October 5, 1999
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Game One
Q. Any similarities between you and Valentine taking over the Mets?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I haven't really thought about it but probably so. Obviously, the job
that the Mets and Bobby have done to this point has been remarkable. I think there are
some similarities, but that's the first time I've thought about it.
Q. Any similarities between and you and Bobby as managers?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't know. Bobby is outstanding. He's certainly -- until you've been
in the other dugout against him, a lot of people wouldn't -- he's always on top of things
and he knows how to use his players, and I think he does a great job. Obviously, a lot of
passion to win and compete. Wants to do what's best.
Q. What are your weaknesses ?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't know. That would be something for someone else to answer. I
don't really evaluate what my -- I know I've got weaknesses, but I'm not really sure about
Q. What were the parallels in taking over the job?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think when I was fortunate enough to start managing the Yankees we
knew we were going to have to take some steps back to go forward whether it be from
contractual obligations or our farm teams. I think I was very lucky to have a background
ground in player development which really helped me a lot here, and in New York, and I
realized the patience you have to have. But I look back at some of the things that were
thought about guys like Bernie and Jeter and Pettitte and Gerald Williams; could go on and
on. To have that patience and faith repaid by them being -- they were then and are now.
Trusting players' track record and what skills they have, to trust what they have been
Q. Have you ever thought about what it would be like -- we know you have seven wins
before you can get there, but have you thought about managing against the Yankees?
BUCK SHOWALTER: It would be less than frank or honest to say that hasn't crossed my
mind, but that is way down the road. I'm sure New York -- the Yankees are going to have a
lot of challenges ahead of them. I know we certainly do. I think everyone would probably
feel pretty confident the Yankees have a very good chance to be there again, but I don't
think we've accomplished enough in our short life to feel comfortable with assuming. But
two trips to New York in one postseason might be a little tough on everybody.
Q. How different do you feel about Todd Stottlemyre when he goes to the mound in light
of his injury compared to the other pitchers?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think we're to the point now where he's answered enough questions in
terms of pitch count. We're going to let the opposition dictate how long he's going to
stay in the game and Todd, physically has had no setbacks. It's not something we take for
granted or assume but we're certainly aware of what he's overcome so far. But he's worked
very hard to get to the point where we don't have to think about it every time he goes out
there. He's a guy, like I said before, we just let the opposition dictate when he comes
Q. When you were in New York, did you pay much attention to the Mets understanding that
you did not have to play them compared to any other clubs?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Oh, yeah, you pay attention to the Mets. You'd better. I think they
used to call it almost like a doubleheader win. If you won and the Mets lost, that's like
a doubleheader. But certainly, there are some games -- the bottom line, the games are more
important -- I know playing -- I know those games were very important to our fans and that
was something you had to keep in mind. Playing the Red Sox in spring training, you knew
there were certain games that meant a lot more. But they play and work in the same
hometown. You're vying for the same trophy, but you're also vying for the city, so to
speak. But I don't think anybody that's completely frank about it, yeah, you do watch the
Mets and you realize the challenge they are under. I think there's a lot of identification
with them because you know they are going through a lot of the same things you are. It's
not something like one club is completely oblivious to some of the challenges of playing
only in - not only in the big leagues, but in New York City.
Q. Along those lines, there's a lot of pressure in managing in New York. Do you
empathize with what Bobby Valentine has gone through?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't think anybody that has not walked the walk or worn the shoes,
it's tough for them to comprehend the challenges those guys face and the pressure that
Bobby and all managers in baseball feature. I think when someone first told me that Jimmy
was thinking about retiring in Colorado, I think a lot of managers were not shocked,
whether it be Terry Collins or whatever. This is a very challenging job. I think a lot of
guys -- its, you know, Bobby certainly -- they are still standing, and I think they are
still going to be -- I think they have already, I don't know if you can call it surprised
people. Some people, some players and teams feed off of what they have been through and we
expect that here. We expect a heck of a challenge. I think it's got a chance to be a great
series for the fans.
Q. From your own standpoint in terms of excitement, can you compare these playoffs from
your first experience in the playoffs?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I used to think that experience might be a little overrated, but after
being through the playoffs in New York, there are a lot of things that catch you off
guard. You think the way the fans support you in New York and the passion and everything,
a lot like they do here in Phoenix, that there weren't another level that they could take
it to, but they did. To be exposed to that type of, call it pressure or what have you, to
be able to come through that and function and work underneath those pressures is something
that you can't feed off of. I'll never forget, I think that everybody that works in the
organization hopes to be announced by Bob Shepherd, whether it be opening day or playoffs.
I remember Brian Butterfield getting all teary-eyed when Bob Shepherd said his name out on
the field. I'm not going to imitate it, but things like that. You realize how lucky you
are to do this for a living. It's very easy to say, "Okay, guys have fun and
relax," but it's something that's very important to your fans and a lot of things.
It's quite a microscope to place players and everybody under, but that's why we -- Bill
Parcels had a great line: He had a Mike going on when he was running up and down the
sideline after a big drive, and he's saying to the big linemen: "That's why we list
all the way the and do all those things." That's why we start back in spring training
and they have to listen to all our rhetoric. We trust you, and go get them and you don't
have to listen to any of my junk anymore.
Q. Have you ever talked to Randy Johnson about the '95 playoffs with Seattle?
BUCK SHOWALTER: We've touched on it a few times. Obviously, not on the days that Randy
pitches. We've talked about it a little bit. It's kind of like talking to somebody that's
got the upper hand. He was a big reason they beat us. We talked about it a little bit
yesterday. We had a little ten-minute meeting where some of our guys after workout
yesterday at the end of the playoffs spoke about it. And one point I made to them was to
kind of put it in perspective: No one remembers who got the base hit and who the runner
was that put the Yankees ahead in that inning before the Mariners scored in the bottom of
that inning. And that's kind of the world and the society we live in. We get through with
a game. If we win, they want to know who the hero is. And when we lose, they want to know
who the goat is. If you win, there are some things that haven't gone well and if you lose
there are some things that went very well. But my point was, just give it the best you've
got and you can live with that. Guys at this level, professionally, have done a lot of
things to get here, and we're proud of them. I think that a guy that pitches the 7th and
8th inning very well and a closer might blow, nobody remembers that. But that's part of
the challenge they take on every day when they suit up.
Q. Is he the same pitcher now as he was then?
BUCK SHOWALTER: He was pretty good then. I think a lot of people miss about Randy is
his stamina and his command of the strike zone. Everyone obviously, has been blessed with
a great left arm, but the stamina that he has. And a lot of people use the term "No.
1 starter" very loosely. A lot I of guys don't take on that responsibility of being
the guy. And Randy relishes that and takes on that pressure. A lot of people run away
from. It but he's been special. What he's done for our bullpen because the day before he
pitches, you can approach games differently and use it the day after and your bullpen is
pretty good shape. As much as Matt has meant to our bullpen, I think Randy has meant just
Q. Will you talk about the four one hundred RBI guys?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think that was the highlight of the year: Seeing Steve when he scored
his hundredth run coming back to the dugout with about as big a smile as I've even from
him. There are so many things that have happened this year, that I don't think we're
really going to comprehend and get a feel for until the year is over. But to have four
guys, I think they have kind of fed off each other. I think Jay has done a great job of
giving Tony credit for his success and Tony has done a good job of giving Jay credit
because it's right. But they have been so consistent for us and been a rock all year. It
seems like they have always picked each other up and they have all been out there on the
base to be runs that were driven in and they have also been the guys doing the driving in.
They have kind of complemented each other.
End of FastScripts