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September 29, 2003

Josh Beckett


KATY FEENEY: Questions for Josh Beckett.

Q. Are you going to pitch to Barry Bonds?

JOSH BECKETT: Yeah. I have to, don't I? I'm sure he'll be in the lineup. I think before I take questions, I'd like to say something back to the fans in Miami who have really gotten behind us, they're really excited about, you know, everything that's going on for us. Just say hi to all them and thanks for getting back behind us.

Q. What did you think when Jack McKeon was named manager; what were the expectations at that point?

JOSH BECKETT: I mean, they obviously expected a lot. That's why they went out and hired somebody new. You know, we actually had a meeting the next day after Jack was hired. Our GM Larry Beinfest told us that he expected more out of us. You know, our president of the club actually got it right on the nose, predicting how many wins we were going to have in spring training.

Q. Earlier this week, Jason Schmidt was comparing you to Curt Schilling? Do you think that's an accurate comparison?

JOSH BECKETT: No, I don't think so. I think Curt Schilling's a little further along than I am. I'm honored by that comparison, but I think I still have a little ways to go. Curt Schilling has won a few more games. Like I said, I'm honored to be mentioned in the same sentence with Curt Schilling.

Q. How much have you young guys fed off each other, seeing the progress of Dontrelle Willis and Brad Penny?

JOSH BECKETT: I think we definitely feed off each other. I think anytime you're in a competitive atmosphere, we all kind of compete against each other. When you see everybody doing well, you're like, "wow, I want to go out my next start." You see the guy the day before you pitch well, you want to go out there and top their outing. Like I said, we're all competitors. I think it's friendly competition.

Q. Managers take the decision to pitch to Barry Bonds out of the hands of the pitcher. How much of your ego wants you to go after him?

JOSH BECKETT: I mean, I guess everybody has a little bit of that. But, you know, there's been so many guys that have tried and not succeeded, so why be another victim? Like I said, I mean, you'd like to go out there and blow him away. But there's been so many guys that have tried and haven't been very successful. Just play for the tie, do what you need to do, listen to your manager.

Q. This park is one of the toughest places for opponents to win in the regular season. Is there something different in this park that opponents have to do to win?

JOSH BECKETT: We played three games here each year. I don't know. I mean, I've been here twice now. This is my third time. So I don't know. I can't really pinpoint anything right now

Q. Was there a particular moment when you believed you could reach the post-season?

JOSH BECKETT: I mean, I can't remember the exact date. But, yeah, like I said, I think we all expected it - not expected it, but we all knew we were capable of it during spring training. We thought we had a great team in spring training. We didn't start off too good. Like I said, we turned it around. That's amazing what this team really did, what we went through this year. To be sitting where I'm sitting right now, it's a pretty cool deal.

Q. What is it like playing for an older manager? Must be quite an influence to you and your teammates.

JOSH BECKETT: I'm pretty young, so I've always played for older managers. But, no, you know, he's like one of us, though. He likes to kid around. He has a good time. He has a great sense of humor. I don't look at him as that. He obviously has some wisdom and stuff, and he's passed that down to us. So I think in that aspect, he's really helped us. But like I said, I don't think any of us look at him as the old Jack McKeon. We don't look at him as a 72-year-old. He'll come and have a conversation with me about a movie he saw yesterday or something. You know, he's like one of us.

Q. Jason Schmidt has been complimentary about you. What do you see about him as an opponent pitcher? Not many power pitchers anymore. He stands out.

JOSH BECKETT: Yeah, he's one of the best, you know, one of the best around right now. You can just watch him pitch, he's got a great change-up. I don't know that anybody gives him that much credit for that. I haven't heard anybody say that. But he has a great change-up. He pitches fastball, change-up mainly, I think, the games I've seen him pitch. He's gutsy. I know, after that stuff happened with his mom, he came out his next game and threw a complete game shutout. I think a lot of guys were pulling for him to do that. I think he stepped up. It was a big deal, you know.

Q. How do you handle the responsibility of being a Game 1 starter in your first playoff series?

JOSH BECKETT: You got to go out and set the tone, you know, you got to set the tone for the series. You know, I mean, I've been a Game 1 starter in a series before - never one of this magnitude. But I'm looking forward to it. It's a great honor. Some people go their whole career and never get this chance. I'm getting it my second full year.

Q. You were 10 games back in May. Obviously made an emotional charge to get through to the final weekend. Any chance there could be a letdown, the adrenaline may no longer be running?

JOSH BECKETT: No, not at all. Most of these guys, we never even set foot in a playoff atmosphere until three weeks ago. I definitely don't think we're out of adrenaline. Plus, we're young. Like I said, I think this is going to be a great series. Hopefully everything works out.

Q. Are you expecting Mike Lowell to play in this series?

JOSH BECKETT: I have no control over that. I'm not expecting one way or the other.

Q. When the playoffs start, there's always talk about experience being the benefit in the series. Is there any truth to that? Or is youth maybe a benefit?

JOSH BECKETT: I think with youth, there's a little bit of stupidity. Sometimes maybe the youth might be just stupid enough to pull something like this out. I think both things can be a good deal.

End of FastScripts...

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