September 30, 2003
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Game One
Q. Obviously you pitched a lot of big games in the Metrodome, there's a lot of buzz in the Metrodome; how are you anticipating any difference between the Metrodome buzz and the buzz at Yankee Stadium?
BRAD RADKE: I think the Metrodome will be much louder, just because it has a roof on it. But I know Yankee Stadium can get pretty loud, too. It's a little different atmosphere out here. You've got the history and you've got some crazy fans out here, too.
Q. What's the craziest thing you've ever seen from them?
BRAD RADKE: I haven't seen much. I've just heard about the outfielders getting tormented out there sometimes. I really haven't seen much out there; I just hear a bunch of stuff.
Q. For those of us who were not with you guys throughout the season, very strong September, very good August. What turned things around and got you on this roll?
BRAD RADKE: I wish I knew. It might have been those three off-days during the break. I think a lot of guys just relaxed and thought about what we did wrong in the first half. A lot of things didn't go our way the first half. You have to have some luck in this game. We didn't have much. I know we didn't play well. The second half, we just came out strong. Myself, I just wanted to put the first half behind me and just, you know, go into the second half like it's the start of a new season.
Q. So it wasn't something physical; it was just a mindset?
BRAD RADKE: It's a lot of mental approach and mental preparation. I felt like I made better pitches when I had to with guys in scoring position. I felt like I had better offspeed pitches, too, the second half.
Q. When you indicated you were going to resign with Minnesota, it was the middle of the season a couple of years ago, it was viewed as a huge, shocking thing, that you had decided to re-up with this team. Can you just take us through your mindset at that time and why you decided to stay with Minnesota at the time when everybody figured you would go?
BRAD RADKE: Well, there was a few reasons for that. I liked it in Minnesota. I had been there for a while. The team was looking up. We had a lot of young talent, that I thought that was really going to make this club better. Over the last couple of years, you can see why. They always say the grass is greener on the other side, but it didn't happen this time.
Q. Johan was a surprise assignment for Game 1; is there any difference for you starting Game 2, as opposed to starting Game 1, any different preparation?
BRAD RADKE: I don't think it was a surprise for Johan to pitch the first game, first of all. Pitching the second game, it will be just like pitching any other game in the playoffs. For me, I'll go out there and pretend it's like Game 1. I've just got to go out there, pitch my game and hopefully we'll play a pretty good ballgame.
Q. Two of the established hitters in the Yankee lineup, Giambi and Williams, they have not finished real good and they have not had great years, does that change the way you go at them or is their reputation enough for you to know how you go after them?
BRAD RADKE: I basically have to go with my strengths. Hopefully just try not to throw the ball down the middle of the plate. They have a pretty good approach to the plate. They can reach for balls in the outer part, the outer half of the plate, and the inner half, too. I just have to keep the ball down and mix my pitches up.
Q. You haven't pitched much against the Yankees in the last couple of years; does that give you an advantage in talking about the pitcher/hitter familiarity stuff.
BRAD RADKE: Sometimes it's good; sometimes it's bad. I know some people say, what does it feel like when you face a team twice, two times in a row, back-to-back games. Well, if a pitcher has his game going and he has his pitches going and everything is going his way, that's pretty much going to go -- the advantage is going to go to the pitcher. I haven't faced the Yankees that much over the last couple of years, like you said. I mean, they have tapes. They are watching tapes. I'm sure they have all kinds of scouting reports like we do. It can go either way, really.
Q. Can you just talk about your love of this situation, the big game, the pressure-packed, clutch performance?
BRAD RADKE: Just another game. Just like big games that I pitched the second half of the season, every game I went out there, it was a big game. Especially with the other starters, too. I'm just going to take it like another regular-season game, try not to get caught up in the atmosphere. I just have to go out there and stay relaxed.
Q. Do you recall the first time you pitched in this place and how it worked out?
BRAD RADKE: No. (Laughter.) Not really. I know I haven't pitched here that much in my career, I don't think, but I really don't remember. That's in the past. I just have to look toward the future and that's Thursday.
Q. How did you find out you were going to pitch the second game and not the first? Did you assume it was to be Johan and then you?
BRAD RADKE: Just assumed, pretty much the way the rotation fell towards the end of the year. Then when Johan came back a day earlier and pitched Eric Milton's game and then Eric was pushed back a day. He deserves it. He was our go-to guy this year. He pitched well out of the pen. He pitched well when he started. He's going to have a good game today and hopefully we'll get a win out of him.
Q. What's your impression of Andy Pettitte as a pitcher; what do you see when you're watching him occasionally?
BRAD RADKE: He's one of the best lefties in the game. He's got all his pitches. He's really poised out there. He doesn't get rattled. If he gets hit around a little bit, he doesn't get rattled. He stays within himself, and that's what a big league pitcher is all about and that's what a big-game pitcher is all about.
Q. Can you talk about the challenges of pitching a long season and being strong in October, last year your rotation had three or four of you were off for five or six weeks with injuries and that seemed to make you stronger in October; is that a valid point or is that not an issue one way or the other?
BRAD RADKE: I pretty much felt a lot stronger last year towards the end of the year because I missed a couple months during the season. I only threw about 120 innings last year. I'm up over 200 this year. Yeah, you can feel it a little more but this is the playoffs. You have to go out there and be a bulldog, don't let anything bother you. It's just win or lose.
Q. As a follow-up to what you were talking about before, when you had the opportunity to leave Minnesota for greener pastures so to speak and you chose not to, how have you guys been able to kind of deal with the whole situation in Minnesota where it's common knowledge that, first of all, they were talking about contracting this ballclub and they operate in a small market where the payroll is always going to be limited and there's always going to be the shadow or threat of guys, they are not going to be able to keep these players. I'm just wondering how you guys have dealt with this entire situation.
BRAD RADKE: Well, it's not easy, of course. It's out of our hands. We just go out there and play baseball. We're not part of the brass. We don't know what's going on. We don't really -- we care, but our job is to go on the field and give 110 percent and try and win for this organization.
Q. When you were thinking about your options of where you might be able to play, you ultimately chose Minnesota. Have you thought about playing for the Yankees? So many top pitchers are talked about pitching here, they have enough money to pay whatever they want; did you think about wearing pinstripes and did you want to?
BRAD RADKE: When all of that was going on, I really didn't think about much, maybe just going to go home to play, which is in the Tampa area. I pretty much wanted to stay in Minnesota so I really didn't think about going to any other teams. I just took it day by day to see what happened.
End of FastScripts...