10/21/08 5:27 PM ET
Joe Maddon workout day interview
Manager speaks about the importance of routine to maintain balance
By / MLB.com
They just announced that the Backstreet Boys will be here tomorrow singing the National Anthem. Can you pull any strings to get Springsteen for Game 2?
JOE MADDON: I've been trying all long, I actually had it in the back of my mind, we had it the word out there. If he wants to play for another hour or so, that would be fine, too.
Having watched Frankie Rodriguez firsthand in '02, how much of an inspiration was that for using Price as you did on Sunday night?
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 every day.
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 together.
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 there.
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.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.