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October 8, 2002

Ron Gardenhire


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ron Gardenhire?

Q. Talk about Rick Reed, what he's meant to this team up to this point, and a little bit about what you expect out of him tomorrow.

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, Reeder, we got him over here last year. The expectations were really high, this and that. I thought he was fine. In spring training, he had the trade demand and all the things that came out, he's went through a lot. Through it all, he wanted to stay here. Those are contractual things that go down during the course of a year and the off season. We're really glad to have this guy. He's been fantastic for us. He's pitched very well since the mid season, just outstanding. He wants the ball. He's a big-game type guy. He means a lot in the clubhouse. He's kind of taken a few of those younger pitchers under his wing. In a different sort of way, he's able to calm them down.

Q. What is it about Denny Hocking that the Twins like and he's been able to stay in the organization for so long?

RON GARDENHIRE: He's been our utility guy. This is a guy that can honestly do just about anything you want. There was a time in this organization where no matter where you put Denny Hocking, he was the best defensive player on the field - no matter what position. Put him in center, he was the best out there. He's been an asset because he's been able to do all those things. Right now, he actually takes the load of interviews off everybody else. I think that's helping us a lot right now. The finger might be a blessing, I don't know, we'll see. But honestly, Den's been very good for this organization. He's been a great player, our player rep. That takes a lot of pressure off the other players. Plus, when you need a guy to go do something out on the field, Denny's been able to do it. Honestly, we make a lot of jokes and have a good time with him, but he's a pretty good player.

Q. There's talk -- I'd much rather ask you a baseball question, but there's talk that Bud Selig might be at one of these games at the Metrodome. What kind of reception do you envision him receiving?

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, you know what, I honestly, in my opinion, my heart tells me, you know, Bud was just doing what baseball thought was the right thing to do. I don't -- a lot of things that were said during the winter came out and hurt a lot of people here. Whether he put them the right way or put them the wrong way, that's to each person, his opinion. I would hope he would want to come here and watch a baseball game. I know Bud knows this is a great baseball city, area, we have a lot of fans here. He knows all those things. You don't have to tell him those things. He just wants baseball to be successful. There were things said this winter that really hurt a lot of people around here this year. It's going to be a tough atmosphere, but he's a pretty strong man. I think he should be here for a baseball game or so, and hopefully, our fans will treat him with respect.

Q. Knowing the way you guys interact in the clubhouse, what was said to Eddie the last couple days since he got that difficult save on Sunday?

RON GARDENHIRE: None of it's printable. This ballclub has believed in Eddie Guardado all year. He's taken the ball at the end, he's given up a few times, given up a few runs at sometimes, given up games at times. But all closers go through these things. This guy's meant everything to this organization. All the players look up to him. He went through a tough time in Oakland and scared everybody to death. He came to me on the field yesterday during the work out and said, "Don't lose faith." I said, "Eddie, I'd never do that. I've given you the ball. You're one of the big reasons we're here." I have all the faith in the world against in him. He scared us at the end, he sure did that. But that's okay, we won the ball game.

Q. Do you think we, in the media, make too much of the home dome advantages, or are they as real as we seem to think they are?

RON GARDENHIRE: We like to think that they are. We've always said, you know, this is a tough place to come and play. Our fans get into the baseball games here, it gets really loud. We've built a baseball team that plays very well here with speed. We beat the ball on the ground and run around and try to make contact and put it in play. So, we try to use this place to our advantage. We play a lot more games than other people here. The roof is tough. If you take your eyes off it, you will lose the ball. That's a guarantee. Our players lose the ball just like everybody else. But we hope it's a home field advantage. I think if you look at all the great teams in baseball and look at their home records, they all do pretty good at home. You better be able to win your home games or you're not going to be very successful in this league.

Q. Did you feel like Radke needed an extra day's rest? Would you be willing to bring him back in a Game 7 if it was necessary on three days'?

RON GARDENHIRE: We feel very comfort -- the one thing that we talked about with this rotation, is we had to win the first round, then our pitching was set up for the second round as is. We got Milton going in the third game. He's expected to go in the seventh game unless something drastic changes. We feel comfortable with our pitching staff as is. When you start screwing around with guys and the days in between starts, you start screwing around with their heads and get yourself into a lot of trouble. I have confidence in every one of these guys. We know Radke's been a good pitcher. Milton went out and threw a doggone good baseball game as well against Oakland. I have confidence in these guys. I talk with my pitching coach, with Milton, ask him thoughts about backing up and going on seven days'. He didn't think that was too cool either. My thinking is right, I believe. We'll see what happens. It will leave a wide door open for you, so you can have some fun with it later. But, hopefully, it's going to work out for us.

Q. Some people think that all four of the so-called favorites in the first round were knocked out. What is your view on what has happened so far after the Division Series?

RON GARDENHIRE: I think some very competitive baseball, some very good teams, maybe a little underrated teams ourselves. So, the one thing you take and you write it on paper and you look at all the, I guess, experience in the playoffs and you think, "This team has to do this, this team has to do this," one thing you don't take into account in baseball or you write about it a lot is the heart baseball teams have. Some of the things we went through this year, I know, as our baseball team, we've got a little extra incentive here. And I think that's come out to play throughout the whole course of the year, and now in the playoffs. We have a young bunch, not a lot of experience in the playoffs, but they have a big heart. We're fighting off a lot of bullets being thrown at us. That's okay. You take the Anaheim Angels, the same thing. That's a baseball team with a lot of heart, a very good bunch of baseball players, and they went to war this year and they deserve to be where they're at.

Q. Ron, the Angels run the bases a lot more aggressively than Oakland did. How much is their speed and aggressiveness a concern to you? Do you think A.J. is up to the challenge?

RON GARDENHIRE: The Angels do run the bases, bunt, run first and second, they steal. That's their game, just like our game. We like to run around too. A.J. can throw the baseball. It all goes down to the pitcher. If the pitcher gives our catcher a chance to throw people out, A.J. will have a good shot because he can throw the baseball. The pitcher has to hold runners, we did a good job of that. We feel confident with A.J. back there. It starts out by not letting them get on base. If we pitch and catch the ball, keep those guys off the base, the guys that are the runners I think will do a little bit better.

Q. What do you recall are your fondest memories from your days of playing at the University of Texas? Do you think there's correlation with them winning the national championship this year?

RON GARDENHIRE: My college days at the University of Texas, that was a pretty special time. Of course, I was an "Oakie" and I defected down to Texas, so that was a little tough for everybody to take back home in Oklahoma. We played the game pretty good down there. We talked about hustling, never letting anybody outhustle us. You carry things like that over with you. Myself, as a manager, we talk about -- I talk about the same thing here. Playing the game the right way, getting after it all the time, never letting -- there's one thing that takes no talent in the world, and that's hustle. That's what I've been brought up by, that's what we try to teach here. As far as Texas winning the national championship this year, that was pretty good for me. I had them in a pool, too, so I won some money. Beautiful thing (smiling).

End of FastScripts...

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