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October 8, 2001

Charlie Manuel


Q. How are you feeling?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I feel fine. I feel good. I feel much better than I did. I was sick, and I finally found out what was wrong with me, and I'm okay now.

Q. How does the air strikes and that business intrude on what the thinking is around the team and in your head?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Actually I don't really know exactly how it affects each one of them. I think that yesterday I noticed they were watching -- they spent a lot of time watching television, so therefore they were definitely interested in what was going on. As far as myself, I look at it and I think -- I think almost everybody keeps up with that because of what's happened in the past, and the tragedies that we've had. And I think it's definitely something that they think about, and it's on their mind. But also I think when it comes to playing baseball, I think for about 3, 4, 5 hours a day, I think it's out of their mind. And hopefully that's how I look at it.

Q. Any one key to beating Seattle in this series?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't like to sit here and tell people what kind of season Seattle has had. It's been remarkable. They've got a tremendous team. The one thing we've got to do from our standpoint, we cannot afford to get behind really early in the games. And during the course of a season we had that problem a lot. And it's very important that we stay with them for like 5 or 6 innings, and the game has to be close, and we have a good chance of winning if that happens.

Q. Because of the Mariners great season, do you think that there's more pressure on them than your Indians team?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I look at their ballclub, and I look at Ichiro like he's a good player, he's a great player, and Boone has had such a great year. But at the same time I look at the players they've got, and they've got veteran players, like McLemore and Cameron, and David Bell, they're veteran players now, and they've been around quite a while. And this year, when we played them, it seemed like they got the kind of ballclub, and the kind of unit, and they're together. And basically when they come out and play, like when the game starts, they play the whole nine innings, and you better bring your best game to play them. As far as pressure, I think that they're going to come out and play just like they always do.

Q. Can you talk about how important it is for your guys to pick it up and pick it up instantly, Juan has been down, and Kenny has been struggling, and even Omar a little bit?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think the fact that we clinched our division a week ahead of time, our players were playing every day, and we sort of gave them some breaks. When you come to the ballpark, you want a team that basically every day you go out there and play 162 games and you play them as hard as you can possibly play. Once you clinch, and you start giving guys rest, I don't know if -- it's not like they slack off, but at the same time I don't think that they are playing at the top of their game. And I think that we've got veteran players like Kenny Lofton, and Vizquel, and Gonzalez, he's kind of slacked off on his hitting the last few games, but when it comes time to pick it up, these playoffs are going to be special. Playing Kansas City or Toronto at the end of the year, that's no excuse. But at the same time I look forward to them to really pick it up. They know what we're playing for, so therefore it shouldn't be any problem.

Q. You had two good come from behind wins against the Mariners this year, psychologically does that play into it and help your club?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think it does. I think the one we came back from 12 runs, I think it was 14-2, that played a part in it. I think that played into the attitude in our ballclub, it kind of changed us around, it seemed like we took off from there. We played some good games against them. But they beat us five out of seven, at the same time. And they've got a tremendous pitching staff, it's very consistent, they've got great starters and a good bullpen. And for us to beat them, like I said before, we've got to stay close to them. And I also look at it at the same time we've got veteran players, if you go over our line-up, from right field, right field, centerfield, leftfield, and we've got All-Star players, and we have guys that know how to play. And in a given day or a given series, I think we can play with anybody.

Q. Did Bartolo's last start concern you at all?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I think anytime someone goes two innings, that concerns me. I'm concerned about every game we play. But at the same time Bartolo, I know he's also one of these guys that in his mind, like when more is at stake, he'll step up. I've seen him do that before, and I think he'll do that tomorrow.

Q. Charlie, do you know how you're going to use Rocker?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Depends on how the game is going. Like I can use Rocker for a situation in the game, like depends on, like the hitters, Olerud or something like that. Or I can use him in say the back end part of the game, it just kind of depends on how the game is going. And the way I want to match up.

Q. All the attention has been on Ichiro and what he's done in the leadoff spot this year, but how confident are you in your guy, Lofton?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Lofton is the kind of guy that can get off to a slow start, and he struggled in the middle part of the year, but the back end part of the season, since the All-Star break, he's really stepped it up. And he doesn't run like -- as far as stealing bases like he used to, but at the same time he can still steal a big base for you. And he's got power, he uses his strength more than he used to. He is the key to our game as far as setting the table for us. He always has been. If he has a big series, we have a chance to score a lot of runs.

Q. Would you talk about the importance of winning the first game in any series, but especially a short series?

CHARLIE MANUEL: Short series, the first game, to me like that really can -- that puts a team out in front, because seems like the momentum definitely shifts to that team. And I think going in tomorrow, like I know Seattle won 116 games, but actually it's 0-0. So it's a second chance for us. But I think that anytime that if you jump out, and like we're on the road here, like I think it's very important to have a split here. Although the first game is important, don't get me wrong, but at the same time I look at if we split here, that's a big plus for us, too.

Q. You were in a pennant race until October and the Mariners really haven't been in a pennant race since April, does that play into any of this?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't think so. Because although we've really had to play hard, like really good, kind of go over board to win our division, because we were chasing Minnesota there for a while. But I look at the Mariners, and I was watching some of the game two days ago, and they were trying like heck to win 116 games. And I probably felt like yesterday that 117th game they were trying to win as hard as the first game they won in April. That's how I look at their ballclub.

Q. Will you ask Arthur Rhodes, one of the umpires, to ask Arthur Rhodes to remove his earring, if the players complain about it?

CHARLIE MANUEL: I don't think it will be a big deal. Because I think two times they've already impressed on him, remove them, and that was no problem. I don't see no problem with that.

End of FastScripts....

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