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October 9, 1999

Buck Showalter


Q. I guess the first question is can you give us your lineup?

BUCK SHOWALTER: No. We -- let's see. Womack at shortstop, Bell at second base, Gonzalez in left field, Williams at third, Colbrunn an first. Finley in center, Gilkey in right. Stinnett catcher, and B.A. is pitching of course.

Q. Does that mean you are concerned about Damian?

BUCK SHOWALTER: Yeah. Not concerned. It is a break from the norm, what we have done during the season, certainly different. Kelly is playing well and he is a known, so to speak, I think at this point where we have to make sure we know what we are getting. I think with Damian's inactivity more than his health is something that we are a little concerned about. But Damian is still an available player for us today.

Q. Is Tony just pressing a little bit at the plate?

BUCK SHOWALTER: I hope so. We are all pressing this time of year. We have been all year. That is part of this. He has had some good at-bats and they have pitched him real well. I thought Kenny pitched him real well the other night and of course Rick pitched well last night. I think he has had some good at-bats. He has hit the ball hard. His last at-bat he hit three or four balls hard, but certainly him being on base is something we need to happen just like you can see what it means to the Mets when Ricky is on base.

Q. Did Randy lobby you at all about today?

BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't know -- depends how you define lobby. I think we talked about it a little bit and he understands and I am not looking for him to necessarily agree with it or go along -- Randy is very competitive. He knows what he can potentially mean to this club tomorrow or today. I have already had Todd in today lobbying to go to the bullpen which is no surprise, but I told him we maybe need him to pinch run or pinch hit which made his day. Just as long as he is allowed to put spikes on. Back to Randy, he understands what we are trying to do here. Let's be very frank about it. It is not like we are running some guy out there that hasn't been pitching real, real well for us this year. You can make a case for B.A. Maybe pitching as well as anybody that we have going into today's game.

Q. The way the Mets got into the Playoffs where it looked like they weren't going to get in, then they got in in the last second, is a team like that maybe more dangerous than one who knew they were going to get in for several weeks?

BUCK SHOWALTER: Well, I think they were dangerous enough as it is. If they feel like they are playing with house money, you'd have to ask them. But regards to how they got in, I think everybody considers them a dangerous club because they are a good club. There is no two-way mirrors or anything working this time of year. You are here because you are a good team and you have done it over a long, long season. It is not like they backed into something with a .500 season. These guys won 96, 97, 98 games, I am not sure how many, but they have done it over the test of time and they should be the type of team that should be in the Playoffs and the type of team that should be doing what they are doing now and they are. I know it is good feeling for Bobby and the organization for these guys to have reached their potential.

Q. What would you say Hederson's impact on this series would be?

BUCK SHOWALTER: Would be or has been?

Q. Has been.

BUCK SHOWALTER: I hope there is not much more. He has done about everything you could ask a guy to do. But shouldn't catch you by surprise, he has been doing it for years and years and years. Any time you can advance 90 feet without a batted ball or bunted ball or what have you, it certainly is an advantage. That just goes without saying. We all know what Tony has meant for us this year. Ricky, I mean, it is not like you come one night and all of a sudden you are surprised by something he is doing. He has been doing it for years and years. He hasn't been able to get on the field quite as much as he normally has been able to but you certainly like the product when he is out there. I don't know what -- he ended up with less than 500 at-bats, but I am sure they all knew that he was going to there be for them, not only the last month of the season, but in the postseason if they can get there.

Q. Are you sending Randy back early or is he going back with the team today?

BUCK SHOWALTER: I think with our arrival time he should be okay. He is going to stay and go back with us. If all things go well today - which we obviously aren't taking anything for granted - but we should be back home by 9 o'clock. I think it is a 4:50 start tomorrow; if we are fortunate enough to continue the series today, he will be fine.

Q. Where did you manage Leiter and what was that like? I know you said that he used to tell you he was a Yankee fan; now he tells everybody he is a Met fan?

BUCK SHOWALTER: Al was -- I actually managed him in the New York-Penn league in Oneonta. He had got sent down from Florida State League, I believe. Al was a high pick and he was having some trouble with his command at that point. Russ, the pitching coach there was real close worker with Al. I am sure Al would talk pretty glowingly about Monk (phonetic), but Al was -- you know Al is the same guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that is one of the attractive things about him . Regardless of whta happens today you know he is going to be, you know, all out and is going to let it fly and he is never going to worry -- have to think about what ifs, about effort, or caring, or -- he is the type of guy that people like to run out in situations like this. Al is -- he is a fan of the game and you can tell that he loves being in this environment and he is a tough challenge for us today because he is a guy that has certainly shown his ability to respond to situations like the last game he pitched and today. But Al is a pleasant guy to manage - intelligent; loves to compete; comes from a baseball family, baseball background, Al is type of guy you pull for but not today.

Q. Do you think Brian's demeanor helps him in a game like this?

BUCK SHOWALTER: I hope so. It is not a game like there. As you guys know, he all of a sudden becomes this guy. B.A. is a guy, he's certainly been good for me to be exposed to. Very obvious that his mom and dad have done a great job with his upbringing. He is very outgoing and respectful but competitive and stands his ground and he is a lot like Al. He is a fan of the game and there is a lot of similarities. They both are looking forward to today instead of some dread. They are looking forward to the opportunity to shine in this type of spotlight. A lot of guys don't. B.A. is somebody you are proud to call one of your own. I know -- I remember Cleveland working, working, working, trying to figure out a way to trade for him back because they had to expose him. I have said many times how lucky we are to have been able to acquire Omar and Brian through the Expansion Draft because not very often are you able to acquire not only two pitchers like that but two people like that to represent your club and kind of set a great example. The thing about it, they are both 27 years old and left-handed and breathing. So they are a lot alike, but they are very much not alike. B.A. is a lot of fun - on the bench, off the bench. Like I said yesterday, there is never a time where B.A. is going to say: Hey, I think I am done; might be best to come out of the game. Don't ever ask him: How you are doing. Well, how do you think I am doing? How does it look? I feel real good. Let's go. That is why I run all that conditioning. He is probably one of our best conditioned players on the club. When he first got to us, he was like 195 pounds, 205. He was really heavy. He lost about 15 pounds last spring; just got into this health kick and it was great. He watches what he eats, except this morning he was pounding it pretty good back there.

Q. If you absolutely needed it to stay alive today, is there any situation where would you pitch Randy Johnson out of the bullpen then see what you got tomorrow?

BUCK SHOWALTER: Oh, I would never say never. Who knows what is going to happen during the course of the game today. We are certainly going to exhaust all possibilities to make this series continue. If Randy, we feel like is the best opportunity to do that we would do that and consider it. It is a whole different set of circumstances. I know everyone is kind of reaching back for 1995. Obviously Randy is older and background of what he has been asked to do for us this year and where we are in the series and who we have pitching today compared to who they had at that point back then, there is a lot of differences, but the sense of urgency is the same as it was with Seattle when we were up 2-0 on them. I know a lot of people keep comparing that situation, but we have got Andy Benes down there too and Randy, not comfortable pitching Todd on three days, and it would make for some adjustments tomorrow but none that -- all of them we are willing to make if it means getting through this game today.

Q. Following up, have you told him be ready in case he is needed?

BUCK SHOWALTER: Not yet but it is something that I will tell him today as all pitchers will know that today with exception of probably Omar.

Q. And Stottlemyre?

BUCK SHOWALTER: I'd probably like to not do that. I know Todd is going to try to campaign there, but I just don't think that is a good idea with his history. That is like robbing from Peter to pay Paul. I think you are going to regret that down the road. We don't want to take the severity of what he has been through with his arm too lightly; then all of a sudden you know, certainly -- the priorities to get to somehow win this game today and extend it, then somehow win tomorrow and continue on. But if you are not in the position to continue on after that either, there is a lot of things to think about. The whole idea here is not just to get through one round, but be able to get through all of them. But it is a real juggling act because you want to try to stay as strong as possible because what does it mean to win this series if you can't win the next one too?

End of FastScripts….

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