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October 22, 2002

Kirk Rueter


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Everybody talks about National League teams and the World Series when you don't use the DH. Their pitcher is a guy who has quite a bit of experience as a hitter. Are you aware of that?

KIRK RUETER: I don't know how much of an advantage, if you hit like Livan and Russ have for us, it's a huge advantage. I think, as a pitcher, you just want to go out, if a guy's on third with less than two outs, you want to try and get him in. Just get your bunts down and play the game the way it's supposed to be played as far as when a pitcher's in there hitting. I don't think they expect us to hit home runs or drive in four runs a game, but just do the things that are expected of you, and I think that's what we try and do as a staff.

Q. Given the way the ball was flying out in Anaheim, how glad are you to pitch your game at home?

KIRK RUETER: Yeah, the last game, it was crazy. Balls were definitely going out of there pretty quick. But this is a little better place. The weather will be a little different than it was down in Anaheim. So I think you just have to try and go out and make your quality pitches and go from there. They have a great line-up, Anaheim, definitely. I think you have to worry up and down the line-up, there's not an easy out. So you have to concentrate out there and make your pitches to everybody. I'm going to try and do that and let my defense play behind me.

Q. Kirk, along those lines, does this park give you a greater margin of error, or allow you to do more things maybe you can't do on the road or you couldn't get away with on the road?

KIRK RUETER: I think right-center, it probably definitely does. That's kind of the triangle out there that you can give up -- if you make a mistake, you can give up a ball the other way that's hit, probably close to 400 feet. It can be an out. Where, in other parts, it's going to be a home run, or usually a home run in other parks. So I think it does. You can make probably a few more mistakes here, especially to that part of the park. On the other hand, the ball does jump here from kind of left-center down the line more than it might in other parks. So it kind of works both ways.

Q. I grew up in Kentucky and saw you pitch a few times in Murray State. What did you learn there when you got out of a smaller program that prepared you for this week?

KIRK RUETER: Coach Reagan was my coach. He's retired now but I still talk to him a lot. I think it just brought that family atmosphere, you got to develop in your own time. I was a small kid coming out of high school. Murray State let me kind of get my bearings under me and learn the game a little bit better and learn how to pitch to get better hitters out. I've kind of carried that over through the Minor Leagues and into the Major Leagues. I think that's probably the main thing that helped me, coming from Murray State.

Q. A little off topic, but while you guys are playing these games, these two fans are fighting over Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball in a courtroom trial. What is your opinion of that whole thing? Do you talk about it? Does it upset you fans are getting greedy?

KIRK RUETER: I haven't heard anybody talk about it really in the clubhouse. I mean, I think all we see is kind of what is on TV or in the newspapers. I would think that they would be able to do something to settle it before it actually goes to court. I would hope that they could just sit down and figure out something. But I'm not in it, so I can't tell you how those two guys are thinking right now.

Q. Maybe you won't have to tap dance around this one as much, but can you talk about the concerns or questions about the balls being used here? Are they different baseballs? Are they moving quicker off the bat? Are they easier to hit?

KIRK RUETER: I don't know. The only ones I've really felt were the ones we had to sign in there. That was a bunch of them. But I didn't really see how hard they were or anything, I don't even know if those are the same ones that are in a game. I haven't pitched yet, and I haven't felt the game balls that are being used. I know that some of the guys have said that, but personally, I can't tell you because I haven't been out there on the mound yet - until tomorrow.

Q. What have guys been saying about it that you've been talking to?

KIRK RUETER: Well, all I've seen is what is in the papers. They haven't really said anything to me. I've just seen where the guys in the papers are saying some of them thought the balls were changed.

Q. Jason Cristiansen has been told not to wear a hat dedicating his series to D.K. and the 57. I wonder, what is your thought, what are the other players' thoughts of him being told flat out he can't do that on the bench?

KIRK RUETER: I don't know. I would think that J.C. would be able to do it. He's done it the whole year, since D.K. passed away. But I don't know, Major League Baseball, I guess, has got their reasons and their sponsors or whatever, that they don't want anything on hats or on jerseys except what they say. I know J.C. was very close to him, as well as Shawon Dunston, playing with the Cardinals. So I know where J.C. is coming from, and that he wants to honor him. So, hopefully, they'll work something out. I don't know if J.C. will put the hat maybe in the dugout and let it sit there and not wear it, but just have it in the dugout or something with him, because I know it's a big part of him.

Q. As a pitcher, how would the conditions in a night like tonight affect you?

KIRK RUETER: I don't know. I think if you've played here and you've played at Candlestick when it was a baseball field over there, you've been through games where it's rained and there's been fog and wind. So I don't think -- I know if it's like this tomorrow, it won't be much different than some of the games I've pitched in the past. I don't think the weather will be a factor for me, even if it's rainy or cold or whatever, because you never know out here, especially night games. You never know what the weather's going to be. It could be 100 degrees during the day, come to the field for a seven o'clock game and it's cold. I don't think it will be much of a factor.

End of FastScripts...

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