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October 3, 2003

Ivan Rodriguez


JIM FERGUSON: Questions for Pudge Rodriguez.

Q. Could you take us through the last at-bat.

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, it was a situation with the bases loaded right there, and I know I have the game in my hands right there. And basically what I did is just keep doing what I'm doing the whole series, you know. I've been hitting the ball hard, you know, in the series, the two games over there in San Francisco, and today, you know. I just seeing the ball pretty good right now. Basically what I do is stay back in that situation and try to go the other way.

Q. You had a game-winning hit, home run, threw out a guy at third, took out a runner. Do you think it was the best game of your career?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, I been in big league for 12 years. I do a lot of good things in my 12 years in baseball. But this is very excited. This is playoff. This is all about right here, you know. I'm very happy for the team. We got the advantage, two games to one. I being able to do that type of game out there make me feel pretty good. Believe it or not, is one of my best games in my career, you know, and I just look forward to keep doing it.

Q. Were you surprised they tried to steal third on you?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, I wasn't surprised. I was ready because he is a fast runner. I know in think situation, any moment, he's going to try to steal to get himself on third base. But I was ready. I just told Chad Fox that I be ready. Believe it or not, he got a good jump, but I just throw the ball right to the base, you know, the right spot. So it was a very key play of the game right there.

Q. What was the last pitch? Was it something you were looking for?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, it was a fastball. I know he got me the at-bat before with I think it was a fastball inside, sinking fastball inside. And I get on there, hit a fly ball to centerfield. But in that situation, you know, I was behind in the count, and basically what I tried to do there is just put the bat on the ball and put the ball in play. Basically that's what I did.

Q. The pitch just before, you had a foul ball.

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I hit that ball at the end of the bat. You know, the one that rose on that circle, yeah, I hit that ball at the end of the bat. But I see it pretty good. Basically that was the thing sure I did for next pitch.

Q. When the ball left the bat, were you thinking that the game was over?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: No, not really, because I hit that ball pretty hard, and this is a football stadium, and the grass, you know, is very small, and the ball goes pretty fast to the outfield. I have to say that Cruz have a great arm, too. But at the same time I see Pierre, you know, just touching third base, with his speed, being able to go to home plate, was a great feeling. I'm very happy for myself and my teammates that we win this very important game today.

Q. Is this the biggest hit of your career?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: I think so, yes. Yeah, it's very nice.

Q. When you were on deck waiting, did you think it might come down to you or did you think Luis would get it done ahead of you?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know, I was already prepared for my at-bat, you know. I know, you know, when the inning start, I was fifth or sixth, if I'm not mistaken. But I was ready. You know, I had my batting gloves on, you know, since the inning started and ready to go. I would like to see Luis do it, you know, for the team. But I did it. So, you know, I think Luis feels pretty happy about this, too.

Q. When Cruz lost the ball, did you think that might be what would give you a chance to get up to the plate?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: That was the key right there, you know, Cruz dropped that baseball right there. Cruz is, I mean, one of the best outfielders in the games. He make a lot of good plays on me, you know, in San Francisco, hitting the ball into the wall, and he makes nice catches over there. And I was very surprised that he dropped that ball. But it was good in our favor, and we take advantage of that.

Q. Did you have a bat made specifically for the playoffs? Are you using it?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, I think they send me three X bats, but I still using (inaudible).

Q. Can you explain this team's ability, the way it comes from behind to win a lot?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, the way I see this thing all year, we don't give up. You know, we play 27 outs hard, and we don't give up any at-bats, any out. You know, we do our best and we work hard all game. We win a lot of games coming from behind. You know, that's good, you know, to see that, you know, here. I tell you, we're a good team. We're a good team. Whoever play against us, they have to play hard until the last out, because you never know, because we can play baseball, too.

Q. You pumped your fist after the home run, after throwing the man out. Were you extra excited today?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, we're always excited. You know, every game I play is excited because that's the way I play the game. I play this game hard, you know, into the ninth inning. But today the crowd, you know, it was awesome, it was very excited, it was in our favor all game. That's what we need tomorrow so we can go out there and do our best in the field.

Q. What did you say to Looper when you went to the mound? Talk about how he got out of the inning.

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Basically I just tried to calm him down a little bit. I know they score a run on him and he get behind, we losing the game by one run. But basically what I told him, you know, "Hey, keep us right there that we can come the next inning and we can score some runs, too." Basically, believe it or not, they score some runs on him, but he did a great job, too.

Q. Your son is sitting next to you here. Is there a lesson from tonight's game you'd like him to take?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know, he's a good baseball player. I just want him to see, you know, what I did in the field. I just want him to do the same thing that I'm doing, you know, just play the game hard. He plays the game hard. He's a great player. So I just look forward, when he grow up, so he can replace my position in the big leagues.

Q. The Marlins invested $10 million in you. You had a good year. Does this make it worth it to them?

PUDGE RODRIGUEZ: I don't know. You can ask Jeffrey about that. I not here because the money; I'm here to play baseball. I'm just very happy to be here. I say that when they give me their Marlin jersey, when they sign me, this team can play in the playoff, and I was not wrong. We're here with the series 2-1, and I'm very happy for that.

End of FastScripts...

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