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November 2, 2016

Terry Francona

Cleveland, Ohio - Pregame 7

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Terry Francona.

Q. It sounds like the Cubs fans are buying a lot of tickets on StubHub. If it's 50-50, do you have any kind of message for the Indians fans out there?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, I don't care who buys tickets. I mean, this place is going to be rocking. They might have more money than us. Their suburbs might be a little wealthier than ours. That's not going to have anything to do with the outcome of the game.

Q. What have you told Andrew Miller about the time in the game that he'll be used and how many pitches do you envision him throwing?
TERRY FRANCONA: Boy, if you're that good where you can tell somebody before the game, then I need to come talk to you because nobody knows that. I mean, shoot, that's hard to do. That's a tough one.

Q. Would you call this a must-win game (laughter)?
TERRY FRANCONA: (Laughing) Boy, I never would have thought the day that I'd see that you brought levity to my day (laughter).

Q. Seriously, the vibe in your clubhouse, you like things to be the same. Did you get that feeling today that guys are staying on message doing the same?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, that's one of the things we're kind of looking for. Took the Cribbage to the road today. Went out in the clubhouse to play, because you want to kind of take the temperature a little bit. I mean, you guys have been around, everybody here, long enough to see the guys that are loud but maybe trying to cover up a little bit of anxiety, and I look around the room, and one of the biggest challenges is to be yourself. And sometimes you've got to almost work at it a little bit.

I think our guys are -- all the things we've talked about since day one, I think they're living it out and I'm really proud of them for it because it helps me a lot. This is as exciting a game as you could ever play, and I don't think there's any reason to downplay that. Shoot, man, everybody's going to be nervous, myself included. As long as that doesn't get in the way, that's okay.

But I think they've handled things really well. I'm proud of them.

Q. When injuries prompted you to put together this three-man rotation, I was wondering if you could reveal now that we're to the last game like what expectations and thoughts were realistically? Did you say let's win the three Kluber games and take one other one? Or did you just want to see how it worked out?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I think you'd be surprised, like when you say win the three Kluber games. One, I hope you're right, but I don't think we ever feel that way. I mean, every time we play we feel like we're going to win, and I'm guessing the Cubs feel the same way. That's kind of how you're built.

I just thought that, well, we had five or six days off after the Toronto series and we wanted to put ourselves in the best position to win. So Mickey and I and the guys talked about potential rotation scenarios, and one of them was with the guys going -- Kluber going three and the other guys going two. But Kluber was kind of the key to that because he needed to be able to do it. So we talked to him first. And it was funny because he kind of started it. He said, "Hey, before you say anything," he goes, "I'm kind of going into this figuring I'm going 1, 4, and 7." So that kind of made it easy, you know.

But then we wanted to talk through it just to make sure that he wasn't doing it out of feeling like an obligation, because that's kind of how he is. But I think all the work he's put in, I think he has situated himself where -- and I'm not making light of going short, because I think it's tough, but I think he's situated where he'll do just fine.

Q. Please comment on today's starting lineup with Rajai and Coco in the lineup.
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I thought about it a little bit or a lot of bit. I thought Nake was pressing, which during the regular season is something you can maybe send him back out there and let him play through it. I mean, tonight's our last game, and with Kluber pitching, wanted to make sure we had a team on the field -- again, we don't have a crystal ball, but should catch the ball and play a clean game.

And the other thing is, if we're able to get Hendricks out of there, you're probably going toy Chapman, probably going to see Lester, so Rajai being in there might give us some balance anyway.

Q. Regardless when you bring him in, how long can Andrew go tonight? How many innings do you think you can get out of him?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know. I mean, how do you know that? Depends how economical or efficient his innings are. We brought him in games earlier this year where we were going to maybe have him go 1 1/3, but he's eight pitches in, and it's kind of silly to take him out.

Plus, it's not like he has to pitch tomorrow.

Q. This is a two-part question: First off, not talking about the outcome of the game, but during the game do you enjoy the game?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah. The one in Chicago I think I had some anxiety, just because there was so much going on and it was a National League game and we were running out of players. But getting -- like I go in the dugout maybe 45 minutes, maybe an hour before the game, from that point on, I mean, I don't mean to be corny, but I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I love it.

Q. Do you feel like that translates to your team in terms of your demeanor and how you feel, that they kind of take their cue from you?
TERRY FRANCONA: I would say our whole staff, I hope. I think we owe it to them to be prepared and to not -- like in situations that were anxiety or something, not to fly off the handle, because they get emotional during games. So we try to keep it under. I hope that's the case. I mean, we try hard to. We aspire to that. I do hope that's the case, but probably better off asking them.

Q. If you had to pick a word to describe this group of guys, what would it be?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, boy, I'm not so good with adjectives. I don't know. Resilient.

There's a lot of words. This is a good group. This is one of the funnest -- I mean, win, lose or draw, our season's going to be over, unless some other country wants to take us on. And I'll be as tired as you can get after this, I will miss coming every day with this group because you get pretty close.

No year is ever the same, even if a lot of the guys are, it's never quite the same. It's always a little different. And this group has been really extraordinary.

Q. With your pitching staff locked up through 2019 and the Cubs' young players, could you see a sequel to this World Series? Like no reason why both these teams can't be back very soon?
TERRY FRANCONA: I just want to win tonight. I laugh so hard, when we were fortunate enough to win, people would come the next year and say, "Hey, is it hard to repeat?" It's hard to win the first one. I mean, a lot goes into it.

Again, I understand your question. There are so many good teams out there, and I do think, and I know why you said it because our pitching and our core players are locked up, which I think bodes well for us, but so much happens that you just don't know. Like we didn't have Brantley the whole year. We weren't counting on that.

But we should get Salazar back, Carrasco back. I mean, they don't have anything going that should keep them out, but things happen. You hope you're deep enough where you can overcome some things. But as long as you have pitching, you seem like you always have a chance.

Q. It sounds like a little bit of a rough night with the TV remote?
TERRY FRANCONA: How'd you hear about that?

Q. It was all over Twitter.
TERRY FRANCONA: You're kidding? Yeah, all right. It's not like I haven't embarrassed myself before. I was having a nightmare that somebody was breaking my ribs and that was kind of the -- I woke up and my ribs hurt. I kind of got scared. And I felt there, and the remote was like -- the TV remote was like stuck in my rib cage. Evidently I had slept on it for a couple hours. I got up to go to the bathroom and, I mean, it hurt.

It's not easy being manager (laughter). My bedroom looked like a national disaster last night. I'm going to have to change a few habits when we're done here.

Q. What were you watching?
TERRY FRANCONA: I was actually watching Clinton and Hillary -- you finish the sentence, not me.

Q. You left out the peanut butter?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I had peanut butter on my glasses, too (laughter). I was dipping pretzels into the jar of peanut butter.

Q. In bed?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, yeah. Everything, man. I go straight home and I hit the bed and everything's laid out next to me. And I fell asleep at some point while eating (laughter). I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night and I'll just reach over and grab something. It's, unfortunately, it's true.

Q. I sort of hate to change the subject but --
TERRY FRANCONA: That's okay. Please do.

Q. The storms that seem to be in the forecast tonight, what are you hearing about the weather? And from your mind, does it complicate anything?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, I think we're okay. We're starting seven minutes early (laughter). I'm still trying to figure that one out.

I haven't even -- they haven't really brought it up the last couple hours, so I'm guessing that the forecast is probably getting better, because I haven't heard anything about it.

Q. Yeah, you've mentioned a couple days ago that when things get rough, you and Millsy sort of bunker in together. Can you sort of describe the relationship between you guys and the dynamic. And if we were to see you guys, would it be funny, intense? What's it like in the dugout?
TERRY FRANCONA: It's everything. I mean, it's everything. I give Millsy a lot of credit, because he puts up with a lot. Because he probably hears more than anybody else and probably more than is fair, and he handles it all the time. About two, three times a year he'll look at me like, "Enough!" And I know I better cool it. But other than that, I mean, he's like my brother. I'm fortunate.

I've been lucky. I mean, I can't imagine a person in this game that has met more good people. I felt that way when Millsy left, DeMarlo Hale took his spot in Boston. I felt the same way about D. Now, again, I've been with Millsy a lot longer. I got to stand next to John Farrell for a number of years. I mean, I've been so lucky that it's everywhere I turn around there's good people. It's really fulfilling to go through the ups, the downs, everything, with people you care about. That's what's made this place so special.

Q. Your dad had a long career, but obviously he's most remembered for playing here in Cleveland. And I know it's been busy, but have you talked to him at all about the significance of the Indians being here and you being the manager and being in this position to be in a Game 7 to win the whole thing?
TERRY FRANCONA: I mean, I've talked to my dad because just trying to see how many people are coming with him. Just making sure I don't mess up the tickets, things like that. But we never talk about the games. He's never been my coach, and it's something that I've always really respected.

Back when I was in high school he would go get a lawn chair and he'd go sit out in right field because he didn't want to make the coach feel like he was looking over his shoulder. And I think he knew early on how bad I wanted to be a player, and I think -- again, we talked about baseball growing up. That's all we talked about. But he wasn't my coach. He never told me how to hold the bat. I think he knew I was paying attention, and that I'd figure it out.

And it's worked well. You'd be hard pressed to find a better dad, and that's the good part of it.

Q. The peanut butter and all of the assorted foods, I wanted to make sure you didn't leave anything out. Doesn't ice cream have to figure in there somewhere?
TERRY FRANCONA: I've had enough ice cream. I can't look at ice cream for a while. Some company brought some in here the other day. I told them to take it into the kitchen because I really don't have a yearning for that right now.

You know what happens? I don't eat during the day. Like what is it, it's 5:00. I haven't eaten yet. I just either forgot or whatever, I just got busy. So normally when the game starts I'll think, okay, you know what? I'll have a salad tonight. By the 7th inning, I'm like man, I want everything greasy I can find. Then it just escalates from there.

Q. You've been on the opposite side of this where your team came back from a big deficit. Is there anything you can take from being on that to maybe turn the tables in your favor, facing a team that's got a lot of momentum?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think the momentum thing is part of the equation tonight. I think every game is its own entity, and I've always felt like that even when we had won a couple in a row. The pitchers tonight are going to have a lot to say about -- the momentum will start when the game starts, in a new direction, hopefully ours. I just think the biggest thing is regardless of whether you won or lost yesterday, showing up today and being yourself is the most important thing.

Like I was saying earlier, sometimes that's not the easiest thing to do. You're getting pulled in a lot of different directions, lot of noise. So just if you're able to be yourself, that gives you the best chance to go out and play the best game you can.

This is our last day, and I want to thank everybody. This has been fun, and I appreciate your patience and I've enjoyed this a lot. So thank you very much.

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