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October 23, 2004

Terry Francona


Q. Did you make any alterations on the roster from the previous playoff series, and if so, can you tell us about the thinking that went into it?

TERRY FRANCONA: Sure. We ended up adding Kevin Youkilis, we had in the first round and we went with ten pitchers. So Ramiro Mendoza was the pitcher that was on that was taken off. And the thinking was that with Derek Lowe being available tonight and tomorrow night in the bullpen, Bronson Arroyo, the whole time, two guys that are really stretched out and really durable, we could take advantage of having the extra position player, especially when we go to the National League city. Again it maybe makes Dave Roberts a little more valuable to us, more versatile, and when we get into the National League city, we can play maybe a little bit more National League style of baseball. Because of the versatility of our guys in the pen, we should be okay, and I think there's a confidence in what Schilling will give us, even though it may not be nine innings, it will be enough where we don't get in a spot.

Q. With only a day, really, since you've known who you are going to be playing, can you just address the issue of how important it is to have all of the information that the scouts get and what it does for you and how it makes your job easier?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yes, it does very much. Our meetings before Anaheim and New York were very, very informative and very good. This one was a little bit different because of the time span. You know with Houston and St. Louis playing so late, our scouts didn't get in until yesterday afternoon. So they put the package together and we met last night at about 8:00 till -- for a while. Then we went back today for a couple of hours and met again and we'll pass along to the players what we need to do the way we do it. Again it was a little bit, I don't want to say "disjointed" but a little bit more different, but we got to accomplish what had we wanted to do, because this is the hardest meeting for all of us because we have not played these teams. Even with our National League background, some of us, when you're away for a couple of years and haven't seen teams over the course of a year, it's a little bit different.

Q. How significant is it that Steve Kline is not on the roster and they only have one left-hander to deal with your left-handers in the middle?

TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, nobody roots for guys to be hurt. I think you know that. But in saying that, I'm really excited that we don't have to face Steve Kline out of the bullpen. He's one of the top lefty-on-lefty guys. He's good. He's a guy that can be brought in for an Ortiz-Millar-Nixon and give us trouble. If they only have one, hopefully we make them use him early and it would put us obviously in a better spot.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about Curt (Schilling) and what you can see from him up close when it comes to his pain threshold and what he's going through with the injury and things that you have been doing to the ankle so he can pitch in order to help you guys win a World Series?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, he's already got himself sutured up. To be honest with you, there's not too much I ask him. I'm not sure I really want to know. He's going to pitch. Whether he's in pain or not, it's up to him to handle it. I'm very confident he will handle it. So sometimes I'm not sure there really needs to be a whole lot said. This is the time of year we know he's going to pitch, so we'll just go about it.

Q. The Yankees admitted last year that they were maybe flat for the first couple of games of the World Series after winning such an emotional series against the Red Sox. How do you get your guys up? Do you talk about that at all in preparation for the World Series?

TERRY FRANCONA: No, that's not even been considered. If we can't be ready to play in the World Series -- I think our guys are ready to play on Sunday afternoon after Saturday night games. I'm not very concerned about that. This is the biggest event we could ever play in. That is the farthest thing from my mind. What I do care about, this is probably going to get boring, is winning tonight. That's what we're going to try to do is win the game tonight. If we can't get excited about playing the St. Louis Cardinals, we missed the boat a long time ago, and I don't think we have.

Q. In your scouting meeting, did you address any possibilities that the Cardinals may try to bunt on Schilling more than the Yankees did, and do you think that's a strategy they might employ?

TERRY FRANCONA: Again, if Larry Walker, Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds want to bunt, please go over and tell them I said "go ahead." You know what I'm saying? There are some guys that do bunt that we know will bunt. We'll pitch to them. And Schill is actually very good at that stuff. It just might hurt a little bit, but I don't think they are going to get by doing things they normally would not do.

Q. There are all kinds of stories in all of sports through time about guys who do heroic things by playing injured, etc. You have a guy on your team who is having like a minor surgical procedure every time he needs to pitch. As far as all of the stories that you've heard and the things that you've seen in baseball, where does what Curt's doing rate, and what do you think about the fact that he's going through this in order to play for your team?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I'm not real concerned about comparing it to -- because I've never been around other things. For me it's No. 1 because it's our team and I know what he brings to our team. But again, maybe -- and I don't mean to take it for granted, but I guess I expect -- I've known Schill long enough that I expect him to pitch. That's why he's here. That's why we wanted him so badly because he'll be a good pitcher through thick and thin. He's a competitor, he's good, that's why he came here and he wants to fulfill that, and he will.

Q. After working so closely this year with Theo Epstein, can you talk about how he approaches his job and goes about it? And also, what it means to have a guy so young and obviously such a Red Sox fan as the leader of this organization?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I'll be glad to talk about Theo. I don't think it's my job to evaluate him. That's kind of the other way around. I understand the order, chain of command. The age, I don't think was ever an issue. I know it wasn't. The first ten minutes of the interview, he had me. Very intelligent, very well prepared. Again, it's not my job to evaluate him. I think we work very well together. I would have been surprised if we didn't after the first interview. I think our philosophies are largely alike. He allows me an opinion on everything. I am glad he has an opinion, too. He's supposed to. I think we agree on how things are supposed to be run. I don't want the clubhouse for him to feel like he or anybody in the front office can't come in there and say something; that would bother me. So I think we have a pretty good set-up.

Q. Do you see where his being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I don't know if it influences his job or where that comes out more so than you would see with somebody else who just happened to be working for the organization?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know. I mean, we don't really talk about it that much. I don't know. I think our philosophies are really a lot similar. The one big difference is our SAT scores. (Laughter.) They are very different.

Q. It's breezy out there this evening, will the wind affect Wakefield's knuckleball?

TERRY FRANCONA: I hope so. As long as it's not at his back, that's the one time where it's a little bit to his disadvantage. If it's going sideways or against him, that's good for us.

Q. A couple of your guys described yesterday your team as having such a versatility in the guys who comes off the bench; that it's almost like a National League team that plays in the American League. Do you agree with that assessment? Do you think that you'll be able to do some of the things with your roster that you were able to do with the National League roster when you managed in Philly?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I do agree with that, the second half of the year. When we made the trades, our team drastically changed or altered the way we were allowed to play the game and Dave Roberts is an example; Cabrera, Mientkiewicz, Pokey (Reese). Some of the guys that are playing now, they have speed, they can hit-and-run, steal a base and bunt. We can change our style or add to our style a little bit to get one run if we need it.

Q. Baseball is a sport that is so rich in superstitions and there's been so much talk among fans out there, "I'm not going to change my underwear till they lose, because it must be what I'm doing right."

TERRY FRANCONA: You're saying that? (Laughter.) Back up a couple of rows, will you? (Laughter.)

Q. Other people, folks growing their beard, saying "I'm not going to shave." Where do superstitions fit in with you? We often see pitchers not stepping on the foul line as they come off the field.

TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, I really don't think I have any superstitions. But in saying that when things are going good, I don't do anything different. So that's sort of covering my rear end. I know I can see myself times in the game, things are going well and you just don't want to mess it up. But I really don't spend a lot of time thinking about things like that, I hope.

Q. You talked about sometimes National League style of managing, but what have you learned between Philadelphia and now from the year you spent with Shapiro in Cleveland and the time you spent in Oakland that has translated into your job now?

TERRY FRANCONA: You just named two people, Billy Beane, Mark Shapiro, Kenny Macha and those guys, those were really good years for me. When you get fired, especially for the first time, it's a tough one to handle. It knocks your ego and yourself esteem down a peg or two. I went to Cleveland to try to do the right thing. I knew I wanted to be back on the field but I thought it would be a good year to learn and it was a great year to learn. I got around some terrific people. I got to see how the general manager/manager works maybe differently than I had seen before and I got to see it from a viewpoint where it wasn't a personal thing because I wasn't a manager. Then I went to Oakland with the way the A's kind of do more with less and being around Macha, who is a guy I really respect a lot and Billy Beane, the way they do things, it kind of stoked the fire a little bit to maybe I thought I could manage again, because I really didn't know if I wanted to. They were great learning years, especially in Oakland. Helped me learn and put into practice some of the things I already thought I felt, but wasn't sure maybe how to put it into practice and they were good learning experiences; great preparation for this job.

Q. You had Tony Womack in spring training, what do you remember about his game and why he didn't make your ballclub and then the fact that he's going against you now?

TERRY FRANCONA: It's not a surprise that Tony is doing what he's doing. He didn't make our ballclub, but physically, we thought he was going to put himself in danger to play, and we just wanted to -- we just had to hold him back because we didn't think it was fair. If he went out and hurt himself, we didn't think that was right. When medical people tell you that and you have to live with that, because another team decides they would give him an opportunity they would let him go there out of fairness. We thought he could play. We thought he would have been a heck of a utility guy here. But in fairness to him, we allowed him going somewhere where they would give him opportunities, and he made the most of it. He was exciting, that's why we had him in camp, but we were just not comfortable that he was ready to play.

End of FastScripts...

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