Q. You guys are pretty clear in the Washington series, you wanted to clinch it when you could; didn't want to get back on that plane. St. Louis, I think, was pretty similar. I don't know if you want to talk about it now with a game to win, but is there some kind of similar thought process of, let's get it done; it's imperative to get it done when you can?
BRANDON BELT: Absolutely. I've thought that way about every series I've been in, even going back to 2012. So you want to take advantage of the moment. Right now we have a lead, so we want to come in here and do whatever we can not to give them any, I guess, glimmer of hope. You just want to kind of take it away from them early. And if we can do that, we have a good chance of winning.
Q. You haven't experienced the home part of it, but you did clinch on the road, which you're trying to do here. What was that feeling like in silencing a crowd that was obviously there to try to keep you from winning a championship?
BRANDON BELT: Honestly, I think it's a great feeling. I think it's second best to hearing your home crowd go nuts, obviously. It's pretty cool. I think it's something as players we kind of talk about a little bit, too. We understand that's what we want to do from the git‑go is to go out there and kind of keep the crowd out of it as the visiting team.
Yeah, I think whenever you get that big hit and the crowd goes silent, it's a pretty cool feeling.
Q. You've seen Blanco two years ago come in and contribute unexpectedly, making some really nice catches in the postseason, and also this year with some good catches in a more prominent role. How valuable a guy is he that you can bring him off the bench and thrust him in a role like that?
BRANDON BELT: Yeah, he's been huge for us. You can't say enough about what he's done especially after Pagan went down and Morse went down. Just for him to step up and seize the moment like he's done and played great baseball for us and helped get us here, it's just been amazing to watch him.
Q. How's this World Series been different for you from 2012? Do you feel more like an old guy, a veteran?
BRANDON BELT: Yeah, I do feel a little bit more like a veteran, I guess. But I think in 2012 everything was moving so fast. I was in the Big Leagues for a year and a half at the most at that point, and I was just thinking, man, this is an incredible ride. But it's kind of hard at that point to stop and step back and know what's going on a little bit, and I've been able to do that this year. I've been able to slow the game down a little bit and just slow the moment down in general.
I think that's helped me a lot. I think it's helped me go out there and contribute a lot more and helping this team win.
Q. Buster the other night said waking up on a day when you can clinch the World Series is a different feeling. Did you wake up this morning with a sense of anticipation? And kind of how has the whole day felt?
BRANDON BELT: Yeah, I feel like there is a sense of excitement, I guess. You know that today could be the day that you walk away a World Series champion again, so I think that's definitely on our minds. But right now I think we're most worried about going and playing good baseball. We have to. I mean, if we don't, the other team will take advantage of that, and we're playing a good team across the field over there.
Q. You talked about 2012 going fast and you realized how hard it was. Does it seem like this has been harder or easier than 2012? And was there a moment this month where you thought the team was over the hump like, we can get there? Was there a moment this month like that?
BRANDON BELT: I really, honestly, never think it's easy. But it seems like ‑‑ I don't know. They're just two totally different postseasons for us. We had to win a lot of elimination games back in 2012, but this year we had to play the extra game with a Wild Card, and I think that in itself is a little tougher to do. You have to go and you have the hype of a one‑game and just the intensity of going to play a one‑game playoff, that kind of wears on you a little bit. But you can also use that and ride the momentum a little bit going into the next series.
I think there was ‑‑ seemed like there was a moment, maybe a couple moments throughout this postseason, where we really thought that there was a good chance for us to go all the way. I think after we won the Pirates game, and I think when we went back home from Washington up 2‑0, that was kind of a game changer for us. We're like, okay, we already knew we were good, but we're pretty good right now. We're playing good baseball, and we have a chance to go all the way.
Q. Ned Yost was saying a little earlier that he thought that the infield was a lot softer at AT&T, and he thought maybe that had something to do with those balls getting under Escobar. Have you noticed the opposite here? Have you noticed any hard hops or harder surface?
BRANDON BELT: Honestly, yeah. I think the fields are pretty close to opposites as you can get right now. Our field is usually ‑‑ they obviously hadn't played at our field this year, but it's usually pretty soft. The infield is soft, especially early on in the game. That's just because it dries up pretty quickly, and by the end it gets a lot harder. But here it seems like here the field is a little bit harder and you have to be aware of that. But it's something you get used to when you go out there in batting practice, and you take your normal ground balls and everything.
So I think, yeah, they're different, but it's something you get used to.
Q. With their outfield defense, how does that change your base‑running as a team? Do you have to give a little pause before assuming anything, whether it's in the air or on the ground?
BRANDON BELT: Yeah, I mean, I think before this series I knew they had a good defense, but I didn't think it was going to be much different, and I didn't think we'd have to change our game at all. But after seeing a couple plays early on you realize you almost have to second‑guess yourself a little bit while you're running on the basepaths.
You know, as baseball players we feel our instincts are pretty good. And we have to go off our instincts pretty good. We have to know when that ball's going to drop in some times and when somebody's going to make a good catch. But like I said, you're second‑guessing yourself quite a bit, and it does change the way you run the bases. You have to make sure that ball's getting in, especially when the game is close later in the games.
Yeah, it kind of makes you think about it a little bit more, because they get to a lot more balls than you realize.
Q. With what you went through with the concussion and everything, was there some doubt maybe that you could get back before the end of the season, which you did? Does that make all this a little more special even?
BRANDON BELT: Yeah, I think so. Going through all that I went through this year, it was pretty tough. I mean, we're competitors, we want to play. To sit back for eight, nine, ten weeks, like I did with the thumb injury, and then another however many weeks with the concussion, it's tough. There are certain points throughout that injury where I thought, I might not make it back this year, especially early on.
But after talking to the doctors and getting to a point where I knew that I was going to come out of this, I really was determined to get back and play again this year. I really wanted to play with the guys again, and I worked really hard at putting the past behind me and looking forward to the future, and looking forward to getting into the playoffs and making it to the World Series.
So definitely special for me.