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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 07:57

Joe MaddonThe following is an interview transcript from Joe Maddon's press conference on Tuesday October 28, courtesy of Major League Baseball

Q: How do you feel about that it's tied in the sixth inning and you have Hamels out of the game?

JOE MADDON: That's a pretty good feeling, obviously. He has been so good, and to scratch out the runs that we've had has been very difficult. Of course their bullpen has been magnificent, also. So it's not going to be an easy task by any means. But we have a lot of our bullpen fresh, now, too. So getting him out is important.

I think us coming back like we did and sitting on it for a day or two possibly could weigh in our favor a little bit, I'm not sure yet. But I think the most important part of it is that both bullpens are rested. There's no telling what's going to happen at this point.

Q. I'm from a paper in Delaware, so I have to ask you the obligatory, what's it like staying in Wilmington question?

JOE MADDON: Quite frankly it's one of the nicest hotels we've stayed in all year. If you're going to have to have a postponement, you might as well stay here. We haven't got out in the town yet, obviously that would be very difficult, the weather is kind of nasty here, too, but great place. People have treated us wonderfully, and again, we'll get out and walk around a bit if the wind dies down.

Q. I was just wondering if you could go back and just kind of let all of us know what time you guys got to the hotel last night and how the logistics worked out for you and how you figured that out and everything that played out?

JOE MADDON: Well, Jeff Ziegler, our crack traveling secretary, got on the phone immediately and did a little research. We were pointed in this direction. And finding it was only 30 minutes from the Phillies ballpark, we jumped all over it. There was plenty of rooms.

It's a magnificent hotel, I believe it was built one year prior to Fenway Park, actually and walking through the downstairs lobby it's one of those old-fashioned, well kept, actually magnificent European units. So we get here, and it was quite a treat, actually, to be able to come up with this situation in a moment's notice.

So we're here right now. We really haven't had a chance to get out in Wilmington yet. But we got fortunate in the fact that this place was available to us. And it was all about Jeff Ziegler pulling it off.

Q. What time did you get in last night?

JOE MADDON: What time did I get in? Around 2:00. Around 2:00, I believe, yeah.

Q. I was wondering now you've had time to think about it, what do you think of the way Major League Baseball handled it and would you feel the same way if you were on the other side of things?

JOE MADDON: It's a difficult situation to call. Everybody got together and made their best attempt. When it comes down to the weather, it's kind of a difficult thing to foresee. I think we had the forecast, all the information was there and it didn't work out for me. I don't have a problem with it. I mean that sincerely. I was part of it. I was there. Charlie was there. We said let's go. We were good with going forward and it just didn't work out. It's just an unfortunate turn of events weather-wise but we'll figure it out and get through it, and whether it's tomorrow or the next day, it's just the way it is, there's no crying about it.

And I'm not really one to point fingers. I've never been that person, I'm not going to do it now. Everyone made their best call. It didn't work out to this point. Hopefully eventually it will have a good result.

Select Read More to see the rest of this interview

Q: What about continuing play, past, like the top of the fourth, when it really started to get bad. That's what enabled you to tie, and know Bud said it wouldn't have gone on.

JOE MADDON: I was expecting to play nine. At that point you don't know if it's going to let up or not either. I was fine. I was fine. I was involved in a game like that in the past, maybe not quite as cold. I know what's everybody saying. I get it. But when you're out there in the field when the umpire says "play ball," you do that.

It got worse. I thought they made the appropriate decision at that time. I think it was getting too slick. The groundskeeper was magnificent, the field itself, the way it's arranged, and the way it's able to drain itself, all those things were in place. We talked about it prior to the game. It just got to the point where it became unplayable.

Regardless of the fourth, I was still on board when they called it, I thought they did it at the right time.

Q. On the travel odyssey one more time: Was there anything that stuck out for you, jumping on a bus and having to travel the way you guys did and then getting to this place that you've never stayed before, and how did the players handle it? It sounded like you had a night that could have been kind of chaotic and it worked out well?

JOE MADDON: Honestly it did. It's like getting snowed in. I go back to my roots, on the days that it snows too much or the weather is so bad everybody can't go outside, everybody kind of gathers today. They did a tremendous job of pulling it off. Everything was organized, believe me it was. Everybody was milling around the hotel lobby, which is a magnificent lobby, waiting patiently for their keys. The bags were already here. They did a great job of getting the bags off the plane and they were here when we arrived. So believe me, it was really organized, in spite of all the chaos in front of us.

Like I came down this morning to get the coffee, and there were a bunch of Rays folks down there having a good time. Families together and a bunch of kids still with us. I don't know it was one of those moments when the organization comes together. Everybody understands what what's going on. I think we hand it well, and it was handled by Jeff Ziegler, our traveling secretary.

Q. A couple sort of baseball things: One, you may not want to give this away, but do you anticipate to start warming up two guys? Would you anticipate having a right and lefty when you start? And does this extra day today they've added now do anything to your plans with your starters or do you just continue as planned if there's a 6 and 7?

JOE MADDON: Yeah, we have to continue to plan as we have. We have to win this game to play 6 and 7. And of course we have to have the available people to pitch those games. Both bullpens got an extra day. Regarding what we're going to do prior to the game, I'd rather wait until we get there.

Of course Grant is still in the game. They've got Hamels coming up, and everybody will attempt to make whatever at that particular juncture.

We're talking about it, thinking about all those different things. And again, everybody is kind of pretty much going to be back at ground zero. We're going to have rested bullpens, people have rested starters for games in the future. All that stuff is in order. It's just going to come down, obviously, to three and a half innings to play, hopefully that's all it's going to take.

Regarding my strategy for tomorrow, I'd rather not discuss that right now.

Q. Just wondering today do you have anything going on? Are your players loosening up even back at the hotel? How are you handling today in terms of preparation?

JOE MADDON: What we have is an optional bus going out. There's a bus optional to go out for anybody that felt they needed treatment or anybody that wanted to throw or hit in the cage. It's my guess it's going to be a very small turnout, if at all. I'm fine with that. Tomorrow we'll be out in plenty of times to do all the things we need to do to get ready to play the game. The back and forth, our schedule, just getting a rest right now is about as important as anything. I know I've been sleeping like a bear right now, myself, just trying to catch up.

In regards to our guys, they haven't forgotten how to hit, throw, run, et cetera. So if they want to get out there and do it, that's fine. If they don't, they don't have to. And if there's anybody injury-wise, we're in pretty good shape. So there's nothing required of us today.

Q. Just wondering, anybody's legs get sore with playing on the wet field last night?

JOE MADDON: I haven't heard anything negative. I even watched B.J. coming around third there toward the end, I thought it was ginger on his turn, but after that he looked like he had good footing at home plate. Again, hats off to the grounds crew and the actual physical surface, it really held up well. But I have not heard anything from our guys regarding sore legs.

Q. If there was a general understanding the game would be played a full nine innings, that was never specifically stated to the crowd. Do you think that baseball should have been a little more correct about that because of the possibility of crowd control problems had you not tied the game?

JOE MADDON: That's a legitimate question right there and again, I hate to be political about this, but I'd rather defer to the Commissioner in that regard. That's not my responsibility. That's not my business. My business is to get the Rays to play, and we were prepared to play. I love the way our guys came back. When it comes down to the mechanics and the rules, that is really not to me. So that's up to the people that are responsible for that.

Q. I'd like to follow up: Some of your players did not seem to understand that it would be nine innings no matter what. Do you think that had any bearing on their approach or do you want them to know how it was going to come out?

JOE MADDON: From my perspective right there, you still don't know what's going to happen, if the weather is going to break, if it's going to stop a little bit and come back. I didn't have a weather map in front of me. Nobody was keeping me posted. So I had no idea. I was mentally prepared to play the game all the way through. I don't like the idea of putting different thoughts in players' heads during the course of the game, this might be called. If this doesn't happen, we may lose. That is not why where I wanted to go. If our guys felt motivated in that respect, I love it, the fact that we were able to come back and score right there.

But during the course of a game I really tried to not interfere with a player's thought. I might talk about a pitch selection or whatever. It forced us into the World Series. This is our destiny in regards to baseball right now. But if our guys did sense or feel that, that's wonderful, because obviously it turned out in a positive way. But I was no way going to throw it out.

Q. I can understand not wanting to get into the strategy of what you're going to do tomorrow, but if you don't play tomorrow and go an extra day, does your strategy change then?

JOE MADDON: I don't think so. I don't think so. The lineups are still set up the same and my first impulse is I don't think so. We're not going to use starters in the bullpen, we're comfortable with our relief pitchers. They've been doing it. So I don't think we have to reach into the starting rotation to pitch. We have confidence in the guys that are there. I think it's too late (inaudible).

Q. The World Series could be decided by three-and-a-half, three-inning game. Do you feel more comfortable if you were starting the game from scratch? Would that make more sense?

JOE MADDON: Again, the way my mind works, the way this whole thing came out, I haven't even considered that. I knew that once it was suspended, I'm not going to lament the fact that we should go back to zero, the first inning. I'm just dealing with the reality of it. Reality is this is what we've got. This is how it's going to be played out. Obviously if we win we're going to be very happy about it, if we don't, somebody is going to say we should have gone back to the beginning. I think I deal with the reality of the situation best, and for me there's no reason to really go there because it's not what's happening.

So for me, again, respecting the judgment of the ruling, and this is what we have in front of us. We know that. They know that. We're going to play and see what happens.

Q. This is probably the oddest situation any team has ever been in in a World Series. The rest of the World Series could be three innings. The Phillies have extra time. If they lose this game they're still leading the series, they can still win one of two more games. How do you approach this? Do you say anything to your players about approaching this, the fact that this is imperative, you've got three innings left, do something with it?

JOE MADDON: I spoke to them last night after the game, and that's one of the first times I've done that as a group, because, again, I really try to stay with the normal program. So based on the unusual nature of what just occurred, I wanted them to understand what I was thinking. I was telling them post finding out the game had been suspended. So the guys understand what I think right now. I really believe we're very unified and on the same approach. Our players definitely know what's at stake. I've had a tremendous amount of respect for our group and are very proud of our group. I really believe we're going to react to the situation well. We do know that getting back to the Trop obviously we need to get done. And we feel good about playing there.

So talking to our guys last night. We're pretty jacked up about it. There's three and a half innings to go, but our guys are very excited about this opportunity and I really expect them to handle it well.

Q. As long as you're telling us how great this hotel is, you can go ahead and tell us the name of it, if you want?

JOE MADDON: The Hotel Du Pont, I believe.

Q. You mentioned a snow day. Some of the guys might want to get treatment, are you doing a team dinner, team bonding or anything like that?

JOE MADDON: No, everybody is pretty much -- I'm going to go see my kids. My kids are actually at my niece's house in Philly. We're going to rent a car and go up there. Everybody is pretty much on their own. Davey Martinez is going to get dry clothes for his kids, because they got so wet last night. There's all kinds of different motivation to the day right now. There will be pockets of people going out, I'm sure, but for the most part there's not one big function going on.

Q. Do you think the managers will be more apt to play for one run in a three-inning game than a nine-inning game?

JOE MADDON: It depends, the bunt, for me the bunt is utilized to move up runners to have a pretty good chance of driving them in. It just depends on the moment, what's going on. We're not afraid to bunt, but there's times that we choose not to. I think with the Phillies, you look at the bottom part of their batting order, Feliz and Ruiz have been very good. So it will be the normal bunting situation. You want to get on top, but it doesn't necessarily have to be through that avenue. There's different ways of getting it done.

So I always look at who's on deck really matters a lot. The potential for pinch-hitting, all that kind of stuff, but you do want to get on top and you want to hold on to it with the bullpens being as good as they are.

Q. When this game is resumed, do you think this will be as close to a shoot-out in baseball can get? Do you have anything from your baseball past that could compare to this?

JOE MADDON: You know, it's kind of like overtime in a sense, I guess. It's a sudden victory almost to that point.

I've never had anything like this, except for the game last night, itself, the weather conditions, I was managing in Midland with the Angels, we were playing in Beaumont, I think it was '85. Could have been '86, one of those two years and I was there, it was an absolute rain the whole game, and both teams kept taking the lead, so the umpires chose to not end it. And it eventually got to ninth inning and we were down and Glenn Walker hits a grand slam for us. And I promise you, the ball was foul when he hit it down the leftfield line, and the wind was blowing, and the rain was blowing so hard that it blew the ball back fair and we won. I remember that.

Obviously it wasn't as cold as it was last night. But wet-wise, it was a ground ball to Jeff Schafer to shortstop, it had a rooster tail on it, and I was hoping he could get it to the first baseman. So wet-wise I've been there before, but not the combination with the cold, and definitely not in the World Series.

Source: MLB


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

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