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October 11, 2004

Curt Schilling


Q. Despite winning your last start, you said you were displeased with your command, you said it was the worst in the last five, six, seven weeks. How much do you think is related to the ongoing ankle situation if any?

CURT SCHILLING: I don't think any of it was related to the ankle. I think it had to do more probably with the timing between starts, just wasn't as sharp as I thought I was going to be.

Q. What was your routine today?

CURT SCHILLING: Routine was the same as every day before I pitch. I went out and short-tossed and just worked on my breaking stuff and got a couple things left to do with the trainers before I go back.

Q. The last time that you guys came here for a series, you had expressed that you were disappointed that you were not going to get to pitch in Yankee Stadium. What is it about pitching at this stage, this kind of game that really gets you fired up, makes you want to pitch your best?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, I don't know -- I don't know that I've ever pitched in a game that will have the atmosphere that tomorrow's game has. In Arizona during the World Series it was electric and all that it could be here, but I think the Yankees and the Red Sox is a step above everything else. As far as what I do or how I do what I do, I don't really have an explanation aside from God has blessed me with some incredible ability and I feel like at this point in time during the season, that the best players in the world step up and use that ability. I feel like I have the ability to do that.

Q. Do you feel as many of your teammates have expressed that this series now is actually why you're here; that if it wasn't for the wild-card or the ALDS, it was for this series?

CURT SCHILLING: Yeah. I mean, this is what -- part of what I had envisioned when we agreed to come here last year, was to be here for games like this. So, yeah.

Q. Now that you've been a part of this rivalry firsthand can you talk about the passion of the fans and the intensity between the ball clubs?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, as much as the people in the stands dislike each other in both cities, they are exactly alike. (Laughter.) I think they have a rivalry that is meaningless to both clubs -- Boston, "Yankees suck" and New York "it's 1918." Neither one means anything to the players but the fans seem to think that's the winning chant every night. There's just so much history here. You can make a name for yourself in one inning, one play, one pitch that you can't make in another series with any other teams. I thought I had an idea of what it was going to be like when I signed last winter. I got a feel for it being around Boston and when I went to Boston for the first time but I had no idea that it was going to be at the level it was right from the get-go, from spring training to early April all the way through the season. I think tomorrow, I will be expecting something, and it will be a lot different than what I expect once I get out there on the mound.

Q. If a person didn't know your history of where you were before, they might think that you had been a member of the Red Sox for a long time; you seem to have gotten into the whole fabric of what's going on. Why has it happened that way?

CURT SCHILLING: I think I'm not sure what would -- I'm pliable, I guess. I walked in here, understood what was expected of me, what I needed to be, who I needed to be and what I needed to do, and I didn't have a problem with that. Expectations are something I look forward to. I signed to be in this situation. I want to be part of a team that does something that has not been done in almost a century. I think from the day I signed here on through when Keith signed and A-Rod signed, this was the first winter that the Red Sox/Yankees was a bigger deal off the field than it was on. It just heightened expectations. I came in knowing that. It didn't bother me. I'm going to go out there tomorrow and I'm going to leave myself out there. I'm pouring everything I have to be into my game and into my preparation. I fully expect like Derek does and Posada and Mariano, they expect to win when they take the field and I expect the same thing. That's why I think the matchup of personalities makes this series as much of what it is than anything.

Q. Brian Cashman was out here just saying he was trying pretty hard to acquire you last winter and you said at one point that you would only go to New York or Philadelphia but Philadelphia but then -- could you talk a little bit about how that evolved?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, contrary to reports prior to the decision to come here, I had never mentioned the Red Sox as a team that I was potentially interested in. And then when I heard that Terry had been interviewed and had a good interview, it became a situation that I thought might be -- I might be interested in playing in. That took about five minutes to develop once I talked to the Diamondbacks and literally, the next morning, that deal had been made and I was talking to the Red Sox. I mean, it happened, you know, from the time I mentioned it to Joe Garagiola to the time that I found out that they were going to be coming was probably about 30 minutes. So my understanding was I think there was a deal kind of in place in case that they became a potential team and it was made immediately and things just kind of snowballed after that.

Q. Would you have been disappointed if you were not playing the Yankees in this series?

CURT SCHILLING: No. No. I mean, I want to win a World Series, and however that ended up having to happen or however it ends up having to happen, I don't wish to play any team in the post-season. You take what's given to you and you deal with it when it comes. I expected that the Twins/Yankees series would be a tough one. I think as it evolved, you kind of got a feeling that the Yankees were going to do what they always do, find way to win a big game. But I don't think anybody wished. I think that the fans and the media more than anybody want this series to happen than the players.

Q. Do you expect Mystique and Aura to show up tomorrow night?

CURT SCHILLING: You know, Mystique and Aura, they are -- I don't know how to explain it, other than the fact that Derek Jeter, again, Posada, Rivera, true Yankees, guys that you can't envision wearing anything other than pin stripes bring something different to the field. With Joe Torre running that team, they are just different. They bring an aura to I think other teams that they have got two-out-of-three games in this series before the series starts. I've never felt since this season started, nor did I in the World Series in 2001, that they were going to beat us. I know there are other teams that believe they can't beat the Yankees. I don't think we're one of them. They are winners. You know, I think a lot of that stuff is really a cover-up for the true reason why they have done what they have done. You know, I don't know that I have more respect for anybody in the game than guys like -- than guys that are true Yankees, again, the Bernie Williams, Posada, Jeter, Rivera, guys that have proven year out that they are champions and until you beat them, you haven't done it.

Q. I know it didn't keep you from making starts or winning games, but how long had the ankle been bothering you and what is its affect now?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, this is a different problem than we had earlier in the year. Early in the year was a bone issue; this is not. This is, same ankle, just a little different part. Really only one, amazingly, just like the injury early in the year, the only thing it affects is the drive off the rubber. I can move around fine, other than pitching from the rubber. But Dr. Morgan and Jim Rowe, the training staff, have done a phenomenal job. This happened about a month ago in a Baltimore game at home. It started up and they have kind of been on top of it ever since then. We did a test run yesterday, what we are going to do tomorrow, and everything worked great. I'm not planning on it being an issue.

Q. Does the push off the rubber mean you get less on your fastball?

CURT SCHILLING: It was, before we did what we've done to it, yeah, but we have taken care of all the problems I had and, like I said yesterday, we did a dry run of what we're going to do tomorrow and it worked fine.

Q. Can you talk specifically about the Yankee lineup now versus what you may have thought it was in spring training and is it everything you thought it would be or do you have any different observations about it?

CURT SCHILLING: Like our lineup, it's just so deep. I looked at this team in August and I think that without Tony Clark, Miguel Cairo, the Ruben Sierras, I don't think they would have finished in first place. As good as they were, the one thing I think the Yankees have over most other teams is depth. Like us, they can put an All-Star type-caliber player on the field when they have an injury. We had a ton of injuries this year and did the same thing. But every time somebody needs to step up on this club, they do that. I think it's more of a testament to Joe Torre than anything. But they are deep and they present a lot of different problems. Every inning, they are going to put somebody on the plate that's a run producer or a run scorer, and not a lot of teams can do that.

Q. You talked before about wanting, one of the reasons wanting to do something that had not been done in a hundred years, when you go out there on the mound, is part of you conscious that the hopes and aspirations of all of these little boys and people in New England is with you out there?

CURT SCHILLING: No. No. All of that stuff is conversation here, conversation during down times over the last month or so. But I have too much focus to be looking at stuff like that. I can't understand that that's part of the package of coming here, but that doesn't go on the field.

Q. When you talk about getting your ankle ready for tomorrow, can you talk specifically about what to do and are you taking a painkiller or are you taping it differently?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, we are doing a couple of different things, different kind of tape with a different kind of tape job. We injected it yesterday to get a feel for it, and it worked, so I'm sure we'll inject it again tomorrow.

Q. What's the injection?

CURT SCHILLING: It's, I believe, a combination of a couple different things that they put together.

Q. You've been a part of leading the Yankees in a seven-game series, is there anything that you retain from that experience that you can bring here and use or that you can share with your teammates that they can use?

CURT SCHILLING: The only thing I retain from it is, it's hard as hell to do. You know, we had them down 3-1 or 2-0 going into New York and went back to Phoenix, down 3-2, after three of the most incredible World Series games I had ever seen. They don't quit. They understand that there's 27 outs in a game and they make you fight for everything single out, and that has not changed, again, because the core group of guys has not changed. They play the same way they played three years ago, and the same way they played when these guys became part of this organization. They understand how important each and every out is. When you compete against them, you understand how important it is to stay focused pitch to pitch and out to out.

Q. If this is indeed why you are here, can you be the difference?

CURT SCHILLING: Not me alone, no. Absolutely not. We went into Anaheim at the beginning of that series and they were arguably one of the hottest teams in the game, and we beat them three in a row and everybody talked about how bad they played. I thought we played fantastic as a team. It's going to take us playing fantastic as a team for this series to get on through the American League Championship Series. It's going to take more than one guy.

Q. I saw a note where you had the third lowest post-season ERA of anybody in history. As someone with a deep appreciation of history as you do, can you reflect on what that means to you to be up there that high?

CURT SCHILLING: It can change overnight. I said it before and I'll say it again: The post-season is not pitching good; post-season is about pitching great. And I felt that every time I take the ball, if I don't go out and go seven or eight innings and give up one or none, we are not going to win. The game is different now. Post-season in October, great players are sometimes people that you don't expect them to be. Since I got the ball for Game 1 in the playoffs in 1993, I felt like this is where I belonged and where I would excel beyond what I did in the regular season. I still feel that way.

Q. All pitchers love to pitch at home, the adrenaline rush they receive and everything else. Very few pitchers like to pitch on the road, and the adrenaline that they receive or don't receive, talk about that and if that's a situation that you thrive on.

CURT SCHILLING: In 1993 we went to Atlanta and I can remember, I was pitching the next day and I was talking to Terry Mulholland, and he said the awesome thing about being a starting pitching is you have the ability to make 55,000 people shut up when you're on the road. I'm not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up. (Laughter.) But that's a challenge in this ballpark. The adrenaline, they are going to bring the adrenaline to this park, there's no question. It's going to be loud. It's going to be thunderous, I know that. But as a starting pitcher, you have the ability to set and change momentum. Game 1 tomorrow is a tone-setter. And I understand that going out there what it is. I allow the crowd to play me as I need them as far as the noise goes.

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