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October 3, 2000

Edgardo Alfonzo

Mike Hampton

Mike Piazza


Q. For Mike Hampton, you've done great against the Giants your whole year. Is there an explanation?

MIKE HAMPTON: We've scored more runs than they have. The biggest thing is it's a team game. So it's runs, defense, and pitching good enough, I guess. There's no real secret.

Q. For Mike again, do you not put any stock whatsoever in different records versus different teams in your lifetime, when you do have a good record versus one team, as opposed to not so good against another team?

MIKE HAMPTON: To me, you have to prove yourself every time out. You can't live in the past, because it really doesn't matter on that day that you're playing. So I don't put too much stock in it. It happened in my favor over the past, but I still have to go out and prove myself.

Q. Mike, the Giants have done very well at their new stadium, and they swept the Mets when you came here this year. Do you think about that coming in?

MIKE PIAZZA: Obviously, they're a very good ball club and they play well at home. But the playoff experience that I have is just momentum really isn't really any -- it doesn't carry over. So anything could happen. We know when they play well here it's going to be a formidable challenge for us, but we want to go out and play good baseball and not beat ourselves, and get some breaks, and execute.

Q. Mike and Edgardo, the Giants have Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds, a good one-two punch. Do you guys draw off each other?

MIKE PIAZZA: I certainly do. I have all the respect in the world for Edgardo here. I think he's one of the most underrated players in the game. And -- but I think our team, the times that we've been successful this year, played good baseball is we've had a very balanced lineup, and we've had a lot of guys contributing, and Fonzi and I are obviously a part of the lineup. We're not going to win with just us. We have to have everybody contributing, and I think that's what's worked well for us this year.

EDGARDO ALFONZO: It's tough to just point to one guy and try to do the job the whole year. I think the whole nine guys in the lineup, they've been doing a great job. And I think this year we've been just more together, do the little things to win, and that's what's important about this game.

MIKE PIAZZA: We want to do our part. We're a big part of the lineup, but we can't really put sort of extra pressure on ourselves. We just want to swing the bat, relax, and hopefully contribute.

Q. Considering you guys played terrific ball this summer, and then you also slumped. Have you had a chance to sit back and reflect on how good you guys really are? Are you a great team or potentially great team? Or is that question still to be answered?

MIKE PIAZZA: I think we're a good team when we play well. I think that goes for every team. I saw a good quote a few days ago, John Schuerholz said at one time during the year each team was the best team in the League. And I think we've got a good ball club. We're all proud of our year. We have a lot of wins, but we know, hopefully, as I said, we'll play well and win games, go as far as we can.

Q. Mike, how are you feeling now, and how are you feeling in relation to how you felt last year?

MIKE PIAZZA: I feel pretty good. My body actually looks like an old banana, but it's fine. It's like anything else. I'll be the first to say, it's been a long year, all of us have worked hard and we got some war wounds, but we're ready to go. We've had some time to recuperate, and it's all even from here on out. And you have to find a way to dig down deep and find an energy reserve. And like I said, the motivation isn't the hard part, because the adrenaline takes over, and this is when, like I said, you should have fun and enjoy it.

Q. Edgardo, the same question for you, do you feel physically a little better this year than you did the same time last year?

EDGARDO ALFONZO: Well, I would say yes. Last year we had the opportunity to go to an extra game, and we don't have no more time to rest. We went to Cincinnati to Arizona. It's kind of like travels make you tired a lot. And this year we had time to shut it down and recuperate, new energy. And I think it's going to be mentally and physically prepared for this playoff, I think. I feel pretty good.

Q. Barry's post-season hitting troubles are a story that follow him around and have followed him around from his days at the Pirates. Can you feel for him?

MIKE PIAZZA: Well, with all due respect to Barry, I hope that continues. He's a great player, and you know what, there's no explanation for it. Sometimes guys just put too much pressure on themselves and aren't able to swing the bat the way they know how. It's so relevant in all sports. The guys that are able to find that zone and relax and execute are the teams that go a long way. There's no -- if we knew how to do that, we'd all be champions. Obviously, there can only be one champion. You have to find something, I don't know what it is. Some guys find it, some guys don't. So again, I don't know, there's no formula for success in the playoffs. It's just executing, getting good pitching, not beating yourself. Little things mean a lot in these games. So we'll just, like I said, we'll see what happens. But again, we just hope he's not overdue.

Q. Edgardo, Jeff Kent struggled when he played in New York. How do you explain how you've thrived in New York?

EDGARDO ALFONZO: I don't know. It's hard to think about, because the way I've been playing in New York, the way Jeff -- I don't know, something that I think he doesn't feel comfortable with. And he's a great player. He's a great player, and I always watch him the time I come with the Mets, and he plays hard. And as soon as he came here for San Francisco, he started doing everything for the team and posting big numbers. I don't know, two different type of players, I think.

Q. Mike, when you walked back to the hotel after the game here, was that out of frustration or how the season had started for you? And was that sort of a bottoming out part, and you got better from there?

MIKE HAMPTON: It was more of like a gut check, basically, just to reflect on where I was, how things had gone up to that point, and why they had, and what I could do to change and to get better. A lot of times we've got to check ourselves. The best critic is the one that you're looking at in the mirror. And I just had to get back to the way things were in the past.

Q. Mike, what is the biggest way you have changed on the mound since the first five or six starts this year?

MIKE HAMPTON: Probably the aggressiveness. Before, it seemed, I don't know, I felt that the physical part that was there, it was more mental than anything. Just the reputation I had to live up to, if I had to impress the guys. They got me over here to be the No. 1 guy. I had to show them that I was worthy of that. And then -- and I never doubted myself having that, and having the physical talent to get there. But basically just -- it was like, just go out and do the job. Throw strikes and be aggressive, like I always have been.

Q. Edgardo, would you talk about Livan Hernandez and the weapons he has?

EDGARDO ALFONZO: The little I've been seeing Livan, he's been like a dominating guy. He likes to work on the corners, and he likes to -- he throws the breaking ball anytime. And he's much like the type of guy, he likes to go after you and try to get you early in the count. And we'll see how he's going to work in this playoff. He's a great pitcher, and I have respect for him. We'll see what happens. He's the type of guy he tries to work in the corner, like I say, curve change. And we'll see.

Q. Mike Hampton, first, how is your sore throat; and secondly, how is the atmosphere during the playoffs different during the regular season?

MIKE HAMPTON: My throat is fine. The medication they gave me is pretty strong, so it did the job. But, I don't know, this is my fourth post season, and the way I see it, to me, it just seems like players put a lot more pressure on themselves and get totally out of what they've done for 162 games. And I did that in my '97 start, and I was like: I just can't do that again. I only had one chance to pitch, and it was eating at me that I was pressing and trying to do things totally different. I said: I'm not going to do that. Stay aggressive and trust myself. And as a position player, as well, just do the things that come natural. You don't have to hit a 3-1 homer with no one on. You get your good pitch and hit it. As pitcher, you try to execute pitch after pitch. One thing is personal stats do not matter in the post season. The only thing that matters is wins, and that's what we're trying to accomplish.

Q. This is for anybody, when you guys came out here during the season and got swept, afterwards a lot of guys said: Wait until you guys get back to our house. I know you want to win tomorrow, but how important is it for you guys to just get a win here and win a game?

MIKE PIAZZA: Obviously, it's very important to get a win. Win the first game in a five-game series, because of the pressure, obviously, switches to them a little bit if we can take the first game. Which kind of is similar to Arizona last year, after we beat them, it kind of put a little pressure on them, even though they didn't roll over and die. So the short series is tough. You have to come out swinging early on, and hopefully, as I said, take the first one, worry about the first one, and if you get the first one, then obviously you can really do some damage if you win the next one.

Q. Going back to that series, Mike Hampton and Edgardo, how much more comfortable are you this time, knowing he's healthy, when you played last time he was bothered with his wrist and elbow?

EDGARDO ALFONZO: Last time it was here it was kind of a little hard because we don't have Mike, but this is early. We don't have to depend on one guy, we have to contribute every guy in the lineup, every guy on the roster to win. And of course we want to have Mike in this series. And we'll see what happens. I think it's going to be a tough series, it's going to be day-by-day, and just whoever wins the first one has more chance.

MIKE HAMPTON: I think we definitely have a little more confidence, especially after the four-game series we played at Shea. It was early in the season, we played them the first time, and like you said we didn't have Mike, and I know I definitely wasn't right. But we have plenty of confidence, and confidence in ourselves and the guys -- I know the guys that are behind me. So you try not to factor in any previous games you played, but we're confident in our ability, and I'm sure we'll give it a good shot.

Q. How important was it after the struggles in early September to finish up strong?

MIKE HAMPTON: I tell you what, it was actually pretty ugly for a while. But we finished on a winning note. We had some momentum going coming into the post season. That's good, anytime you're winning going into the post season. Things worked out great. We were able to clinch early, get our regular at-bats, and then get some time off. I think we're confident in what we can do here.

Q. Mike Hampton mentioned about the teams pressing when they're the first time in a post season. You guys were in it last year, how much more confident are you this year having that experience under your belt?

EDGARDO ALFONZO: For me, I think my first playoff last year, having a good time and I'm really enjoying it. And this year I think it's going to help. It's going to help the way I played last year -- the way we played last year, hopefully will help. And we just have to forget about what happened last year. We have to come here and try to win, try to do the little things to win and take advantage of every mistake they make, and hopefully the little experience I have helped me this year, and the little experience we have is going to be a big part in this year for us.

MIKE PIAZZA: Well, myself, personally, I think there comes, and I hope at least for me in a few of the post seasons I've been in, there comes a special moment when you look around and realize that especially last year with the two extra inning games, and you look around and you realize how fortunate you are to be in that situation and how much fun it is, and how much you enjoy it. And it has a way of just alleviating the pressure you put on yourself. Like I said, I hope that happens sooner than later for us. And like I said, those games were just epic games. And I think we can all, everyone that has been on this team can draw from that. And like I said, I hope that -- well, not 16 or 17 inning games, but just exciting games, where, as I said, it kind of does hit you, and you look around and you say: Wow, I'm glad I'm here. I'm glad I'm taking part in this, because this is what baseball is all about. So I think you get maybe a little philosophical at times when you have a tough battle. And hopefully, that will happen. Like I said, we're looking forward to it, and we're all up for the playoffs, and we just want to have fun and enjoy it as well.

End of FastScripts....

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