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October 5, 2014

Buck Showalter


THE MODERATOR:   We're about to get started.  First question for Buck today.

Q.  Buck, what lessons, if any, might you have drawn from your 1995 Division Series experience when you managed the Yankees with a 2‑0 lead on the Mariners, what might you be applying to today's game and series?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  You thought about all night asking that question first, didn't you?  (Laughter.)
How old are you?  I'm 58.  I can't remember what happened yesterday, much less than '95.  That was a 2‑3 format, right?
THE MODERATOR:  Is that the answer?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  That's a good answer, I think, isn't it?
Sure, we all learn‑‑ if I had known how good Mariano Rivera was going to be, he pitched a lot in that series.  I remember all the grief we took for putting him on the roster, and maybe we would have had Jeter.  They weren't ready for it then.
And Mo went through that eighth inning thing with John Wetteland, didn't he? That's the thing I think about.  I thought it was kind of a "meant to be" thing.

Q.  Steve Pearce is a guy who kicked around for a long time and this year has really kind of emerged.  What do you think took him so long?  What have been the factors in terms of him becoming the player that he's become this year?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  That would be a good question for him.  Obviously I'm sure you've asked him, but, you know, opportunity.  There are so many guys in today's game, and our guys have heard me say this a lot, 28‑32 years of age, they have the work ethic, the "want to" and it's important to them.
We're not that smart.  We have let him go, too, comparatively speaking.  But your timing is everything.  I think Steve's make‑up, his whole thing fits us well.  He knows we get him and what he brings.
I gotta tell you, because Chris was playing the home games for five innings and we didn't really have somebody else, look at his at‑bats in Spring Training.  He set a new record for us since I've been here.  He played every game on the road and every four innings at home.  He made himself into a pretty good first baseman.  We kept watching him, This guy is pretty good over there.
He worked at it.  Just like he works at his hitting almost to a fault.  One of the problems he had was evolving into more is not better because he was playing so much.  He had to go on the DL last year with sore wrists.  This year we had to back off him again toward the end because he was getting it again.
It's really hard for someone like him to not do "more is better."  But Stevey, he's one of the guys when you put your head on your pillow, he's going to be as good as he's capable of being.
That's the guys that let you sleep at night, guys like him.  Like I know J.J. Hardy, if we can keep good people around him, Jonathan and Manny will be as good asthey're capable of being.  Just watch Nick, watch Jonesy, watch Matt.  I wish we were that smart, we wouldn't have let him go the first time.

Q.  As far as establishing something in that clubhouse, a certain mindset or mentality, how important is Jones' maturation been?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  His words have carried weight because they match his approach.  They match his playing.  There is a lot of guys that talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk.
Jonesy, you really need one of your best players, I told him when I got here I really need one of my best players to play the game right.  It can't be do as I say, but not as I do.  He has never gone down that path.
He still likes all of us, gets challenged by knowing how much weight our words carry, and people do actually listen to you here.
Good teammate.  His effort is so consistent.  He's one of those guys when he rolls the ball over, he wants to punish his body going down the line he's so mad at himself, instead of guys that peel off.
I just reiterate it makes my job easier when one of, if not my best players, plays the game right, what's really tough on a manager is when that guy doesn't.  But that's tough, because not everybody carries that skill set around.

Q.  Can a guy like Caleb, he's had a long career to get to this point and he struggled offensively Septemberinto now.  What do you do with a guy like that to keep him centered?  And how important is it to have Nick Hundley around?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  They both had their periods.  I think they understand that we're not just lip service about where their priorities are.  You're going to take four at‑bats a game and you're going to make 100 and 200 decisions behind the plate.
The math is real easy on that, how do you impact the game more?
What we get from them offensively is just a luxury.  It's still one of the amazing things to me in baseball, a quality offensive catcher that is an offensive force in today's game.
The way it is played it is so challenging for catchers physically, mentally, and emotionally because all this information now about pitch sequence, stuff that they have to constantly be rebooting the computer in their mind.
I think they know, would we like for them to crutch in an RBI or hit here and then?  Sure, but that's a luxury the way we look at it, and I think they know that.  And they've both brought that very consistently.
Fortunately for Caleb, he showed us glimpses of why he should have won the Eastern MVP last year and almost drove in over 100 runs.
He's a better offensive player than he's shown us here lately, which he's shown us at times this year.  He got going there and helped us offensively for a while, but it wasn't his priority.

Q.  We‑‑
BUCK SHOWALTER:  Mississippi State beat A&M yesterday, by the way.  How did Oklahoma do yesterday?

Q.  Buck, there has been sort of a 'grind out at bat, go deep in the count' mentality in places.  And I talked to Adam about your team's philosophy toward hitting, and he basically said, If there is a strike, swing at it.  How do you characterize your team's approach to hitting and do you let hitters be who they are?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  Trying to make 'em robots, I mean, thank God they're all different.  Y'all would have nothing to write about.  I was kidding Derek, he's had his share of eye rolls from people he answered something‑‑ I'm off the subject matter, but he‑‑ what did you ask me?

Q.  About the team‑‑
BUCK SHOWALTER:  Approach‑‑ everybody is different.  You can't make everybody a robot.  They're human beings and they are who they are, you know?  You going to rob from Peter to pay Paul?
Adam is going to walk 80 times next year and go to hit .260 with seven home runs.  What do you want.
Sometimes we try to put everybody into this package.  We like him just the way they are.  The guys are who they are, you know?  You can say it's an organizational philosophy.  It's about managing people and trying to adjust to them.  I don't ever want to adjust to me.  I want to adjust to them and their skills.  They are who they are, and the other teams know it, too.
There's no perfect player.  Every player you get in a trade, Well, I didn't know that about him.  Something good, something bad.
I don't want them to jump shot to me.  I want to jump shot to them and their skills, try to figure that out, you know, what's best?
Everybody at their warts and blemishes, you, me, players.  So if you constantly dwell on that, comparatively speaking, to what everybody else is doing, you try to reinvent this game, this is your philosophy, what if the player can't execute your philosophy?
Philosophy is winning games.  Thank God they're not all the same.  Last thing I want to do is suppress a personality, I want that to come out because that's what makes the world go around.
THE MODERATOR:  We will get Miguel get up here. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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