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October 7, 2003

Tim Wakefield


Q. Can you just comment on the feeling of not being here in New York in '99 and being the Game 1 starter this time around?

TIM WAKEFIELD: It's exciting. 1999 I was taken off the playoff roster when we came here, and it was just a very disappointing feeling that I helped us get to this level back then. And now it's a totally different story. I started all year, and just fortunate enough to be in the situation to be a Game 1 starter. I'm just really blessed and honored to be able to do this.

Q. You guys are a little beat up and obviously tired. The energy that you get when you play the Yankees, will that make up for it by tomorrow night?

TIM WAKEFIELD: You know, it was a rough night last night, but it was an exciting night. I think everybody is still running on a lot of adrenaline right now. You know, coming in today, getting a light workout in today, we'll be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. Is there a key or something that helps a pitcher be successful against that Yankee lineup you're about to face tomorrow?

TIM WAKEFIELD: No. I'm going to prepare myself the way I've prepared against them all year. I think I made four starts against them. Three obviously against Roger but I'm not going to be facing him tomorrow. I'm just excited. I'm going to approach it the same way I approached it during the course of the year. Just try to be as consistent as I can in the strike zone and let my offense and defense do the rest.

Q. Does the weather have any effect on the ball, cold weather?

TIM WAKEFIELD: Not really. The only thing that would affect it is if it's too cold, it's kind of tough to hold on to. It feels like you're trying to hold on to a cue ball sometimes when it gets really, really cold. But I don't think it's going to be that cold and I'm not really worried about the weather conditions here.

Q. What difference of a pitcher are you from '99? You mentioned about being consistent; are you more consistent than in '99?

TIM WAKEFIELD: Well, in '99 I was in the bullpen all year. I was a closer. I think Derek and I split time being the closer, depending on who was available that night. I don't see any difference from then until now, just the fact that I started all year and this year and I didn't back in '99.

Q. What about your mechanics or pitching, has it changed at all?

TIM WAKEFIELD: My mechanics are the same. I haven't changed anything.

Q. 25 years ago when you look at the Yankees/Red Sox and this rivalry, there's a really intense dislike between the teams. Munson and Fisk, if a guy knocked the other over the plate, punches were being thrown. These days, how does the rivalry compare; is it still as intense or is it a little bit different now?

TIM WAKEFIELD: I think it's a little bit different now. There still is a rivalry and a lot of it has to do with you guys in the media, and a lot of it has to do with the closeness in the region of the United States. We are both up in the northeast. It's been rivalries for a long time between New York and Boston. I don't think it is as intense as it used to be 25 years ago. I think a lot of that has to do with the change of baseball now. Guys are switching clubs constantly and you don't have that constant hatred towards other players on other clubs. So it's a lot different today than it was 25 years ago.

Q. Mussina beforehand was saying that he doesn't focus on any one hitter in your lineup, do you feel the same way, is there anyone in particular in the Yankee lineup that you're worried about or when you knew you were going to start in Game 1 that you started thinking about immediately?

TIM WAKEFIELD: Not really. They have got a tough lineup and they are pretty deep, 1 through 9. I've got to approach every hitter and just try to get an out. That's been my approach all year, is to take each inning and try to get the first out. You just try to take it one out at a time, and if you concentrate your focus on that, instead of the whole scheme of things, I think you can be successful.

Q. Do you consider this your most gratifying year personally?

TIM WAKEFIELD: I don't like to talk about myself as far as my own personal goals. I think it's the most satisfying year I've had team-wise. It's been a lot of fun. We've had a great ballclub. We've got great chemistry. In the first round of the Division Series, four out of the five games we played came down to the last at-bat. It's pretty exciting times. I'm just very blessed to be able to sit up here in front of you guys today and answer these questions and to be able to be in the position that we're in going into the LCS against the Yankees. You can't ask for anything better than that.

Q. Did you guys talk at all about the Oakland players reaction after the game last night to Derek and to Manny and what they had to say?

TIM WAKEFIELD: No. I heard about it. It was not really discussed on the bus or on the plane. I heard that they were upset about some reactions. I didn't see it. I was too busy running in to give everybody some high-fives and some hugs. Sometimes when you've got four out of the five games that are that close, sometimes your emotions may get away from you sometimes. I didn't see what happened. I'm sure it was not intentional by Derek or Manny. It's just, we're playing a kids game, and sometimes your emotions get the better of you and you just react to each situation. If I had to say something to the Oakland As, I wouldn't take it personally, just some excitement and the emotions overflowed.

Q. What do you think of Grady; it seems like he uses a starter as a reliever -- you're a starter, reliever; really doesn't matter in the post-season. Is that a good thing to be a starting pitcher, but know that you could, two days later, be used in the bullpen, or is it almost a sign of being in the playoffs, almost a sign of desperation?

TIM WAKEFIELD: I don't think it's a sign of desperation by no means. I think it's a sign of added weaponry for our whole staff. Myself and Derek have had experience pitching out of the bullpen. I think it's an extra weapon for us. When you get to post-season play, whatever it takes to win ballgames. Especially the last series when we were down 2-0 and you're one game away from being eliminated and we just did whatever we had to do to try to win games, and Derek did an outstanding job coming in and closing that game out yesterday.

Q. Can you just elaborate on the last 48 hours for this club and what it's done for you guys, and what it might do for you in this series?

TIM WAKEFIELD: Words can't describe the last 48 hours for us. The two games in Boston, we went into the 11th, Trot hits a homer. Game 4 came down to the last at-bat again, David Ortiz is huge, his first hit of the series, it's perfect timing for that, scores two runs to put us ahead. And last night, going down, bases loaded with two outs and Derek gets a huge strikeout there. It's been a whirlwind, the last 48 hours, but it's been an exciting time for us and hopefully we can carry the momentum into tomorrow night.

End of FastScripts...

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