phillies' gear, I think
that kind of shows that what we've been able to accomplish, we've
been able to pull fans back into the game of baseball, because the city
of Philadelphia has been so hockey and basketball and football minded,
and to finally bring some fans back I think really does show its
appreciation of all the hard work we've done. Giving the attention that
has come through the playoff games I think showed what a
Philadelphia fan is all about. And they are hardcore and they're
appreciative, 100 percent, and they're definitely a fan you do want to
win for, because they will be able to, I guess, worship you at a level
that we don't really see or really experience, but I guess seeing that
appreciation of what it will bring to the city is something we definitely
want to do over and over again.
At the work out yesterday, are there any concerns with the
unfamiliarity of the ballpark and the dimensions?
COLE HAMELS: Not really. Maybe I'll be concerned if the
ball hits the catwalk and the guy doesn't watch it. I know I have a job
to do of pitching. I know the mound is the same distance from home
plate as any other ballpark, and I can't really effect where a guy is
going to hit it. I have enough confidence in our players that they're
going to either be able to catch the balls or, I guess, throw them in the
But for my job I just need to go out there and pitch and I guess try to
keep the Rays at bay.
Can you talk about what the two previous postseason
appearances this year have meant to you in terms of giving you
confidence? I think the adrenaline rush, you talked about that, and
then settling down. Are you going to be able to take what you've done
in those two previous outings and build on both of those? You know,
they were outstanding efforts.
COLE HAMELS: I hope so, otherwise it might be a quick
couple of pitches or innings. It's just being able to go out there and feel
comfortable. I have eight guys behind me that are going to stay in
there. They believe in me. I know all this hard work that I've done
for the past couple of days, just being able to go out there and make a
pitch is something that I know I'm capable of doing. And I think that's
all I can really focus on.
I know there is an excitement level and I think I've been able to hone
in on it and control it. There are going to be points in time I'm going to
overthrow a ball in a tight situation, but I think everybody does that.
That can happen anytime in the season. But it's just one of the biggest
stages in sports, and I think going out there and being able to succeed
is what you want to do, but you can't necessarily go into the game
knowing that you're going to do it. You really have to go in there and
let it happen. And that's what I'm going to try to do.
What do you know about the 1980 World Series, which was the
last time and the only time the Phillies won? You weren't even born,
COLE HAMELS: I wasn't born, so I really didn't follow it
one bit (laughter). I was born in San Diego, I was more of a West
Coast guy. I didn't know about the Phillies until they drafted me.
That's when I think all these guys that played on these teams, they're
all from different cities. I don't think we really appreciate what we
have, until we're actually on that team, and we've played for them and
played for the city and gotten to really get that familiarity. And I
think now getting to know the city of Philadelphia, we want to be our
own team. We don't want to hide in the shadow of 1980. That's
something where we believe in ourselves enough, and we're going to
be able to go out there and do it.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.