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October 11, 2002

Chuck Finley


Q. With all of the focus on Barry and Jeff in the Giants lineup, how important is it to get the people in front and behind them out?

CHUCK FINLEY: Well, I think it's very important. You concentrate on all of them. You put your mind on Barry Bonds or Jeff Kent, pitching around them or whatever, then there comes a time and situation where you have to pitch to them. If your mindset is already the fact that you are pitching around these guys, then you are working backwards. Their lineup is very balanced. You take your mind off Kent, Aurilia gets you. You take your mind off Bonds, J.T. will get you, Santiago. So they are much like our club. They are very balanced,1-9.

Q. As many big games as you've pitched in and succeeded in, how important is it to get a playoff win?

CHUCK FINLEY: Well, the ultimate objective is for our team to win and move on to the next stage. Personally, if that's something that happens, fine. But as long as I pitch well enough to give our team a chance to win and we do win, then I'm satisfied with that.

Q. Tomorrow is a very big game for the Cardinals. If you win it's 2-1 and if you lose it's 3-0. How much does that weigh on you?

CHUCK FINLEY: I recognize, it is what it is. Obviously, we would like to have come out here with a split with where we are. Tomorrow is a big day, as well as Sunday. But we can't get to Sunday until we get through tomorrow. Tomorrow is a very big day, myself personally, and I plan on going out there pitching well and giving us a chance to win. Tomorrow is a big day with a three-game stand. It's important to get off on a good note and let them know that we came to play and that we are not away. Tomorrow is a very big game for us.

Q. You were a teammate of Snow with the Angels; what do you think of his resurgence here in the playoffs?

CHUCK FINLEY: Well, that doesn't surprise me. I've always -- every time I've played with J.T. in Anaheim, I found him to be a gamer. He has a lot of resilience. I was surprised, frankly, when he was not playing during the year because of his defensive skills and what he brings to a team. I think it's great. I think that he is doing exactly what people expect him to do and what he knows he can do. So I'm not surprised at all.

Q. Going back to July and those last few days before you were traded and you were going here and there, how much did that weigh on you and distract you?

CHUCK FINLEY: Well, it really didn't distract me. I knew I was going somewhere. Mark Shapiro had told me that he was going to get me on the team and he thought I was going to end up going to the post-season. First call he gave to me was the fact that he told me I was going to the Giants. I said fine. He called me back a couple of hours later and he said, no, you're going to the Reds and called me back a few minutes later, told me I was going to the Cardinals and called me back a few minutes later and said "I don't know where the hell you're going." Ended up being the Cardinals. But the first initial call I got from him was the fact that I was coming to the Giants. I knew I was going somewhere, to answer your question. Cleveland was going in a different direction and I felt like I had a lot to offer a team that was going to be a playoff contender and I'm thankful that I got hooked up with the Cardinals. It's been very good for me.

Q. Has your mind wandered about what it would have been if you had been traded to the Giants?

CHUCK FINLEY: Not really. I've been very happy with where I'm at. Obviously, the Giants are two games better than we are right now, but we are both in the same spot. I've had a wonderful time with the Cardinals. I always wonder what it would be like to play for Dusty Baker. I respect him as a manager and I would love to play for him. But I've had a great time in St. Louis with Tony La Russa and Walt Jocketty. I've had no second-guesses whatsoever. I'm very happy with where I'm at.

Q. Can you talk about the resiliency you see in the Cardinals clubhouse right now?

CHUCK FINLEY: Well, this is nothing new for us. Obviously we are in a situation we didn't think we would be in, but we are, and we've been here ever since I've been here. Since July, we've been pushed against the wall and backed up in certain areas of the game where it felt like we might stumble. I think this is the time where we have played our best ball and gotten pushed in a corner. Obviously we are in a position now where we've got to win a few games and win them quick. This team has -- every challenge that's been put before it, it has been answered and kept right on ticking. We are going to come out tomorrow and fight the same way that we did when we were playing the Diamondbacks. We were no different from the team we were when we were playing the Diamondbacks or when this series started, and that's just the way it's been for us all year. No matter what happened yesterday, we have always stressed and strived that tomorrow will be a new day and we'll come out and play hard tomorrow and see what happens. The resiliency of this team is incredible. The determination, the respect guys have for one another in the clubhouse, it's tremendous. That's why we are where we are.

Q. The Giants have been doing some bunting, squeeze play last night; does that give you something extra to think about? It looks like they still do the slugging game but they have done a few other things.

CHUCK FINLEY: Well, I'm not going to try to get too deep into detail as far as what they are trying to do. I know that Dusty and Tony both like to push it out there and throw different things out there to try to make the opposition think. The first night we played them, they outhit us and last night they outpitched us a little bit. Who knows. I don't know what type of game it's going to be tomorrow. Everything might go tomorrow. But I'm not ruling out anything but I'm not going into a game thinking that there's one particular area that I must concentrate on the most in order to try to help us beat the Giants.

Q. To what extent is it tough not to think down the road when you are this close to the end of the season? Have you thought of your future after the season?

CHUCK FINLEY: Not really. I haven't let my mind go any further than 1:20 tomorrow, and whatever happens after 1:21 and 1:22 and 1:23 is still up in the air. I am taking tomorrow like it's my last start, like I do most every start. Tomorrow might be last time I grab the ball for this year or whenever. So I'm treating this that way and I'm going out there with the focus and the intensity to try to take this thing down the road a little further. I have not thought about the future at all, about where I'm headed.

End of FastScripts�.

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