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October 21, 2004

Albert Pujols

Scott Rolen


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Albert Pujols.

Q. To go seven games in the NLCS and now have this, now you've got the World Series, just talk about your feelings at this time.

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, first of all, it's amazing. This is what you dream about, you know, going to the World Series as a little boy. Getting the opportunity to play in Game 7 against the best pitcher in the league for the last 20 years, Roger Clemens, he's amazing. It doesn't get any better than that. That's what it's all about, playing in this game. We went to Houston, they got the crowd going. Brought the series back here, did it in front of our home crowd. Like I said, it's amazing. Never thought going into spring training we were going to have the opportunity to be in this situation. Just thank God we came through and we're going to the World Series, it's not over. We need to keep going.

Q. How locked in were you during this series? It looked like you could get a hit any time you wanted.

ALBERT PUJOLS: Am I locked in (laughing)? No, it's just a blessing. Every time I go out there, it's to glorify my God. I don't care about who's watching me. I know there are 52,000 people watching me play. I just want to do my job, not try to do too much. I was thinking to myself, "There's no hero on this team." Everybody comes together during the season and we had a great year. We got the opportunity to play in the playoffs and do our job. Go out there and play hard. I tell you what, this at-bat right here, the last at-bat against Clemens is one of the best, I think I'm going to keep dreaming about it for the next couple of weeks. At that time, I didn't want to try to do too much, just see a good pitch to hit. I told you, he didn't make a bad pitch. That pitch was up. Just thank the Lord my hands came through.

Q. All year you guys have had a tendency to pull games out. Talk about this team's ability to win in these situations.

ALBERT PUJOLS: Like I told you guys all year long and during the playoffs, you have to find a way to win. You can't win with the long ball. You have to find a way to win, to do something, to create something, to hit and run, get a bunt, steal a base. That's what we did all year long and we carried on in the playoffs. They have a great team over there. Houston Astros, they're just like us. They bunt, run the bases, hit the long balls. You know, I just thank God this guy (Scott Rolen) came through for us. Big hit, it's unbelievable.

THE MODERATOR: We'll also take questions for Scott Rolen.

Q. Talk about the importance of Edmonds' catch and being behind at that point.

ALBERT PUJOLS: I'll let Scott answer that.

SCOTT ROLEN: I mean, that's one of the things that's overshadowed, one of the biggest plays in the game without a doubt. That's two runs for them. That puts us down - what did that put us down? - would have put us down 3-0 maybe at that time. We would be down 3-0 that early with Clemens on the mound; that was one of the biggest plays of the game without a doubt.

Q. Scott, Albert said when he first came in this, winning Game 7, going to the World Series, he's been dreaming about it since he was a little kid. Are you feeling that way as well?

SCOTT ROLEN: When you go back to when we were little kids, I mean, this is what we did in the backyard. We threw the ball up and you were your favorite team and playing your rival and you're in the World Series in Game 7. When you get an opportunity to go to the World Series, like we have right now, you don't take it for granted. You look at it and you realize how fortunate you are as a player and as a human being and as a team and a father and a husband and everything else. It's just a day that you're going to remember for the rest of your life. Our work is not done. We want to go to Boston and come back here and hopefully win a World Series. But right now, what you look at is an opportunity that you don't want to miss.

Q. Albert, you said the pitch you hit off Roger (Clemens) was a good pitch. What adjustment did you make? You had been struggling against him.

ALBERT PUJOLS: You talk about struggle, I only faced the guy -- I don't know how many at-bats I had against him, but not too many. In that moment you just want to get a good pitch to hit. You don't think about how many times you struggle. You know the guy is the best out there. You want to do your best; don't try to do too much. You see the ball and hit it, like I always say. That's what happened. I didn't think at all. Everybody's talking about me and Scotty here, but you need to give credit to Suppan. I mean, this guy made some pitches out there. He got in trouble and he made some pitches. Unbelievable to keep us in the game this day. I think in the fourth inning they got men on first and third. They could have rallied and pretty much the game's over with Clemens on the mound. He kept us going. He made some good pitches and we came out with the win.

Q. Albert, did you expect them to pitch to you in the sixth or pitch around you?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, you don't want to think like that. You have one of the best guys in the league this year when it comes to producing runs. He showed it right there in that inning.

SCOTT ROLEN: I thought they were going to pitch around him.

ALBERT PUJOLS: He's lying (laughter). No, you guys, like I said, one of the best players this year in the league with runners in scoring position. You don't want to walk me then, like I said, Rolen comes through; it would be three runs no matter what. I didn't think at all. I just want to make sure I didn't want to be overaggressive; make sure I get a good pitch to hit and put my best swing.

Q. What does it mean to you to be given the hardware for the MVP?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Like I say, it's great to be named the MVP, but I think everybody in that locker room deserves to be the MVP. That trophy is going to stay in the locker room for the rest of my career.

Q. For Scott, you had a great at-bat before the home run. How much did that fare in being able to hit the home run off Clemens?

SCOTT ROLEN: You want to carry at-bats over, but unfortunately that doesn't work that way. I was seeing the ball well. I was trying to be aggressive. I mean, that's one of the best competitors in the world right there. If you're not up for the challenge and you're not ready to compete, he's going to beat you. We had a decent battle the at-bat before, and I hit a ball that I thought had a chance and Beeltran caught it at the track. My next at-bat I just wanted to make sure that -- I just wanted to go to the plate and make sure that I was just as competitive as he was.

Q. Did you think "home run" because you almost hit one the at-bat before, and do you know you hit it almost in the same spot Mark McGwire hit it?

SCOTT ROLEN: I guess I do realize now I hit it almost in the same spot Mark McGwire hit it. I don't think our home run totals are on the same path, however (laughter). What I was thinking, I wasn't thinking "home run" when I went to the plate. If I think about a home run, I'm going to get myself in trouble. I was thinking about competition, you know, to tell you the truth. I was thinking about Roger Clemens on the mound, and he might beat me, but I was thinking that I'm going to go head-to-head here.

Q. Just some quick thoughts for either one of you about facing Boston.

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, they showed what they can do, coming back from 3-0. They never give up. They knew it wasn't over until they lose that fourth game. You're going to go over there, they're going to have their crowd, they're going to start to get something going and they're going to have one of the best guys - I don't know who is starting Game 1 - but you need to go out there with the momentum and just keep doing the same thing that you've been doing all year long and then carry it over. But you just need to be ready to play because they're going to be ready to play and they have just as good a team as we have. They know how to play the game. They got some guys that can run the bases; some guys that can bring guys in with Ortiz and Manny (Ramirez). We need to be ready to go because they're going to be ready.

SCOTT ROLEN: I see the Red Sox as a very deserving, very competitive ballclub. We're going to go to Boston and we're going to let everything go and, like he said, not take anything for granted, play pitch-by-pitch and at-bat-by-at-bat. It should be a nice challenge and a great contest.

Q. That at-bat in the fourth inning, Scott, which went I think nine pitches, it seemed like that took a little out of Roger. In the fifth inning he had two hits. In the sixth inning, the runs. Did it look like that took a little out of him?

SCOTT ROLEN: I don't think so. I really don't. I think he's one of the best competitors in the world. He's going to step up his game and do the best he can when he goes on the field. So we had a competition, we had a tough at-bat at that time, and he was going out to win a baseball game. With a guy like that, you just kind of put your head down and you go as hard as you can and, like I said, you just compete with every pitch.

Q. The home team won all seven games in this series. Can you talk about how important it was to feed off the energy of this crowd to help put you over the hump? And Albert, can you talk about the emotions you felt when you were circling the bases?

ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, to us, they showed that we have the best fans in baseball, St. Louis. Going to Houston, you want to get one win over there. We didn't come out with a win. But I think, I really believe that everything happens for a reason. I think the Lord wanted us to come home and do it with our home fans. That's what happened. But we knew coming home that -- yesterday we came into the park and we just wanted to give everything we had and make sure we pushed it to Game 7. Here we are. We won the pennant. That's what it's all about. It's amazing, and I'm glad we did it at home in front of our fans because they deserve it just as much as they do.

SCOTT ROLEN: I mean, it's hard to really put it into words about these fans and this city. I mean, this is as deserving a city as any in the United States without question. Baseball is a celebration here. It's a special event here. They came to the ballpark to win today, and it was our job to come to the ballpark to win today. They're going to be excited about us being in the World Series. They're a big part of our team and they're a big part of what we do.

End of FastScripts...

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