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October 8, 2004

Terry Francona


Q. Just a thought on, you've been in both situations, well now you're in this one, but being up 2-0 or down 0-2, when you maybe know what they are thinking across the way?

TERRY FRANCONA: You know, last year we were up 2-0 with Oakland. That's okay, I know what you meant. But we also were coming to Fenway as a visitor, which is a big difference in coming home to Fenway as the home team. You know what, after every game, there's different cliches, and I guess that's why they are cliches, because, well, they are true. But when you really simplify it, what we can control is today. So what we need to do is try to win today, and that's kind of the way we've approached it all year. And I think for good reason.

Q. How difficult if at all, is it for you to keep the distractions about the Yankees, all of us and everybody else seems to be talking about, in the distance? It seems every time the Yankees are ever on the horizon as any possibility, you guys are getting asked about it.

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, that's true. It's really not been that difficult. I mean, I understand you guys have a job to do, just like we do, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, but to be quite honest, when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is not run to the newspaper or to a radio station to see how I'm perceived. I watch the game, I do what I think is right; I go home and think about the game a lot. But what's written or what's said really just isn't that important to me. And I don't mean -- I'm not being disrespectful. I know that people need to Reed about the game and they enjoy it. I love reading about other teams. I just don't need to wake up and see myself.

Q. Could you just talk about Bronson Arroyo, the whole season where he's come from, fighting for that fifth starter job and being the Game 3 starter here?

TERRY FRANCONA: As we went into Spring Training, everyone in the Red Sox had briefed me how much I would like Bronson, because I had not seen him much. I saw him in Pittsburgh when he was kind of a struggling kid. They said if he got the innings, he would really improve, and they were correct. He's matured kind of right in front our eyes. There was a time this year where we took him out of the rotation to put BK in, but not because Bronson was struggling, but because we thought Bronson could excel in the bullpen and I still think he could. He can also excel as a starter. The good thing is he was not just content to be a starter in our rotation. He wants to be a good starter and he's taken the ball and run with it a little bit. Like I said, right before our eyes we are seeing him mature as the Major League start he is, and there's a reason why he's the No. 3 starter in the playoffs. That's quite an honor for him.

Q. Are you a speech guy? Have you given many speeches through the years, before the playoffs started, at any point, do you gather the team around?

TERRY FRANCONA: I believe, I might be wrong, but we might have had two meetings this year that probably accumulate to about a minute and a half. I guess I figure, you communicate enough in other ways, you don't have to have big speeches. During the three months when we were treading water, I got asked all the time, are you going to say something, are you going to yell; if I thought it would have helped I would have done it. I believe in what I believe, and I think communication is huge. I think if you have a lot of meetings guys go deaf on you or they don't listen, so we don't do it.

Q. We've talked about the special challenges and pressures of post-season, but for you, the first time through it, is there any element of it that is just sheer fun, sheer enjoyment?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, the games are great. The games are wonderful. But that's been that way all through your career. I think all managers say that. The three hours or whatever you play the game is by far the best time of day. You get late in the game and your stomach is in your throat, you know you're going to win, you're just not sure how, and that doesn't always come true, either. But it's a great feeling. When I got let go in Philadelphia, as tough as it was at the end there, the next summer when I wasn't on the field, that was really difficult to take; that feeling of sitting in the dugout, having your stomach in your throat. Even the nights when you lose killer games that just tear you up, I didn't have that feeling for one whole year and it was tough to take.

Q. You indicated in Anaheim that before this season you really didn't buy into that whole home-field advantage theory, but now here at Fenway you felt like your team probably did have a distinct advantage. Could you elaborate on that?

TERRY FRANCONA: I guess in baseball, you hear about the 10th man or the sixth man in basketball and the 12th man in football. I didn't buy into that in baseball. The one advantage was you hit last, which is huge. Once you get through that first inning, you have an extra inning to hit, and you can use your pitching differently. But coming here to Fenway, I have never seen anything like this. I mean, we get something going in the seventh inning -- and I mean by something going, Ball 1, and this place, these maniacs go crazy. They love their team. And they let you know when things aren't going well, but they are dying for it to go well. And I think they are a help. I think our guys, I know they love to play here. I think our record reflects it and I think it is a help to us.

Q. This has been a team that's used to coming out of the wild-card to do things, does it have any impact on the personality of the ballclub, of the way it views itself, scrappy, overachieving?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know that that has anything to do with the wild-card. That wasn't our goal was to win the wild-card. Just we didn't win the East and the Yankees won 101 games; so this was our way in the playoffs. I don't think that changes anything the way we approach the game or the personality of our club. If you try to force those things, like a personality on your ballclub, it's false. It's just like the way I act if I try to be somebody else, it's not true, doesn't work. Our personality is our personality, and that's why haven't really tried to change it. I kind of like it. These guys, there's been a bond that's kind of grown between them, and we're playing very well that way.

Q. Do you have any concern, update on Curt Schilling's ankle at all?

TERRY FRANCONA: Only that I think he's fine. He's been getting treatment, rest, treatment, whatever he needs to do and I don't see any roadblocks in the near future for him at all, nothing that our medical staff can't deal with.

End of FastScripts...

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