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October 19, 1997

Mike Jackson


Q. Mike, can you talk a little bit about how excited you guys are to get the Series back to Cleveland, even though the weather is going to be cold?

MIKE JACKSON: Well, I think anytime you get a chance to play at home it's exciting. Our intentions coming here was a split -- to at least get one game and go back home with taking our chances in playing in front of the fans at Jacob's Field. It's been a great place to play all year, and we're pretty excited, they're excited about us coming home. It feels good to play in front of your hometown crowd.

Q. Do you think the weather will play in your guys hands since you're used to playing in cold weather?

MIKE JACKSON: Well, I hope so. The weather has been pretty cold for us all year until June it started to warm up. But I think we have a little advantage. We know what we need to do to adjust to the cold temperatures they're going to have in Cleveland. I don't know if a fish can swim in snow, but I think we'll have a little edge going in there, because we know exactly what we need to do and how to prepare for the cold weather.

Q. How do you prepare?

MIKE JACKSON: Well, you just stay warm, go out and stretch and stay loose. It's kind of hard to explain what to do until you actually play in it. You just have to go out there and put on some warm clothing and just try to adjust. If you've never been in cold temperatures, it's going to take a while for you to get adjusted to it. I think playing in that type of temperature all season long, we have the edge of playing in the cold temperatures.

Q. Did you see the gun reading on Robb Nen last night? What did you think about it when it hit 102?

MIKE JACKSON: Well, I don't have any comments on that. I'll just say -- I know he throws hard. I know he throws in the high 90's, but to actually see somebody throw 102 miles an hour, and a guy like Dave Justice turn on it like that. But I give him credit. He does throw hard. It seems like every ballpark we play in there now, they have those guns up there and all their pitches throw hard, and when we pitch in there they're a little bit lower, so I don't know if that's a psychological thing they use, but seeing like they get a couple more miles an hour on their velocity and ours is kind of low.

Q. Mike, you were the closer for a little while early in the year when Jose had troubles, when he came back and got going, you went back to the set-up role. Can you talk a little bit about the difference in preparation between closing it out and setting it up?

MIKE JACKSON: First of all when I got to Cleveland I didn't know exactly where I was going to pitch. And every time I go to tell them -- I let my performance dictate how to use me. And beginning the year I was a closer and I told everybody that I'm just filling in until Mesa got on track. And once he got on track, I had no problems moving back into the set-up role. As far as my preparation, I take the same approach every time I go in the ballgame. I go out there aggressive, because I feel like I take the same approach as far as when I go in the ballgame the 7th, 8th inning, I take the same approach a closer does. If I don't go out and get aggressive and get the job done you'd never get the chance to use a closer. I consider myself a closer in the 7th or 8th inning. That's the way I approach it. As far as being a closer it's the same mentality. If you don't go out there and get the job done you lose the ballgame. That's the same a way I feel as a set-up man, if I don't get my job done we won't get a chance to use the closer.

Q. What's the playoff atmosphere like in Jacob's Field. Did the crowd noise compare with the noise level there?

MIKE JACKSON: Well, yeah, I think so. Of course they have more fans here. But this is the loudest I've ever been in in this stadium. But Jacob's Field is loud. Those fans they have there, they're really into the game and are really excited about the Indians. But last night I was impressed about the loudness that they had here. I thought the crowd was really into the game and they were really into supporting their team.

Q. Mike, you guys have been down one nothing in both the series you've been in, and it didn't seem to rattle you either time. Can you explain why you guys don't get too excited about anything in these Playoff Series no matter what it is?

MIKE JACKSON: Well, we believe in ourselves and a lot of -- I don't know if you guys or some of the people didn't really give us a chance against neither of the teams we played before we got here. We just believe in ourselves, no matter if we're down one game or two games, we believe that we have a chance to win. And every night that we go out there we feel like we have a chance to win. And we knew coming in here that it was going to be tough winning two games. We just wanted to win one. And it seemed that way every game that we went, every series we went out we were down, we lost the first game. We've been battling back all season long. We haven't played well certain times, but we battled back all season long. And I think in this series it's just seemed to happen that way. We lose the first game and come back and win the second game. This team has a lot of fight and character, and we have a lot of professional guys that are not going to lay down and take it easy.

Q. Mike, are you a little amazed at some of the big hits that Sandy Alomar has come up with to keep you guys alive in the postseason?

MIKE JACKSON: Yeah, I'm surprised. They've been coming off some of the best relievers in the game the guy Rivera is the guy to hit. Whenever we need the clutch hit it's always been Sandy. Even in the All-Star Game he got the clutch hit. After the first couple of times you're pretty excited, and then after that you kind of expect him to do it. So he's been the guy that we kind of -- if he can get up there when it's a clutch situation, we feel confident because he's done it all year long for us.

Q. Mike, what do you think was the main thing that pulled the team together in September and finally got you going in the right direction?

MIKE JACKSON: Well, all season long I think we weren't playing as a team, as team baseball, we had the ability there, but I think we went to Anaheim -- I think it was Jim Thome's birthday and all the guys decided to honor Jim Thome by raising up your socks. And I think just doing that we all got together and did it as a team, and I think that's what brought us together as a team. We start playing team ball ever since that point. And just something small like that to get a team going on one goal, I think before we had too many different self goals instead of the main one. And I think from that point on I think that's when we stepped up as a ball club, we started playing team baseball, instead of going out there and trying to accomplish individual things.

Q. Was there any one or two players that didn't want to do that sock pulling up?

MIKE JACKSON: We had some guys in there to make sure that everybody was a part of it (laughter.) I was one of the guys that didn't want to raise my socks up. But you have to do everything as a team. Those are the teams that win, everybody is on the same page that has the same goal. Those are the teams that win, and I think that's what brought us to the point where we are right now.

End of FastScripts….

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