October 8, 2003
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Game One
Q.. I'm sure nobody is happier for this team than Johnny Damon, but you didn't lose much in the outfield with Kapler out there, that seventh inning could have been a lot different. He didn't do much at the plate but diving for Posada's ball, the inning could have been different. Can you talk about how he filled in?
GRADY LITTLE: Well, Gabe Kapler did a heck of a job. I'm not going to sit here and tell you we don't miss Johnny Damon when he's not in the lineup. Kapler has done a great job for us. He filled in two or three weeks for Trot Nixon in right field towards the end of the season. Tonight he's filling in for Damon. He gives you a respectable output every night, he plays the game hard and gets great results.
Q.. Can you talk about the bullpen?
GRADY LITTLE: The bullpen has been great. Tonight was no different. The job that Williamson did in the ninth inning was outstanding.
Q.. Do you think the long at-bat in the seventh, did that hurt Wakefield?
GRADY LITTLE: We were up to hit for a long time, and at that point in the game, that's a good opportunity for a pitcher to kind of stiffen up a little bit. We foresaw that and we were ready for it and that's exactly what happened.
Q.. Can you tell with the knuckleball early on if it's moving the right way and what did you see with Tim tonight?
GRADY LITTLE: We saw the same thing with Tim tonight that we've seen most of the season. What we go by mostly is the way Mirabelli is catching the ball, that's pretty much the way we look at it, and the way the hitters react to his pitches. You can tell right away, and Wakefield has been good the majority of the time this year.
Q.. You didn't have a good hitting series against Oakland, but the bats came alive in the last game; is this a carryover, like Manny's home run and the bats start to go come alive?
GRADY LITTLE: It certainly was a good indication tonight. And after that series in Oakland, we were certainly due and tonight we were able to get some big hits. A couple of balls went out of the park and the big hit Millar got. We were due for them to come alive.
Q.. I just wanted to ask your reaction on the controversial Walker home run.
GRADY LITTLE: I didn't see exactly how it could be controversial at all. We felt it was fair all the way, and on my way out there, Tim McClellan saw it the same way. So I didn't really understand the initial call. But that's not the first time I've not understood a call.
Q.. As you look forward now, is it just one win, is it a tone-setter for the series, how do you view this?
GRADY LITTLE: I view this as a series that we are up 1-0 and I view it as a series that is a long way from being over. There's a lot of good baseball left between two good ballclubs, and there's a long way to go.
End of FastScripts...