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October 8, 2001

Curt Schilling


Q. Last year at this time you finished up a one and five stretch and didn't get to the playoffs. This year you're five and one and this year you got there. What's the difference?

CURT SCHILLING: A sense of vindication right now, no. We haven't gotten anywhere yet, other than to where we wanted to start our real season. Staying healthy this year was obviously a major factor in having the year that I had. There is a long way to go and with two rounds of playoffs before you get to the World Series, I felt the first and only time I went to the post-season at the playoffs were as pressure-packed situations I ever played in. But if you didn't get to the World Series, you didn't do much. I think we all feel that way. We feel like getting to the World Series would vindicate a lot of us in a lot of ways.

Q. You remember that feeling eight years ago and what emotions are like for a guy who is an emotional pitcher and how do you feel taking the mound in this situation?

CURT SCHILLING: It's an all-cliche type answer. It's all the things you play for, the situation, you know, you aspire to -- it's almost surreal that it happened and the feelings with this happening, the last 30 days it didn't look like it was going to happen, and I just felt like there was a lot more time to get ready and to savor the season last time. This seems like we're just going into it this time, which I guess is a good thing.

Q. Along those same lines, what did you learn that you can take with you this time?

CURT SCHILLING: Not to take a towel into the dugout with me. (Laughing.) I don't know. I think the thing I thought about over the last couple of days since we clinched it was I'm very comfortable in the task I've been given. I feel like I'm going to be prepared. The first time I had no idea what to expect. I knew I would be running on a lot of adrenaline. I don't think it's going to be different this time. I just think I'll be a little more aware of what's going to happen when I wake up tomorrow morning and how the day is going to go before I get the ball and go to the bullpen.

Q. (Inaudible.)

CURT SCHILLING: There's no comparison. I'm sitting in a roomful of people who said we're too old to do it, and if we had one bad injury we would fall off the table. There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction being here right now amongst all of you, and I think^ the "do it now or never do it" is just as laughable as "you're too old to do it." You guys continue to write things and focus on things that really are insignificant to us. There is no sense of urgency of getting it done now or we'll get another chance, because I don't think that's remotely true. You realize being here -- eight years ago I didn't think it would take eight years to get back. There is a sense of urgency from that standpoint. You may never get a chance again. Some guys are doing it for the first time, but I don't think that factors into how you feel about the games and how you go about preparing to play these games.

Q. What sort of challenges do the St. Louis Cardinals provide and how are those challenges augmented by the fact you haven't seen them since April?

CURT SCHILLING: I haven't faced them at all this year, I take that as -- I don't feel that's a disadvantage at my end. Obviously, I would like to play it to an advantage in my mind and will try to do that, but I think one of the good things is that I don't know if they can be as hot as they were when we saw them in April. They thumped us pretty good here and they were all swinging the bats real well. I really felt watching this game yesterday that they played -- I didn't have a preference who we faced because I thought -- I feel they are both playing well enough, if we're going to the World Series we have to go through both of them anyway. It's a well-balanced team, a well-managed team. Obviously Matt being healthy this year and at the top of the rotation gives them a lethal top of the rotation. And Woody what he's done at the end of the year, has given them a spark and a lift. They are a good club. Their offense -- they can poke the ball a little bit. The top of that lineup looks like an American league club rather than a National League club when they're swinging the bats well. One guy I haven't faced is Pujols. That's the one guy I'm trying to make sure I'm well aware how and when I want to do what I want to do tomorrow.

Q. Can you reflect on the satisfaction of the kind of season you had and then adding to that the significance of you and Randy having the same season in a lot of ways on the same team?

CURT SCHILLING: No. We've been asked that quite a bit in the last couple of weeks and well, it's tiring in a good way that people are asking us about the seasons we've had, I would much rather talk about that than being four and 14. I have the ability mentally to sit back and reflect on the season right now. There's too much for me to do mentally to get ready to pitch tomorrow to think about any point of this past six months.

Q. Does it mean anything now, though, what you've done for six months, does that mean anything?

CURT SCHILLING: To me, yeah, what I can take into tomorrow's game, the foundation I've laid this last six months for me personally, sure. Confidence and the ability, like I said, to put together a game plan and go out there and have the confidence and the ability to execute that plan is something I feel very strongly about. In that sense, yeah, but as far as reflection goes, no, there's no time.

Q. I have a follow-up to a question over here about not facing the Cardinals in a while. Who is favored?

CURT SCHILLING: Whoever wins tomorrow. That's bait in a sense. For me to even, you know, to think that I have an advantage because I haven't seen them, or for them to do vice versa would be disrespectful. I haven't seen them, they haven't seen me, and tomorrow whoever plays better will have made the most of that advantage, so to speak, but this time of the year, it's the time of the year when you make a name for yourself in sports and red line players, I've played with the greatest I've ever seen. As a pitcher, I try to feed on that and this is crunch time. This is when all that money that they pay us, this is when they're looking for it to pay dividends on, this time of year, coming up big. This is it. This is the times you play for.

Q. How has playing with Randy a whole year helped you and what have you learned from him?

CURT SCHILLING: My golf shirt collection has gotten much larger. I don't know. He's just someone -- he's unique in that I think in his case more so than anybody else I've ever been around, there is nobody like him nor has there ever been anybody like him in this game. What he's done, what he's going to do, where he's going to end up, those are all things that I try and consume, either mentally or physically in ways that can help me, whether it be watching him, what he does on the side, how his mentality, late game mentality, mentality between starts, whatever. We're very opposite and very -- our styles contrast immensely on the mound, but, mentally, I think we're very, very similar people. You can never stop trying to get to that top of the ladder. We were talking the other day, talking with some young players and I was talking to Randy about it, I said if you had come to us in spring training and said we're going to win 43 games, we would both be ecstatic, I was sitting here the other day, I won 22 games, I could have won 25 games -- 26 games if I had pitched better. That's the kind of mentality we have with each other two, being on the golf course a lot this year has helped that mentality mature a little bit.

Q. Is there any sense of surprise on your part that Brenly went with you rather than Randy?

CURT SCHILLING: No, I don't think one way or the other, whoever had started, I wouldn't have. I'm honored that I'm getting in the game. I don't know. I'm not surprised. I wouldn't have been surprised if Randy got the start. I'm glad I'm getting the start. There is only one game one. Just like there is only one opening day, the one thing that I take out of 1993 more so than anything was game one can be a tone setter and as a starting pitcher, you have the ability to set the tone and I think we did that in '93 against the Braves and once again I think we have that ability being home to go out there and set the tone.

Q. Can you tell us about how Bob told you and how much more it means to be to be number one on the staff that has Randy Johnson?

CURT SCHILLING: Bob told me in the way he tells everybody anything. I think it's going to happen this way and if it does, this is going to be your way. I don't know that it means being on the staff with Randy, I don't know how to convey what it means. I mean, it's an honor, obviously. There is only one game one, and if things go well, we'll be set up to come back early if we need to come back early or if we do our job and come back early, we'll be set to come back on a good schedule. At this point it tends to be more how you clinch, who you clinch, where you're playing that sets the number one guy up more so than any overriding factor.

End of FastScripts....

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