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October 17, 2001

Curt Schilling


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Curt Schilling.

Q. Your thorough ethic of preparation, what prompted you to adopt that?

CURT SCHILLING: Losing, getting beat and paying attention to guys that do it right and talking to guys that have done it right. My program, as far as preparation goes, probably is a combination of 20 or 30 different guys from Bob Gibson to Roger Clemens to Maddux, Tony Gwynn, Johnny Podres, I could go on and on. A lot of people have had input in helping me put together the program that I use to get ready to pitch.

Q. Can you talk about Damian Miller and his role in your success and Randy's?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, if there's any justice in the world, Damian Miller will win the Gold Glove this year. I don't think there's any question - no disrespect to anybody else - I don't think there's a catcher in this league who has played as much and as consistently behind the plate as he has. He's been a huge factor in my mind in the consistency that I've had this year. It's not easy doing what he's done with the staff that we've had and the changes that we've had in our staff and running out, irregularly running out different guys to start. He's been kind of the shepherd of the flock of guys that we've had on this pitching staff, and he's done a magnificent job. I don't think Randy is, and I really don't think Miguel is, we're not easy guys to catch and still be good, still throw runners out. He's been really good, and done a magnificent job all year long.

Q. When you talk about your preparation, does he have a role in that preparation? Will you talk to him before a game? Are there things that you would do regardless of who's catching?

CURT SCHILLING: Absolutely. For the four days I'm not pitching, he and I will comment and I'll say things to him about hitters and things, and the day that I pitch, usually the day before I pitch we'll talk a little bit. The day I pitch we'll have a meeting, a sit-down meeting, go over the line-up. I'll tell him exactly what I want to do, how I want to pitch guys. If it's the second, third, fourth game of the series, I'll ask him about what he's seen, comparatively speaking, to my scouting reports. If he sees anything that he thinks might be a little bit different.

Q. They talk about St. Louis being a great baseball town. How would you describe Phoenix? What kind of baseball market is there?

CURT SCHILLING: I don't know. I think it's in its adolescence as a baseball town. That would be the safest way to put it (laughter). And you don't want to slight the people that have shown up, because the last couple nights they've been loud. But it hit me the other day watching the Yankees-A's game, the one constant in St. Louis and New York is the buzz. There doesn't have to be something going on in the field for the crowd to be into what's going on. There's a buzz. I noticed that in Game 5 when I went to the dugout before I went to the bullpen, there was a buzz in the crowd. There was some electricity. Fans underestimate their ability to impact the ball game, home fans and how we approach things and how we do things. I'm someone that feeds on the crowd noise and adrenaline that that gives you at home and on the road. Still one of the things that I take with me out there when I pitch on the road is Terry Mulholland told me a long time ago we were playing in Atlanta in the post-season. We were laughing about the fact -- this is when the tomahawk chop was big. They were loud at the old stadium. He said, "The amazing thing is you have the ability to shut every one of those people up as a pitcher." You kind of use that to motivate yourself to make a stadium quiet when you're pitching on the road. Fans are huge. In this city, I guess with seeing what Mr. Colangelo has done is disappointing that the fans haven't turned out more. With everything that's been going on in the last four, five, six weeks, I guess there's some understanding from the players' standpoint. But it would be nice to have a packed and a loud house.

Q. The difference between 1-1 and 2-0, you're not going to be available tomorrow, can you tell us the motivation between killer instinct and being back in the series?

CURT SCHILLING: I'd much rather be pitching a game that if we won we'd be up 3-0 than a game where we need to win to be up 2-1. In a seven-game series, I think it's drastically different. I mean the games are obviously -- each game is the most important one you play. But I don't think after Game 1 yesterday either team was feeling too up or too down. I mean, it was one game for us. It was only one game for them. As opposed to the five-game series where one game is, in my mind, a lot bigger. These guys have been here ten years. So I don't expect them to be over there going, "Oh, geez, this is a must-win." I don't think it's a must-win in a seven-game series until somebody's at three wins. I mean, I'm not going to -- regardless of what the series is at when we go there and play Friday, I don't know that it will change my feeling one way or the other.

Q. Can you talk about the last time you pitched against the Braves in the playoffs, how you pitched and what that game in the LCS meant to your career.

CURT SCHILLING: I think before that I was a loud nobody. Then I became a loud somebody (laughter). I just remember being with a group of guys, the Dykstras and the Daultons, the Kruks, the Hollins. I knew they believed we were going to win when I took the ball. Until we got into that series and those games happened, I don't know that anybody knew if I could do it when it mattered most. I mean, I believed in myself, but I didn't know. I didn't know going in. We were definitely the underdog at that time, and we'd go out in Game 1 and there's 60-some-thousand people in the Vet. The game starts out. Five straight strikeouts, the place was going crazy. It was a steam-roll thing. We just steam-rolled off that game. When I got over, I think I really had the same reaction I've had after Game 1 and Game 5. I looked at my wife and I said, "What just happened?" You just don't -- I don't think you appreciate stuff like this until November, December, when you're looking back on it.

Q. It's late in the season. It's been a long season. Your two games against St. Louis were your classic playoff games. How are you feeling physically?

CURT SCHILLING: Great. I mean, I'm feeling good that we're here instead of home watching. I just believe that at some point in the season you get to a situation mentally where you don't sit around and dwell or think about physically how you feel obviously, unless you're hurt. If you don't make an issue out of the nicks and the bangs that you get through the course of the season, then they're never an issue when you're getting ready or you're preparing to pitch. The last time I was 100 percent, I was like 17 or 18 (laughter). You never want to go out and worry about being 100 percent. You just want to go out and use what you have that day to get a win as a pitcher.

Q. How satisfying has it been that in your first full year here to be playing in the playoffs?

CURT SCHILLING: Well, after the end of last year, it's very satisfying up to this point. I mean, we're still a full step away from where we believe we were going to be in spring training. Up to this point I feel like I've done as much as I can when I had the ball. But it's not over. The only thing that would change if we didn't get to the World Series, we would have played nine or ten more games than we might have played during the regular season. Winning the League Championship and going to the World Series is a huge step and a huge accomplishment. Not going there, that would be tough to swallow considering what we've gone through and what everybody said about us from the beginning of the year and where we've come. So I'm satisfied up to this point, but I think there's still a lot of ball for us left to be played.

Q. Randy Johnson mentioned the elements of you have rubbed off on him to make him a better pitcher --?

CURT SCHILLING: Not my golf game (laughter).

Q. -- Are there elements of him that rubbed off on you?

CURT SCHILLING: Absolutely. Absolutely. I don't question for a second that he's a been a huge factor in the consistency that I've had this year. There's an intensity and a focus that I believe I've always had. Until I met him, I believed that no one had more than I did. I was sorely mistaken after watching him pitch a few times, realizing that there's another level there and that -- our philosophies and our approaches are so drastically different yet exactly the same in a lot of different areas. We pitch tremendously different, as far as approach. Physically, stuff-wise, where we throw the ball, how we mix our pitches up and our actual stuff. The mentality that we go into the game with, I think, is very, very similar. I am an extrovert. He is an introvert. I think it's almost like when you meet the perfect woman, opposites attract. I think that's very much the case with us. I'm not afraid to tell him at times on the golf course how good I think I am (laughter). I do that a lot of times to get him out of his game. But I think he's tentative when it comes to talking about himself. I've always told him I didn't think, you know, believing in yourself and saying things about yourself was a bad thing if you could back it up. It's something I've always had to do to be who I am. Some of the stuff -- I would like to think he's made me more humble, but I think the guys in the clubhouse would laugh me out of the clubhouse for that one. But, yeah, he's definitely rubbed off on me.

Q. Would you talk about your relationship with Bob Welch?

CURT SCHILLING: Using Welch-ese or English language? He's just a fantastic man. Coming into this season and knowing who he was and what he had done, where he had pitched and how he had pitched, had a tremendous amount of respect for him before I even met him. And getting a chance to sit down and chat with him, you know, there were some bumps in the road early in the year because in the middle of the game, I'm very black and white as far as what my thought process is and how I go about things. Welch goes at about 175 miles an hour every time. He would walk by me during a game and say things to me. It might well have been Portuguese because I couldn't understand it. He walked by one time, I grabbed him by the shirt, I said, "You got to slow down. If you're telling me something, I want to hear it and understand it. By the time you're at the end of the dugout, I don't hear any of it." We have a fantastic relationship. I enjoy being around him. I've learned. He's a very calming force for me, which is, if you know him, I guess that would come as something as a surprise. But he's got the ability to say some things to me at the right times.

Q. Your experience with the Red Sox, did you take anything from that as far as your development? Did you ever get any helpful advice from Roger Clemens?

CURT SCHILLING: When I was actually a Red Sox, the one thing I learned is it's really important to have a pitching coach in the Minor Leagues, which I never had. I didn't have my first true pitching coach until I was traded out of that organization. They had a lot of roving instructors. A lot of the stuff you did in the Minor Leagues you taught yourself. I think it ended up being a good thing in some aspects for me. As far as Roger Clemens goes, he was a very huge part of my career as a young player in helping me turn a corner. And sitting down and preaching to me, the hows, whys and the dos and don'ts of being a Big League player; having pride in what you do, respecting your game, your opponents, your teammates. To this day I say I play the game -- the very core of my beliefs in baseball, I play it for two reasons, and that's the respect of my teammates and the respect of my opponents. That was something he taught me. You play the game with pride and with integrity, but the most important thing is your teammates and your opponents respect you and what you do. You get that through achievement. It's something you have to consistently earn, and it's something you can't get handed at first. You have to earn it and you have to maintain it. I never forgot that and a lot of other stuff he told me. I've had a chance over the years to talk to him. This year at the All-Star Game was a thrill for me. I wanted so desperately to pitch and start because of what it would mean to me to be going up against him. I look to the ALCS and I think, "I hope we can make it out of this and meet up with them in the World Series and possibly get a chance to pitch against him."

Q. Tom Glavine was already a somebody when you became a somebody back in '93. Clemens was, too. Do you admire how long they've gone and that they're still going? Does that make you reevaluate how long you may pitch?

CURT SCHILLING: Yes to both. I mean, obviously I would like to think I'm someone who's a student of the game. I appreciate and am in awe of some of the career numbers that these guys have. And Randy included. I mean, these guys have all done it for an extended period of time, and the great thing about it is they're all doing it in their late 30s. Last year watching Roger in the World Series, I looked at my wife and said, "That's what I want to do. I want to be at that level, still." Thanks to Dr. Morgan and Phil Donnelly, Jeff Cooper and now the trainers Paul and Dave over here, I believe that I have the ability and the intensity and the desire to be a power-pitcher at 38, 39. You got to stay healthy, obviously. But I got three years left on my contract here after this year and I fully intend to go out and try and top the season I've had this year. Randy and I talked about two weeks ago that if you come to us in spring training and told me that I was going to win 21, 22, and he was going to win 21 in February, I would have been ecstatic. I'm sitting on 21 in October and saying it could have been 26. I still haven't hit my ceiling. I can still get better. I'll go into the winter with that approach.

End of FastScripts....

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