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October 11, 2014

Buck Showalter


Q.  Some plays made by the Royals yesterday, like Aoki sliding in right field to stop the ball, maybe prevent another run.  How much of an impact did those plays have on the game?  There were a few that stood out.  Can you talk about the Royals' defense?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  No, it was kind of a given coming in.  They play real well defensively.  I thought we did some good things, too.  Got to kind of see one of the strengths of both clubs last night, especially on a wet field.
We were talking earlier one of the short hops, the ball bounces differently, stays down.  I don't think people realize sometime over the course of the season how much the field conditions change.  Even weather, we play on different grasses, different dirts.  The dirt, for instance, in Tampa, so different.
So it always ‑‑ I have such a ‑‑ as I know Ned does, such a respect for the ‑‑ when you can be consistent defensively it's so hard to do.  And it's a real asset of theirs and it showed last night, as I thought it did for us, too.

Q.  You mentioned the strengths of both teams.  Did you find last night, though, that a lot of what people didn't think were the strengths became strengths.  You guys were able to grind some runs, steal bases.
BUCK SHOWALTER:  That would be a great talking point.  If you look at the number of home runs they've hit in the last month, that wouldn't ‑‑ things change.
One of the beauties of playing what may appear as something on paper ‑‑ and that's why as a coach, manager, player, you can't ever assume that something good or bad may show up.  But it doesn't surprise anybody.
Especially keep in mind that the ballpark they play in ‑‑ our ballpark during certain times of the year plays big.  I thought last night the ball wasn't carrying very well.  But I remember Terry Crowley used to tell me exactly what months it's going to carry and what parts of the park.  And he was right.
So the conditions change, but the balls they hit would have been out anywhere.

Q.  Is length from your starters more important or less important in the postseason than it is in the regular season?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  Well, length from your starters means your starters pitched well.  So I think what's different is you've got off days.  So sometimes you're not putting your best foot forward to live to fight another day.
We've got Chen and Gonzalez in the bullpen today, which I'm sure will turn into tonight, but if your bullpen is not a strength, then it probably is more.
We say when we broke camp this year, and I said it last year and the year before, that if we get consistently deep in games with our starters we'll have some fun this summer.  And I think that's been the difference for both of us, us and Kansas City.
So there are no roles in your bullpen.  I think what's changed over the years is what's considered deep in a ballgame.  Deep in a ballgame now is the sixth inning.  I know that makes a lot of the veteran older players cringe, but that's just the way it is.

Q.  Is it easier to wipe away a frustrating loss if you have to turn around and play so fast, same day, basically?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  No.  No.  It is the same day.  The good thing is we don't have to get anybody loose, because they're still loose from last night.  I'm not getting into start times.  I'm sworn to double secret probation.  It makes it more comfortable for the fans to see the games around the country.  I get it, so do the players.  We'll get on the plane and head to Kansas City sometime tonight.

Q.  We've seen firsthand how important Darren O'Day is to your bullpen.  What is it about him to not necessarily worry about him giving up that home run?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  He's a real mentally tough guy.  For a guy that doesn't throw 96, he has the mentality of a guy of that.  He's got some snarl in him.  I think he handles success and failure very well.
You kind of come from his background and the things he's had to overcome over his career, he never assumes anything.  Really good teammate and really ‑‑ I wouldn't say spiritual, what's the word ‑‑ he's the guy that when they want a straight answer they go to Darren.  He's not going to sugarcoat it.  Be careful about what you want to know, because you may not like what he's going to tell you.
And through that he becomes a great self‑evaluator.  I got a little ticked at him last night when he was coming off the mound ‑‑ not ticked.  I could tell he was kind of frustrated last night.  He had a huge inning.  If it wasn't for Darren O'Day, we wouldn't even be sitting here today, we'd all be doing tee times.  I wouldn't, but they would.

Q.  As you put this team together with Dan Duquette this year, was there any similarity to the process of the way that it was when you were working with Gene Michael to put together those Yankee teams, and how would you approach Dan in general?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  I can't even remember where my keys are.  How long ago was that?
Similarities, yeah, farm system.  I look down the field August, we had six or seven guys on the field through our system the in heat of a pennant race.  That was a pretty nice moment for me, and I know for Dan and our farm system.
Dan would be the first one to tell you there's so many parts of that that went on before we got here.  It's not something that happens overnight.  You try to keep in mind people went before you and took some bullets to get it right.
But it's an ongoing process.  It never stops.  The baseball world just sings in the offseason.  You cannot ever drop your guard.  We look at the way we are every day here.  There's guys coming across there that we were already talking about.  You have to.  You can't ‑‑ especially knowing who we are and how we have to do it, we can't miss those things.
But it's been a good mix.  Dan's strengths are my weaknesses.  And I've got plenty of them.  Especially not having that coffee.  That's BS.

Q.  When you get down in a series, even if it's only one game, is there any different tension or vibe to the preparation?
BUCK SHOWALTER:  Yeah, can't you tell?  God forbid, we might get down two.  The world doesn't end.  That's one of the strengths of our club is we don't ‑‑ just like Kansas City.  You don't, Woe is me, the sky is falling.  I don't know how people can live ‑‑ you turn the page emotionally and mentally and realize you put your best foot forward and that night it didn't work out.
But I'm not curious about today.  I'm looking forward to the competition, just like our players are.  These are the best players in the world and I got a great seat and I try to watch it.  I didn't realize how much Adam could see me until he started mimicking me.  How do you see me from centerfield?
ADAM JONES:  I see it all.
BUCK SHOWALTER:  I got it blocked out by the thing and everything.

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