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October 11, 2004

Terry Francona


Q. Any concerns about Curt? I know he just went out there and tried out his ankle, any concerns?

TERRY FRANCONA: No, that was the normal. He went out earlier and just did his long tosses throwing just like he always does prior to a game day. He's ready to go.

Q. What did you learn looking close-up at Schilling this year that you didn't know about him coming into the season?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I was with him five years, so I thought I knew him pretty good. I think part of the reason he was here is because of the glowing remarks I probably said about him in some of my interviews and the conversations after. I think I knew him pretty well. I think even back in Philadelphia, we thought the bigger the stage, the better pitcher he would be. The stage wasn't always that big because we were struggling as a young team. But when it was a bigger game, he certainly seemed to -- when there's adrenaline, he can kick it up a notch, and also, not lose sight of the game, the game doesn't quicken up on him. He'll command, he might throw a couple of miles an hour harder. But the game doesn't surprise him.

Q. But is there anything like the older Schilling now versus five or eight years ago?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think like all of us he's a little bit more mature, probably in the way he treats the game, people. Just like the rest of us. I think we got him at a good time. He had surgery a few years back and he's back healthy, strong. The more you learn about your craft and stay healthy, the better you're going to be, and he's definitely an example of that.

Q. Could you talk about the adrenaline that Curt picks up; have you ever seen another pitcher use that or take that to that level?

TERRY FRANCONA: I've seen a lot of pitchers and players get very excited and have a lot of adrenaline, but not pitch that good. The idea is, he prepares, it's well documented. He gets excited about big games. But what he does, is he carries out his game plan. He's a very good pitcher. A lot of guys get excited, but back in AA it doesn't necessarily mean what transpires later is good for the ballclub. Balls start flying all over the place.

Q. Between watching last year's series and sitting through 19 games this year, have you gotten a feel how big of a proportion that this series takes on?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I started to feel that in spring training when there was a line at 6:00 a.m. I had people yelling at me because we didn't play all of our regulars. Yeah, I think I do understand. The thing we need to cautious ourselves is that you doesn't necessarily do things differently. The game is the game and you prepare and you try to win. Just because there's extra emotion maybe with the fans, things like that, you can't do things differently, it's just not right, it's not the way you win. I certainly feel and see the added electricity and enthusiasm, passion for these games, sure.

Q. When Curt signed with the Red Sox and said, well, he accepted, he wanted to pitch against the Yankees and he said now I have to learn to hate the Yankees. Do you think this is his perfect stage?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I do. I think he's been -- like you just said, he made that comment back in, what, December? He's been looking forward to this situation, this type of game for a long time. And sure, it doesn't guarantee wins, but I think you're going to see the best of Schill. You've seen Mussina enough, too, to know that you're going to see the best of him, too. It will be a great game, a great match-up.

Q. The middle of your lineup with Manny and David there, have you ever seen two hitters who are more imposing going right back-to-back?

TERRY FRANCONA: The only two I can even think off the top of my hat would be Francona/Mills. Close second. (Laughter.) We tend to maybe sometimes take them for granted because they are on our team. I have a feeling when you're in the opposing dugout and they are coming up in the middle of an inning, you probably know that at some point you're going to get nicked up. They are too dangerous. They command the strike zone. They hit the ball to the opposite field and Manny hits the ball like a right-handed pull hitter with a lot of authority. They beat you in a lot of ways and with Johnny Damon and Bellhorn getting on base, he gives you a pretty good chance to score runs.

Q. Is this what your guys wanted, the Yankees/Red Sox, from the get-go, is this what they were shooting for?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think this is what the fans were shooting for. I know back in July, I just wanted to be a part of it. We were kind of spinning our wheels. There's going to be a lot of excitement, and it probably seems proper to have to go through the Yankees to get to where you want to go. But if they would have wanted to lose, I'd have been okay with that, too. We just wanted to move on. We don't really care who we play to move on.

Q. I know you weren't here last year, but how much do you think your guys are carrying that with them, just the memory of what they went through and how close they actually came?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think they carry anything. I was telling the guys the other day, I'm not sure they always know how many outs there are, so I don't think that a year ago is going to be a real big burden on us this series. I think this group has found their identity. I think every year the identity is different. This group, although there are a lot of the same guys, I think they just really like to play baseball. That's why on a Sunday day game after Saturday night games and when you play the Yankees and you're moving on to Tampa, you get asked about the hangover effect. These guys just like to play ball; I don't think they really care where it is.

Q. Do you weigh at all the possibility of going 1-4-7 with Curt and was his leg a factor? What was your thinking?

TERRY FRANCONA: His leg was not a factor. The factor that we thought mostly was we didn't think it was to our competitive advantage. It just didn't make sense -- it just doesn't make sense to us. If it gave us an advantage I think we would have done it. We don't feel like it would.

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