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October 26, 2001

Curt Schilling


Q. What do you remember about the 16-strikeout game against the Yankees, and do you have to change anything from the times you've pitched against them before to this time tomorrow?

CURT SCHILLING: I remember a lot of it, I watched it quite a bit the last three or four days. There will be adjustments, obviously. They have actually quite a few of the players they had in the lineup back then still on the team, which is a testament to them in and of itself. But there are adjustments to be made. I'm a different pitcher than I was then. The only thing I can keep that will be somewhat similar is the adrenaline.

Q. Would you prefer to pitch with the roof open or closed?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, if I give up a lot of fly balls to the warning track, it does, you know -- it doesn't matter. But if I give up balls just over the fence, I want it closed. The ball travels differently here with the roof and panels, you know, depending on where they are at. So, I mean, you have to -- it's going to be warm so the ball is going to be traveling. So this is a hitter's park when the roof is open, so you have to try and keep the ball on the ground.

Q. You said you've watched the 16-strikeout game several times recently, is that for scouting purposes or motivational purposes?

CURT SCHILLING: Both. You know, there is some stuff I did that, fastball-wise, that I think I would like to duplicate tomorrow, and not having seen these guys or faced these guys a ton, I go with what I have as far as history goes. If I come out tomorrow with a -- like I feel I'm going to and I have that adrenaline and the fastball that I feel like I'm going to have, then there will be some things they'll have to -- I would like to happen.

Q. The Yankees tend to make strikeout pitchers build up high pitch counts, does that enter your thinking at all?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, one of the comments that I've heard about this club, not only this year but in past years, is that they tend to make guys throw a lot of pitches, by taking early in the count. If I'm on tomorrow, there will be a lot of 0-1, 0-2 counts quickly in the game. If I throw a lot of early strikes, I throw a lot of first-pitch strikes and if they are taking that will work to my advantage. I'm sure that they will adjust accordingly. I don't imagine they will want to go up and want to be 0-1 or 0-2 for the sake of taking a pitch, you don't want to adjust before you have to, but you don't want to wait too long.

Q. You might possibly start three games in the series, do you feel any more pressure going out on the mound that many times?

CURT SCHILLING: I haven't really thought about it beyond tomorrow. Tomorrow is pretty much -- has pretty much been a consuming thing, all-consuming, actually. If I go out three times, which means we go seven games which could be a good thing, or I might go out twice, which means five games, which could be a good thing. I haven't really thought about it much.

Q. The Yankees have been 16-1 in their last World Series games, have you been watching the games and is there anything that's stuck out to you, watching them?

CURT SCHILLING: Yeah, they win a lot. (Laughter.) I mean, you know, we're a veteran club ourselves. We can't even come close to laying claim to the post-season experience they have. When you use the words mystique and aura, those are dancers in a nightclub, those are not things we concern ourselves on the ball field. It comes down to 9-on-9 for nine innings. Whoever plays mistake-free baseball is going to win the World Series. I believe that. Our defense has been phenomenal during post-season, our bullpen has done what it's had to do and it's going to come down to defense and timely hitting, as it always does with two good teams.

Q. You wrote a very moving letter to the people of New York after the September 11 incidents how do you feel about this World Series and how will you feel going to Yankee Stadium next week?

CURT SCHILLING: First and foremost I almost took offense to the stance that it was New York and the city against -- Arizona against the world. To say that would be to be putting us against what's gone on, and that's -- I think that's unfair and it's untrue. The World Series in New York City, I think is going to be a fantastic thing, you know, for what it's worth. You're not going to erase memories, you're not going to erase the anguish and the pain that's gone on for the last five or six weeks. Getting a chance to go down to Ground Zero on Monday is one of the things I'm looking forward to most, meeting and saying hello and thanking the true heroes that work in this country on a daily basis.

Q. Are you glad the fans of New York have this diversion?

CURT SCHILLING: I'm not glad that we are the target of that diversion. The fans of New York are, without a doubt, the most passionate, obsessive, obnoxious, loyal, demeaning, vulgar, loving fans on the face of the earth. They are a hyped-up version of the Philadelphia fans. They make it fun to play there, they really do. They are on you from the minute everything starts, and it's an atmosphere that you have to cherish as a player, whether you're a Yankee or an opponent because they are going to make you remember this for the rest of your life, and there's something to be said for that.

Q. The statement that they have a guy, Mariano Rivera who is virtually automatic in the post-season, does that make your job harder than Mussina's?

CURT SCHILLING: No. It makes it harder on our offense. When you have a Mariano Rivera, Robb Nen, Trevor Hoffman in your bullpen you make the game seven or eight innings instead of nine. Shortening the length of the game, the amount of opportunities your offense has to score is always a bad thing. You have to get to their starter and with their starting rotation, there's no secret why they are where they are at. As a starting pitcher, like I said early in the post-season you understand from the first pitch in a post-season game that you don't concede anything, you don't concede that first run to get an out. You take every baserunner as the winning run and you pitch accordingly.

Q. You said earlier in the post-season that you kind of welcome being the big-game pitcher, being a guy that teammates look to, and yet, the conventional wisdom about this series that even Randy Johnson, you almost have to single-handedly beat the Yankees, the top two starters have to do it, how do you view that take on the series?

CURT SCHILLING: Let me guess, you're from New York, right?

Q. No.

CURT SCHILLING: No New York fan?

Q. No.

CURT SCHILLING: Well conventional wisdom is wrong. It's not going to be us winning the World Series, it has not been Randy and I winning this whole thing anyway, it's been 35 guys and it's going to take the entire roster to win four games from the New York Yankees. I recognize Game 1 as being the game that can set the tone. I recognize the first inning of Game 1 is the inning that can set the tone for the game and all of the things that comes with that. I'm sure Mussina recognizes the same thing. It's going to be -- I really believe you are going to see a World Series worthy of the world stage because you have two teams that play an excellent brand of baseball, and they have impeccable defenses, quality starting pitching, and they are, certainly, deeper than us, no question about that. But, you know, I don't look at that as -- I don't look at that as pressure. If they are counting on me to win three games to win the World Series, so be it. If that's the way it has to be, that's the way it has to be. I don't think it will be that way, but I'll take the ball to win.

Q. The conception around the country is that Bob Brenly doesn't do much managing, just sort of let's you play, how much credit should he be getting?

CURT SCHILLING: It depends. When we win, none, when we lose, all. (Laughter.) I don't know. You know what, it's -- he walked into a situation that could have been the best of times, worst of times with a veteran team. I think he took the perfect approach early in spring training by just saying play as hard as you can play and just get it done. That has a lot of meaning to veteran players, just get it done entails working when you have to work and doing the things you have to do in spring training to prepare yourself for a season. He's handled, what I believe is the best bench that I have been around or ever been a part of on a club, he's handled them perfectly. Our bullpen was lights out for an extended period of time and he handled them perfectly then and he kept his hands off when he knew he needed to keep his hands off and let us play. You know, our MO has been going out on Tuesday and playing the nine innings as hard as we can regardless of what happened on Monday. He has a lot of credit to take for that.

Q. Could you talk about the meeting with Roger Clemens at the Astrodome in 1991 and what that meant to you?

CURT SCHILLING: I would assume people are tired of hearing that story by now because I can't give you any of the expletives that were included in the conversation so it's the same boring re-hash. He felt at that time that I was someone who was not taking advantage of the gifts that God had given me, that I didn't respect the game the way I should; that I didn't respect my teammates the way I should. What I thought was going to be kind of a sit-down talk about pitching experience turned out to be an hour and a half butt chewing from the guy who was in the midst of winning five Cy Youngs and coming from Boston and the Red Sox organization and knowing the history of the game I had a lot of respect for Roger before the conversation and probably ten times more, after. Obviously he had a huge impact on me. It was something I walked away from and my first thought, a lot of players these days get offended personally when they are criticized because in the past they failed to look at the message, and having been criticized, rightfully so, and often but when someone of that caliber takes that kind of time and puts that kind of passion into a message, there's obviously something there. And I walked away saying to myself, "You know, No. 1, why would he care as much as he did, and number two, if he did care, there must be something there." I began to turn a corner at that point in my career, both on and off the field. It took time, but no question that it had a huge, huge impact on me.

End of FastScripts....

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