Oct. 8 Joe Maddon pregame interview

Oct. 8 Joe Maddon pregame interview

Q. Talk a little bit about the atmosphere last night here at the Trop. This building has taken a lot of hits. Talk about what it was like to play in a full stadium like that.

JOE MADDON: We love it. It's happened quite a bit, actually. Every time it has filled up it seems to bring out the best in us. Normally, just being honest, over the years you've seen a lot of other teams' fans in the ballpark under those circumstances. It definitely had that pro Rays vibe to it last night. We felt it in the dugout through the entire game. It was spectacular. We'd like to see it look like that more consistently, obviously, because it does matter. It makes a difference. But the group was great last night. We're hoping to see a lot of the same tonight.

Q. On the day after each team's closer had an opportunity to close things out and wasn't able to, could you sort of address the way that it seems to happen in the playoffs that people who are so reliable during the season sometimes come up short and how rare perhaps it is to find a consistent guy like New York's Rivera was.

JOE MADDON: Being in this division and having played against him for so many years, I've often spoken about that. He's the best that ever played that position. And so when you're with that team and you've got that coming out of the bullpen, that's kind of a nice feeling to know that's going to happen. That's not to denigrate anybody else. He is the anomaly closer of all times, besides being the best. But this time of the year you get the unlikely. How about Jose Lobaton putting the ball in the fish tank last night. We have not done that yet. Not even in batting practice that doesn't happen. Seriously, that's far. The ball doesn't carry from 370 to 370 in our ballpark. Normally it doesn't go anywhere. I'm not lying, I'm looking at my lineup card and I hear this sound and I look up and I see the ball going, I'm thinking, Man, that's the wrong part of the ballpark, but it had enough legs. Unlikely hero. Sometimes the guys you think are going to be in line to be that guy are not. You can go back to Al Weis with the Mets. There are so many guys, you go back in the day and remember the wonderful things they did in World Series or playoff competition. It happens. It's the beauty of the game. This time of the year, we've talked about it, there's so much serendipity to success in regards to who moves on and who does not. Both teams are good. A lot of good players on both sides. It's intense. It's pressure laden. It's fun, man. And at the end of the night somebody comes up on top. A lot of times you're going to bet on the guy that has the great track record, there's no question about that. But it's wide open for somebody else to make a name for themselves. Last night Lobo did that. This part of year, that's the incredibly interesting and entertaining part of it. It's the part I really do enjoy is all this like last night's game, the outcome was in doubt the entire game until the last out was made and that's the epitome of playoff baseball.

Q. Could you speak to the lineup today against Peavy, specifically the decision to DH Kelly Johnson.

JOE MADDON: Yeah, of course. A couple of things are working right there. First of all, Matt has struggled a bit. We tried it yesterday, and listen, I love this guy and he works so hard and he's not at the top of his game right at this moment. Obviously the other alternative would have been to put Delmon in there. But really, truthfully, Delmon against Peavy is not necessarily what you're looking for. Kelly actually reads better, we think, against Peavy for the beginning of the game. You saw it happen last night. Our bench is a big part of the victory last night. We're not afraid to do things. Having Delmon as the wild card coming off the bench, with all the different things he may do is kind of nice. As opposed to pigeon holing him into one spot, permitting him to be moved around, that was it. That was it. It was just back and forth. It's not easy. Our lineups, as you know, you're here every day, are not easy to assemble. We don't have the cookie cutter, nine guys, let's go lineup. We set it up to be platooned and that's how we work it in the off season. When it comes to this time of the season, it's no different. We still continue working the process right down to the last drop. That's what we came up with it today. Kelly has got the real ability to hit the ball far, as you know, and he's going to work some good at bats. He's been there before, he knows what it feels like. I'm kind of excited about seeing what he looks like tonight.

Q. Looking ahead to Game 5, your decision to start Price instead of Moore?

JOE MADDON: Yeah, David will start, absolutely. Matt Moore will be available tonight out of the bullpen if necessary, but David will start, yes. Because he's really good. And he's pitched really well and he'll be on regular rest. And we just think it's the best thing for us.

Q. Following up on the unlikely hero thing. You've seen Adam Kennedy hit three home runs in a game to clinch a playoff series. You said last night you expect those things from guys like Longoria. How fun is it to see a guy like Lobaton have a moment like that?

JOE MADDON: I don't normally watch postgame interviews, but I had to see his or hear his. I know Lobey, how animated he was going to be, how honest he was going to be, sincere he was going to be, his ability and understanding of the English language. I just thought it would be an entertaining interview, and it was. Guys that do it all the time, I don't necessarily want to hear what they have to say, but guys that don't, that's the guy I want to be tuned in to. For me it was exciting for him and his family and us. And furthermore, to hear him comment on his ice cream fetish, et cetera. It was really an interesting moment.

Q. Going back to closers, can you speak to Fernando Rodney and his personality in the clubhouse?


Q. Rodney?

JOE MADDON: Fernando?

Q. Yes, his personality and his performance.

JOE MADDON: Fernando, he's a little bit of a practical joker. He likes to use different voices. He's almost a little bit of a ventriloquist kind of a thing. That's part of his sense of humor. When you see him within the clubhouse, very calm. Very calm human being. I love that about him. Even in the game when things don't appear to be going well, he still for me presents a calm exterior at least. He's very well liked. He's got a wonderful sense of humor. And as a competitor I'll take him with anybody I've ever had. This guy is highly competitive. When he's on top of his game he's among the best. But within our group of characters, and we have those in our clubhouse, he ranks way at the top based on he's got a zest for life. He understands, he gets it. Right down to the hat being sideways as a tribute to his daddy. All that stuff I really love about this guy.

Q. This is basically the fifth elimination game you've played in nine days. Can you talk about how the team is able to keep its motor level up when you have so many of these types of games in such a short span of time?

JOE MADDON: It's like the YMPA back in the day. You get in that losers bracket, our softball team. You've just got to go out there with that focus every day. The big thing is, and I think it's part of our ability to do this, and I want to believe this, is that we don't treat any day any differently all year. You guys are around us a lot. Spring Training, September, whatever it may be, I really I'm big on that. I really believe that's important. Baseball players, we're all routine freaks. And we're exposed on a nightly basis, not once a week, we're exposed every night. You need something consistent to hold on to. So I think part of our ability to cope with this is that. I refuse to have a team meeting. I haven't had one yet. Our team meetings occur in Spring Training and then at the All Star break, and that was the last one I had was at the All Star break. I don't believe in them. I believe if the group needs to get together they should do that among each other. I don't believe there's anything that I can say that is stirring enough or intelligent enough to spur them on to victory. This is a different game. I really believe the fact that our coaches do such a great job and there's a consistency when you walk in our room, I think that's what permits us to do pretty well under these circumstances.

Q. Given the twist and turns of last night, where does that rank among some of the other memorable games of this year for you?

JOE MADDON: Again, that's Game 7 last night, you know, and to win that under those circumstances, that's we've had such great moments in a brief period of time here. It's way up there. You could start ranking them, whether Longo is hitting a home run against the Yankees after being down 7 0 or a bouncer to Yawkey at 2nd base or Danny Johnson is late getting to the airport or cannot get to Boston in time and ends up being a pinch hitter. There's been a lot of really cool memories for us here in this organization, and like I said, in a brief period of time. We're building our tradition right now. I do read, a big fan of Mr. Rickey back in the day, when he was the manager of I think it was the St. Louis Cardinals back in around 1915 or so, and eventually at that time the St. Louis Browns were more popular than the St. Louis Cardinals, if you can believe that. The tradition has to begin somewhere. Hopefully we're building ours right now. You look at the fan base, we're trying to build that. We're trying to bring the younger group into our fold. And again, we're living it, so we don't have the benefit of 50 years from now looking back. All these games matter, when you start building a tradition, all this stuff, allure counts. So it's top five, it was pretty interesting.

Q. Wondering how your bullpen sets up tonight. McGee threw 28 pitches last night. You've got Moore. How do you view this?

JOE MADDON: I think it's fine. Jake, 28 minus four because of the intentional walk. That's not awful. And he's used to that. And I think their work level to this point has not been severe. All these guys have been relatively good. Some of these guys, quite frankly, do better work when they pitch more often. Some of these, they're high quality guys. For me when a relief pitcher struggles it's more emotional than physical. When a relief pitcher comes in the game there's a lot of emotion going on, and they have to cope with that constantly. I think for the most part our guys are in pretty good shape physically and emotionally right now. You have additions, like Matt Moore is an addition to the bullpen tonight. You're not going to see him coming in trying to get out of a jam in an inning, it's got to be somebody else. He's going to have to start an inning. If the game goes farther in the night, hopefully not, hopefully do it in nine innings, but you have more ability if the game gets longer.