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October 27, 2001

Craig Counsell

Luis Gonzalez


Q. Craig, has it reached a point where you are amazing yourself with some of the things you've done this post-season?

CRAIG COUNSELL: Well, I'm not going to dwell on it now. There's still work ahead of us. Like I said before, I'm just trying to go out and contribute. Today just happened to be a home run. So, you know, I'm not surprised, but I just -- I'm surprised when I hit a home run, obviously because I don't hit many home runs. But I just wanted to continue to contribute.

Q. Do you think changing your name to Greg has made you a better player?

CRAIG COUNSELL: I don't know how to answer that one, to be honest with you. (Laughter.)

Q. Craig, Joe Torre said that you have a very good feel of how to handle situations hitting in front of Luis, can you describe what that's like?

CRAIG COUNSELL: Well, when you're hitting behind one of the best -- hitting in front of one of the best hitters in baseball, they are going to go after you. It's good baseball, you know. I think especially in the playoffs, I've realized that and I know that, you know, they are going to make me beat them, rather than have Gonzo beat them. I mean, that just makes sense. You know you try to take advantage of that.

Q. Luis, the team, the entire ballclub, when he hit that home run, Brenly said that was the turning point in the ballgame, what do you feel when you were on deck?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Definitely for our ballclub that was a big lift. These guys got a run early on us and I'm sure they thought, here we go, we're the Yankees and we we're going to score more runs. For us to come back and Counsell to hit that home run, it showed everybody that we are out here to play with these guys so that was a big lift for our team. It got us going. And third and fourth inning we were able to capitalize on some two-out hits, and the third inning, we just got a couple hits here and there. Everybody in our lineup tonight contributed big time for us.

Q. It seemed like Mussina was trying to get in on your hands and he just missed with where he wanted to throw it. Can you talk about this year and now, just not missing pitches that are available?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Well, actually, on that home run pitch, he was set up away, because I went back and looked at the tape because I was curious to see how they were going to pitch in this series and he just missed location. That ball just of ran back and down in and on me and I was able to drop the bat. These guys have been getting on me the whole post-season to just settle down you know and not swing hard. You want to go out there and do something, if it takes a little kick in the rear from in of your teammates like the guy hitting in front of me, to tell you. These guys are as important to me as going out and playing.

Q. Is that stance, that dramatic stance, intended to let you get to the inside pitch a lot quicker?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Well, I mean, it's worked for me the last two or three years. I don't recommend it for Little Leaguers right now because it is kind of odd. But in baseball, whatever works, if you can stand on your head, one foot, whatever and hit, you're going to stay with it. I experimented with it three years ago and I got off to a 30-game hitting streak, so I said, "this is the kind of thing that's going to work for me." My power numbers the last three years have gradually gone up, so I have stuck with that stance and just made minor adjustments here and there.

Q. During the St. Louis series, you said a lot of the writers asked you about that, how were you able to change?

CRAIG COUNSELL: I'm not going to show panic. I'm hitting third in a great lineup and these guys are counting on me. I'm leaning on Counsell as much as I can, this guy is coming up big for us in the playoffs. I'm not going to show frustration out there, sometimes it might eat you up inside, but if you show the other the team on the other side that you are beat, they have got you. So I just keep plucking away and looking at tapes and figure out what I'm doing wrong. Half the time, it's just mental. I started getting some better swings here and there and starting to get my confidence going.

Q. Would you describe what you were looking for on the home run, and also, going back to '97, you had an outstanding post-season, and this year, how do you channel the excitement to get to where you are?

CRAIG COUNSELL: Well, the pitch was -- I looked at the tape, also, and it was a -- I think he was trying to come in and he just left it over the middle of the plate. I think it was basically right down the middle, I think and I put a good swing on it. As far as the post-season, you know, obviously, it is an unbelievably exciting time. You know, I think you've just got to focus on what your job is, you know, and everybody just do their job. You feel like -- we've got a good team and if everybody just does their job, then that's going to be good enough. That theory has worked so far.

Q. Can you expound a little bit on the stance for those of us who don't know, was it your idea or a batting coach's and how it came about?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Basically, playing in Detroit with the short porch at old Tiger Stadium I've always been an old slap-the-ball-around type of guy, a lot of doubles to left-center and moving the ball around. Some of my teammates started getting on me to try to hook balls more, and I started experimenting a little bit towards the end of the season there. And I got traded over here and practiced with it in spring training, and just said I'm going to try to go to this stance and see what happens. I got out of the gate with that 30-game hitting streak and from there, I just kind of rolled with it.

Q. Do you think the Diamondbacks sent a message winning Game 1?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Well, this was a big win for us. We've got all the respect in the world for those guys. They have been to the post-season a lot more than we have, and they are not taking them lightly by any means. Tomorrow is a different day. We know they have got Andy Pettitte, a great competitor and a good pitcher and we have got Randy Johnson going for us. I think what you are going to find with our team is we respect the guys on the other side and we don't take them lightly. We saw what they did with Oakland; Oakland went in there and played well and then they could not find their way out. And the Yankees, they come right back and get them. Those guys, they know how to play. There's why they are winners over there. They know how to take advantage of mistakes and different situations. Tonight we did not give them that opportunity. We are not taking them lightly.

Q. On the subject of stances, is there something in your stance that enables you to generate more power than your frame and stature?

CRAIG COUNSELL: Well, I don't really think I do generate that much power, to be honest with you. I hit four home runs this year. You know, home runs are a rarity. I've hit a couple this post-season, but, you know, that's more -- I'm not going to say it is an accident, but it is out of the norm, I guess. My game is getting on base for the middle lineup; that's what I try to do. The home runs are just a bonus.

LUIS GONZALEZ: You probably are not going to see us two doing a Stance Little League Clinic. We are probably the two worst guys you would want to have your kids going up there and hitting like. (Laughter.)

Q. Before last year when you were with the Diamondbacks, did you think your career might be over?

CRAIG COUNSELL: No, I didn't think it was over at all. I thought I had a couple rough times and some injuries, and there's no reason to ever give up. You've got to keep fighting. I knew I would be back in the big leagues, and I'm thankful that I listened to Joe Garagiola and signed here. It was the right move.

Q. You've spent most of your career as a role player and seem to be very comfortable with that. In the post-season you've really been brought up to the spotlight with some big hits and plays, are you more comfortable, is it something you enjoy?

CRAIG COUNSELL: Well, I think any time you can do something to help your team win, you are going to enjoy it, you know. It's nothing more than that. I'm not trying to grab the spotlight or anything. I'm trying to help my team win. Some days, it's doing a little more, and some days it's just doing something real little, then that's fine with me. But I think the attitude in our clubhouse is just everybody do something to help us win. And some days you do more, some days you do less, but just do something.

Q. Can you ride tonight's home run to the one you hit in St. Louis?

CRAIG COUNSELL: It was both, they were different situations. That one was late in the game, but they are both big hits. You are happy because I feel like they helped and they were a part of victories more than anything. Hitting a home run in the World Series, is obviously a thrill. There's no question about that.

Q. The post-season has been tough on you; are you getting tougher pitches to hit or is it self-imposed?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I think it is a little bit of both. Craig has been hitting real well in front of me, so, that, to me, our ballclub kind of leans on each other. He's been picking up the slack where I've been lacking. Sure, I want to go out there and I want to get hits, I want to drive in runs, but if I am not doing it, if someone else is doing it and we are winning games, that just only shows if I can get some hits here and there that I'm going to be able to help out the ballclub even more. We have gotten to where we are at right now because it has been a full roster of guys going up and down the order that have come up big for us, and our ballclub really doesn't thrive on one guy coming up. We just -- we are kinds of a blue-collar, scrappy-type team and whoever wants to be the big guy that day, we are going to ride your back all the way in. We are not a flashy team. We just want to win games and that's all that matters.

End of FastScripts....

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