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October 4, 2003

Gabe Kapler

Kevin Millar


Q. Gabe, you've been quoted as saying you would play on Yom Kippur. Is that a hard decision for you, a gut-wrenching decision?

GABE KAPLER: It's something I wrestled with a bit because I care about my heritage and where I come from, but it would be hypocritical after not really practicing all year long to decide to take a stand at this juncture, especially when that just wouldn't be me. I'll play on this Yom Kippur. I'm not going to go out on a limb or anything. I imagine as long as I feel the way I feel right now that's not going to change that much.

Q. Kevin, give us an update on the hair cut.

KEVIN MILLAR: We have got some guys in there, about 15 of us that shaved our heads. It's going nice. This is what it's about. We've lost four in a row. Like I told you, this quirky thing sometimes works and we'll see what happens.

Q. It's safe to say the fans in this town are not Grady Little fans. Would you make a case to them on behalf of Grady?

KEVIN MILLAR: Grady Little has done the most unbelievable job with this team. He is a phenomenal manager and Grady Little has been in a situation all year long, with the bullpen or making decisions, that he was in a no-win situation whatever he did. Grady has kept us together, Grady has had an open door for the players, he is a complete player's manager and I would never want to play for anyone else but Grady Little.

Q. With that in mind, are you guys surprised that his situation hasn't been resolved and he doesn't know if he's coming back next year?

KEVIN MILLAR: I think he will be back next year. I think there are more important things right now than Grady Little's contract. Obviously getting into the postseason was a big factor. Now we're here and we're behind the eight ball. And two, I don't think Grady Little's contract is on everybody's mind. There's no doubt he'll be back next year. You can ask 25 guys in the locker room, Grady Little is phenomenal, we respect him. There are other things to managing the baseball game. We make the plays, we strike out, we make the errors, we throw the pitches. That's not Grady Little. He keeps us in check. This team has been through a lot of different situations in the season and he never lets anything get out of hand. He's kept this clubhouse intact. He deserves a lot more credit than he gets. This is a tough city and you've got 25 different egos you're dealing with, and he does a phenomenal job, and I think he'll be back here, 100 percent.

Q. Talk about John Burkett. What does he bring to the mound, as he goes tomorrow, that brings you guys confidence?

GABE KAPLER: He's had phenomenal playoff starts in the past. I've only heard stories about the one he had in New York against the Yankees. I'm not sure. You guys can confirm that. Burkey is one of the ballsiest pitchers I've been around. He wants the ball all the time, any situation, against any pitcher, any lineup. That's what you want in these type of situations. You don't want someone tentative out there. Not that we have anyone else like that. That's not what I'm insinuating. He wants the ball and he's not scared of any situation. We love having John Burkett on the mound no matter what the situation.

Q. Talk about the disparity between hitting at home and on the road. You talked pretty openly after Game 1 about the offense here.

KEVIN MILLAR: This offense, for some reason, clicks here. Obviously you have your David Ortiz and Billy Muellers, your left-handed hitters that pepper that left field Wall. It's all about, as quirky as it sounds. You've got your music coming to the plate, you have your fans behind you, it's your batter's box, your batter's eye that you hit 81 times a year, it's home, it's Sox Nation. Everyone is cheering for you. This lineup is tough here. We've pounded the baseball here at home and it's no secret. When you're coming into a hostile environment like this, it's not fun to play, and let alone you have to face this lineup, it's tough. You look at a few balls that Ortiz could have hit off the wall in left field there. It's just little things like that that all play into effect. There is no rhyme or reason, but we do hit the baseball here.

Q. Do you guys have to guard at all about being overly aggressive tonight, staying within yourselves, considering what's at stake?

GABE KAPLER: I hope we are overly aggressive., to be honest with you I think our approach in Oakland was passive. That's a personal opinion. You ask every player and they'll tell you something different. I hope we come out swinging the bats, because Oakland's strategy has always been to throw strike one, and if we're ready to hit strike one -- I know personally against Zito, I watched probably three fast balls for strikes early, and if I have the opportunity to, and we all have the opportunity to, I hope we'll swing at those fast balls early. I think their goal is to really throw strike one. If we can drill strike one maybe we put a little fear into them, then they start throwing balls.

Q. Whose idea was the haircuts and who's giving the haircuts?

KEVIN MILLAR: I would have to say it was my idea. The bottom line was we had to change something, we're 0-2. The first thing that came to my mind was the mullet should be gone. We landed, we waited for our suitcases for about an hour, and Andy Abad, I grabbed him since he was the cleanest shaved guy in the locker room and he cut my hair. Then I turned to Billy Mueller and he said he would do it. I did Todd Walker's hair last night, and Billy Mueller hadn't done his hair yet, so we dragged him in the locker room and did it. The next thing you know, I looked at Kapler and said, Listen, he's already got short hair, he said you get five guys and I'm going.

GABE KAPLER: I thought I would show these guys what it means to shave your head. They all got haircuts. Before the game, be prepared for an even shorter look.

KEVIN MILLAR: He's a natural born killer. That was the whole idea. We have about 15 guys right now with these haircuts and it's going good right now. We're going to get Grady in there too. Be prepared to see Grady with one.

End of FastScripts...

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