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October 27, 2004

Terry Francona


Q. Can you share for us some of the more satisfying calls that you've heard from people and maybe the more surprising people?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I've had a lot of nice calls, e-mails, things like that. You know what, all during the year, because I've been with so many different teams and I've made so many good friends, I was never accused of being a good player, but I always thought I had a lot of good friends in the game. So I've heard from people the whole year, but I have gotten a lot of nice calls, or during the Yankee series, a lot of "hang in there," things like that. I've been real fortunate in this game, again, because I wasn't a real good player. I moved around a lot and met some really spectacular people that have become not just baseball friends, but people I'll have for the rest of my life.

Q. Just name one or two people that you heard from.

TERRY FRANCONA: I'd rather not, that there are so many that maybe I'll be -- I've heard from Macha a lot, Buddy Bell -- maybe I should say this, Buddy Bell was the guy that was responsible for me getting in coaching. He asked me in the winter of '90 if I wanted to be a manager in the Minor Leagues of the White Sox. And I told him no. I'd had three surgeries that winter, I wanted to try to play, because I'd worked hard. I told him I think I can still play. He kind of laughed when I told him that, because he saw he me when I was healthy. After I got released by the Cardinals that spring, he asked me if I wanted to come back and coach. I was actually in a real estate class. And needless to say, I left right in the middle of the course. I gave the instructor my books, and became a hitting instructor in Sarasota, and realized how much I loved it. Buddy took me to Detroit there. And he's responsible for a lot of what I'm doing and a lot of how I feel about players.

Q. Someone brought to my attention last night that beginning with the Dave Roberts steal against Mariano and the performance of Manny Ramirez and Pedro (Martinez)last night that your team has finally come as a complete team from top to bottom. Could you talk about that a little bit?

TERRY FRANCONA: I'm not really quite sure I followed that. I mean -- I'm not sure I really quite followed that.

Q. Everybody on the team has contributed from that game on. Can you speak about that a little bit because Ramirez and Pedro had not come through in the series until now.

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I mean we've used our entire roster, that's for sure. But there's been times this year where Manny has put us on his shoulders. Pedro has pitched more than one good game. We've used our whole entire roster. I think to win like we've gotten to this point, you need contributions from guys like Dave Roberts. You need some special things. You need some guys doing what they're capable of doing. And guys to pitch in doing something special. And we've had that from a lot of different people.

Q. Do you think the magnitude of what you're about to do or may do, if you like that better, has hit you yet or sunk in, the historical magnitude?

TERRY FRANCONA: I haven't thought about it, seriously. For about the 15th time in a row, we're trying to win tonight. I think that's our best way to attain our goal. And when there's time when the season's over and it's time to look back and reflect, but right now we're competing. And it's not even -- it's just not the time. We need to go out and beat the St. Louis Cardinals. We respect what they've done this year and we respect how good a team they are. And I think that's how we'll beat them one more game.

Q. Is that a strategy, to purposely not think about it?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yes. I don't think it helps. I'm not fighting it. It just doesn't help.

Q. How much do you think having the first two games at home helped you win the series? Purely theoretically, do you think it's right for a wildcard team to have the home field advantage over the team that has the best record in baseball in this series?

TERRY FRANCONA: We would rather play at home than on the road, our record is better there. We have to win wherever we play. So that doesn't really matter. It's like the season, you go wherever they tell you. The rules are the rules, and we just follow them. We had a better record than Anaheim, and we had to play away. We played away, didn't we? Yeah. Thank you. You just do what you're told. The rules are set up the way they are. If they change them, we'll abide by them. We won 98. St. Louis won 105. That's awesome.

Q. It's no secret that your guys are loose and fun loving and some people say they're so laid back. How much has that helped them in the pressure of the postseason, especially what you did in the last round and to come roaring out in this round?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think it goes beyond the postseason. I think things are so magnified in the postseason. I think to endure Boston, I hope people take this right because I mean it right, Boston is a pretty intense place to play, and if you let every little thing bother you or affect you it's going to be too much. There's so much interest, there's so much passion that you have to be able to let it go and show up the next day or you kind of get that hangover effect. And it's just -- it will just multiply on you too much. You have to be able to let it go. Our guys, they turn the page. Not only did they let yesterday go, they let last inning go. They have a real good way to do it.

Q. Could you talk about Manny? He's been getting base hits right along. But last night the power came back and he drove the ball pretty hard. And that's obviously the kind of hitter he can be. He's going to be chipping in hits, but when he gets going he can hit home runs.

TERRY FRANCONA: That was the hope that even though he had been somewhat quiet, he has that ability when he does break out to break out big. And that's the hope tonight that he feels really good, you don't want to pitch to David (Ortiz), he has that ability, he's done it a lot. I don't think that's unrealistic to hope for that.

Q. For the first time in all of baseball history you guys were the team that came back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series to win. Do you think that you changed the idea of how people think about a 3-0 deficit? Do you think it means something different to have a 3-0 lead today than it did a year ago?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know. I don't know. That's not a very good answer, is it? When we were down 0-3 I didn't want to know what the odds were of us winning. I thought -- obviously we faced an uphill battle. And that's why I came out very first and said we have to win tomorrow. I heard Tony say that last night. He was almost identical to what I said last week, and that's because it's true. That's the only way you can approach it. That's how we're approaching it tonight. Tonight is the only game that matters. You just try to simplify it, because if you look too far ahead it gets overwhelming. When I looked back at that series and saw all the opportunities we had to lose, I'm glad we didn't look ahead or it would have been insurmountable.

Q. Last year at this time you had two interviews, one with the Orioles and one with the Red Sox and the White Sox.

TERRY FRANCONA: I blew that one, too.

Q. Can you talk about how those interviews went and what your thoughts were at this time last year with the three possibilities and then just obviously how you feel about how it all turned out?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, there's only 30 teams and there's not very many interviews going out every winter. When you're asked to interview for a Major League team it's quite an honor. That doesn't mean you feel you're the perfect person for the job. I went down to Baltimore and you tell them how you feel. But I'm for the sure I came out thinking I was the right person. I don't doubt they would offer me a three-year contract with a lot of money. I had ties in Chicago, because I was a Minor League manager there for six years. It was somewhat -- there were some relationships there that I had. When I came to Boston I remember leaving thereafter that first day, and the interview wasn't two hours, it was a long day. I remember thinking, boy, if they -- I really like them, I don't know how they felt about me, but I was comfortable, I liked the attitude toward baseball and people. I came away being exhausted but refreshed in the feeling that this could be an unbelievable place to be a manager, and after that they did it so extensively. I've never been through such an extensive process, that if they named me the manager, they would be comfortable with it. It wasn't like I went in for two hours, and knocked them over, and then hold on, I felt like they would be comfortable with me, too, and that was important.

Q. Terry, I know any win at this time of year is a beautiful win to a manager, but do you have any explanation for some of the sloppier play? You guys with the errors in the first two games, they've had some baserunning mistakes, is that a product of a draining LCS series?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think it's a product of the field not draining. The field was soaking wet the other night. You saw Billy Mueller, he made fantastic plays last night. Sometimes -- I think the players are so good, sometimes when they don't make all the plays, and you have to remember the farther away you get from the field and the higher up the game looks easy, when you're down on the field the game is very, very fast. And things happen quickly. And there are humans playing it and they make mistakes. And sometimes that happens. You also saw our team guys pick each other up and not let those mistakes cost us ballgames. There's a lot of good that came about it, too.

Q. Terry, for all the talk, and there's been talk of Suppan's decision making at third base, can you talk about the throw, and the willingness to throw, of a player who's playing a position more or less for the first time and one of the few times in the last several months and the confidence he showed in being willing to make that play?

TERRY FRANCONA: It was a very good play. We did some things defensively yesterday all the way around. Varitek in the first inning putting the deke on -- you could see the play developing, you could see what Varitek was doing, it was pretty neat to watch. David having the wherewithal to recognize the play, make the throw, move his feet, not throw side arm, and not move his feet. And Mueller's block of third base, we did a lot of good things. They're a good team, we're still going to have to.

End of FastScripts...

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