SAN FRANCISCO -- Phil Coke has always had an interesting personality. Now he has a national soapbox. The son of a Northern California prison guard, the left-hander was one of the most entertaining Tigers players at Tuesday's World Series workout day at AT&T Park.
The key to his success, he said, is having fun.
"Ever since I was a little kid, the harder I tried the more I [stunk]," he said. "If I was able to keep my intensity and not try to do too much? You hear that a lot. People trying to do too much popping up or throwing a wild pitch or something because they're trying to be too good instead of just letting it happen. When I allow myself to let it happen is when I seem to excel. And I've been that way ever since I was a little kid. So it's been kind of a life lesson to me. Because I'm rather intense depending on the situation."
And how does he put himself back into a happy state of mind when he's just not feeling it?
"This is not Happy Gilmore, dude. This is not Happy Gilmore in here, man," he said with a smile. "I don't have people riding stick horses and chicks on lounge chairs and stuff like that. I actually just try to think of my daughter and my wife and my family and why I'm doing this particular profession at this point in time in my life. And using that as a personal advantage.
"Because, seriously, it's a kid's game. It's a good time. It's fun. And I don't want that to sound like I'm belittling the game, because I am not. This is an amazing game, it's a fun game, it's America's pastime. And I enjoy myself thoroughly when I play it."
Manager Jim Leyland wouldn't say Tuesday whether Coke or Jose Valverde would be his choice in save situations against the Giants. If nothing else, though, he demonstrated Tuesday that he has a closer's mentality.