Having watched Frankie Rodriguez firsthand in '02, how much of
an inspiration was that for using Price as you did on Sunday
JOE MADDON: I've been talking a lot about the
comparisons between the two. Of course what Frankie did in the past
was absolutely spectacular, but honestly it had nothing to do with it; it
was all about the moment that arrived. I wanted to go through the
normal bullpen as we had, but also that we had David in our back
pocket. I was talking to the guys the other day, prior to that game I
did my lap around the field talking to the players like I do whenever I
can. And I got to him, talking to him, I knew he was fine. Obviously
he was rested and I knew he was fine.
I also glommed on to the thought that with relief pitchers, you really
have to pay attention to the amount of emotion they expend over a
period of time, too. And I thought a lot of our guys had expended a lot
of emotion to get to that point the other day. To lay three or four outs
on guys that I thought was inappropriate in that game. And I thought
David might play a big role. It was a thought I had prior to the game.
But J.P. got one guy, Danny just faced two guys, Chad just faced one
guy, but by the time it got to David it was David and then Grant was
going to back him up, period.
So it was something I had thought about. In a sense it was calculated.
The fact that he is who he is really made a difference to me. The fact
that I felt he was not going to be impacted by this moment in a
negative way emotionally, and that's why we gave him the ball right
there. So do what he did did not surprise me in the least.
How have you been able to maintain this kind of relaxed and
positive atmosphere throughout the postseason?
JOE MADDON: How have I?
How have you.
JOE MADDON: I don't know. It's just when you do this
The most nerve wracking part was the first day I got hired three
years ago. You want to talk about nerves, my God. As you do this,
and you get to the point -- the most difficult part is all this. To really
have to repeat yourself and try to sound fresh to a variety of different
people who may be asking you the same questions, that's probably the
most difficult thing. But it deserves to be repeated.
After that, of course the game provides different stressful moments,
and the other worst part is getting tickets and rooms for your kids in
Philadelphia and making sure that your mom is okay. Those are the
tough parts. Otherwise just on the field right now, making sure
everybody is in the right place for the bunt defenses, making sure that
the pitchers are prepared before the first pitch. That's Hickey's
responsibility. And I really try to dole out stuff as well as I possibly
can. I do believe in that. I do believe in staying out of people's way.
So for me, I've had some experiences, I've been around Sosh (Mike
Scioscia) these moments, and Sosh is very good at this stuff. I think
the fact that I was able to go through this moment with the Angels was
important to me, also. I don't want to make light of everything. It was
having had those experiences are truly invaluable. So other than that,
it's just trying to stay with the routine. And like we've been talking,
everybody wanted to kind of a new walking speech prior to some of
these games with the Red Sox, but that would have been a departure
to what I do. Routine is important to me, being able to have my same
work out and staying on the same kind of diet and stuff like that
matters. I've been trying to stick with the routine.
Could you tell us what your rotation is going to be, and the
reasoning and all that behind it?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, we were able to tell all the pitchers ,
so it's Kaz, Shieldsie, Matt and then Andy are the four guys.
Reasoning, based on rest, Kaz's turn and James's turn. We've had Kaz
in front of open dates to this point. Kaz looked pretty good his last
game between the Red Sox. The fact that if Shields pitches the second
day, he has a better chance of not eating the bullpen. So you can look
at it both ways.
So it's based on rest, primarily. You could make a case Andy
Sonnanstine pitching sooner than that. This guy is pitching really well.
But I wanted to keep it in that particular order.
And we're trying to keep out of the fact that Matt Garza is the worse
offensive pitcher of the group, and he has to play in Philadelphia.
Primarily it's based on rest.
Kazmir was I think Pitcher of the Month in May, and then do the
numbers not tell the story with him, and what could you expect in a
setting like this tomorrow night?
JOE MADDON: He was really magnificent when he came
right back. The first start in Boston was okay, he hadn't pitched in a
while. After that he got on a nice roll. Primarily what you're seeing is
his fastball command. If you're around me the next couple of days,
you're going to hear me say fastball command. It's not an injury
situation. He just was uncomfortable. And the other day against the
Red Sox, I think you saw more sliders coming back into the mix, which
I like. And he's got a very good change up. I don't have a real
intelligent explanation, other than I just thought that he got out of his
delivery a bit, maybe started over thinking it a little bit.
All I've been trying to promote to him is narrowing the focus, seeing
the catchers glove, and trying to prevent over thinking. When it
comes to this game, there's so much time to pause and reflect before
something happens. And that's why I used to love playing football--
you never had that time. You get hit once and you're good. In
baseball you have all the intermediate time that causes all the concern.
If you could get back into the flow of things, and just throw the ball
he's going to be fine.
How unexpected was the power supply that Longoria had?
JOE MADDON: Unexpected? Believe me, guys, these guys
have as much power as anybody playing. If you saw B.J. last year,
what you saw in the playoffs was similar to what I had seen last year.
B.J. had been hurt most of this year with his shoulder. And was not
really well enough to do what you're seeing right now. He got hurt a
little bit, which caused him to miss some games towards the end of the
season. And further when he backed off on his BP, that was an
accident. In Kansas City it was 110 every day, so he didn't hit, but had
really good games. We took his advice, he said, "I feel better without
swinging as much." If Longo didn't get hurt -- what did he end up with
28? Longo would have hit 35 homers if he didn't get hurt.
So these two young men are very impressive. They're extremely
talented and again, I just think this is the beginning, obviously, and I'm
not being very bright by saying that. These guys are really talented,
and you'll keep seeing them getting better every year.
You went through this obviously in 2002, the Angels, after 41
years getting in, and now here you are after 11. How important is it
for an organization and a city? What do you remember about that and
what will you take from all this?
JOE MADDON: I remember how powerful it was in
changing the entire mindset of a whole organization. We went from
thinking we were pretty good and believing kind of what you were
doing and that it was right. Once you get to that moment where you
participate in a World Series, everything, your concepts are validated.
I think when you speak, you speak with more confidence in regard to
the message you're trying to put out there, even though you believed
your message before, but everything becomes validated, it becomes
easier to make your proclamation. So in regard to that I think the
whole organization shifted in a positive way because your confidence
grew. And all of a sudden you knew what you were doing is right and
that it works.
I know from that moment on, there, everybody thought differently.
And also the people that you're participating against, maybe people
that -- just people coming into town asking you questions, all of a
sudden you become smarter, even though you're doing the same
things. So it makes a difference I think primarily in confidence. And I
think you never look back after that. And you really can -- and if you
do the right things, which I know we will, it's a great opportunity to
really go with something special.
You have met John Challis from Pittsburgh this summer. How
did knowing him affect you?
JOE MADDON: I still wear his little bracelet. I was very
impressed, moved. There's no adequate words. When I saw the story
on ESPN, I'm a softie, sitting in my room in Florida, down in Miami, we
were playing the Marlins. I was very moved. Furthermore he's from
Pennsylvania. They showed him hitting on a field I probably played
on, not that specific field, but something similar to it, and I saw his
parents and sister, et cetera. It was very familiar. So I wanted him
there. I wanted to meet him. And the meeting was spectacular. This
kid philosophically was well beyond his years. I don't know if you have
to go through an event like that, which I hope nobody ever has to,
moves your thinking to that level at that young of an age. When I had
a chance to visit with him and just his basic philosophy, I thought it
can't be more brilliant than that. He did touch me in a lot of ways.
Actually his dad wrote to me the other day and I'm still in touch with
his dad and coach. His coach, we text back and forth prior to the
game. And actually the other day his dad, before the last game before
the Red Sox, did go to Johnny's grave, and put a Ray's hat on his
tombstone and sent me a photograph. It was very cool.
I know you've been asked this several times: Talk about your
participation in getting the Mohawk hair cut. And secondly, has your
mom seen it and what has been her thought on it?
JOE MADDON: She's been through so much with me, it
doesn't surprise her at all.
The Mohawk hair cut, a couple of the guys got it. A couple of the guys
had it, this is back in September. Then we're playing the Red Sox in a
big three-game series. We lose the first game of the series. I thought
I'd go for it. I wanted to keep the clubhouse loose and show the
unifying aspect. The next day I walk in with it, and all of a sudden it's
going to catch fire at that point. And my point is it's only hair. For
those of us that have it, it's only hair.
In 1976, at Ted's Chair in Long Beach, getting a perm, prior to that
Spring Training. Furthermore, it can provide a unifying situation. So I
did it, and it did kind of gain some legs at that point. I love it. I love
when teams do things like that. The colored hair, that's kind of old
these days. That's been there, done that. For those of us in the '70s,
we did the perm at some point, and those photographs were obscene
(laughter). And now I went this route.
I'm getting married in a couple of weeks, and when you see the
wedding photographs you're going to see the hawk in the wedding
photographs, which really upsets Jay.
And furthermore Yogi Berra calls in to congratulate us yesterday or
the day before and Yogi and I have gotten to be good buds, he said,
"Tell the manager I said congratulations, but that I can't stand his hair
cut," and I really appreciated that, because Yogi kind of reminds me of
my dad a bit. And that's exactly what my dad would say. It's all tied
One more on Price, please: What can you tell us about what his
role will be in this series?
JOE MADDON: Well, again, a lot of what you just saw is a
possibility. I'm really -- I know we're not married to anybody. I kind
of like that. In a sense it's kind of nice to have that one guy to come in
and get the last four outs or three outs. We're not married to that. It
depends how the game plays out, the most crucial moment. Now they
have some very effective left handed hitters in their lineup. If that
crucial moment occurred in the eighth inning, I would not shy away
from it. If J.P. Howell is rested, I'll go with him there. The emotional
moments, I really want to pay attention to that. David is available in
any of those moments, from the sixth, seventh inning on.
We flip flopped and brought Edwin Jackson on board for the last
round. It took away the role we set up for David in the first round
against the White Sox. David is more free to be utilized later in the
game. You can see, he can get the last out or something earlier than
that, depends on how the lineup is presented to us.
Was it standard operating procedure for your club to take PFP
first thing during this work out, or did that have anything to do with
what we saw two years ago with the Tigers?
JOE MADDON: It has nothing to do with the Tigers, it has
everything to do with the National League. The bunting becomes
more prominent. We've done that several times this year. You do
certain things in Spring Training, put them in your back pocket, and
when you need them in the most critical moments expect them to be
But it's always boggled me in the baseball mentality. In football you
practice your playbook every day during the course of the season, so
when you need it it's there. Baseball you do them in Spring Training
and you need them in June, and it doesn't work, people get upset.
We've done things like our bunting, our cut off relays, that is primarily
done today because we're playing the National League. We did that
prior to interleague, we're doing it today.
Again, it's all about positioning. But what it breaks down to me, two
things, obviously. The bunter drops, which goes to a breakdown but
more importantly I want to make sure know where everybody is
supposed to be. If you know where everybody is supposed to be, the
play has a chance of working and if you don't know, the play doesn't.
Can you talk a little bit about eastern Pennsylvania, you grew up
90 miles from Pennsylvania, you went to college near there. You were
shaped by both the people in that area. Can you talk about that, how
it shaped your demeanor through this postseason?
JOE MADDON: Well, I tell you, I think if you grew up
where I grew up and when I grew up, the one word that comes to
mind is respect. That's the one thing that's pounded into you between
a Polish mother and Italian father and nuns through the eighth grade.
You definitely learn respect at an early age. And I think that
permeates everything else that happens. If you learn respect as a
youngster, I think that benefits you in everything you do as you're
growing up, whether it's the athletic endeavors. Staying when I was
10, when you go to high school there on a Friday night. I know you
watch Friday Night Lights now on television, it was no different back
then, only the Pennsylvania version. So you had all of this -- you had
whatever you want to call it, pressure or expectations placed on you
even when you're that young, which is great. It was great.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.