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October 18, 2006

Tony La Russa


Q. Could you talk about, Wagner came in and you almost pulled this out in terms of making another at-bat?
TONY LA RUSSA: I'm glad we played it to the end because that's our style. You know, you get Billy Wagner one run, it's tough getting four and guys are against you. We played to the end and that's what we're supposed to do.
I think if the day started if you'd told me that they would have had four on the board, with our offense, I would have thought we'd have a better chance, but they shut us down.

Q. What did you think of John Maine?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I'm sure they are very happy with him. That first inning, he faced a big problem and he got out of it, and it seemed like after the early part of the game as he got more confident, he pitched better and better and got them into the sixth inning.
I think one of the keys was dodging that bullet in the first inning.

Q. Can you talk about your experiences going into Game 7. What do you say to your players tomorrow night, both teams?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, one of the things I said right there real quickly is Game 7 starts right now. They are getting ready to have the experience of a lifetime if you're in professional sports. You play a Game 7 in a best-of-seven probably baseball and basketball is where you have it. It's an experience you'll never forget. It will be one of the most enjoyable things, especially if you do it right as far as getting ready and doing the best that you can. You'll never forget it.
I'd prefer our club to not go through it obviously, but it's magical. So I'm sure we'll be ready.

Q. Looking at that Game 7 from pitching standpoint, do you feel you have the advantage based on who will start, and they have not announced who they will start?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean, I'm not in real good shape to talk about tomorrow because, you know, you just -- I was convinced as we kept dodging our bullets that we were going to find a way to win the game and not have to go through this again. But yesterday, you got a guy going into the Hall of Fame, losing pitcher of the day against a Cy Young; what's the matchups mean? Baseball, there's no script. I think we have an even chance to win the game as well as the Mets do, and we'll take that going in.

Q. I know why you pinch-hit for Carpenter there, but it seemed to have a strange downhill effect when Looper let's in two runs and you score two more back off of Wagner in the ninth inning. As well as Carpenter was pitching, was there any doubt in your minds about doing it at that point?
TONY LA RUSSA: Dave and I had talked about it, if there had been two outs and nobody on, he'd have stayed in the game. But you're down two and you've got, what, seven outs left -- that's not true, six, eight outs left, I think you had to take the shot there.
But Chris, he had an outstanding sixth inning. But I was pulling for a rally. Those things run out, and I'm telling you, if we had been down two instead of four, you'd be seeing a different Billy Wagner.

Q. Have you ever watched a Game 7 in another sport, basketball or hockey, and wondered about what the similarities of what it was like, different from your sport, goal keeper versus whatever?
TONY LA RUSSA: Hockey, very good point, I forgot about hockey. As a sports fan, Game 7, that's it.
I haven't been in a lot them, but every time I have a friend that's in one of them, I'm always picking their brains. Tom Kelly was in them, Jim Leyland was in them, Dave Duncan was in them in one in '72. That's a fascinating conversation, so that's why I want our club to look forward to it, because it's the experience of a lifetime.

Q. You had a chance in the first inning tonight and then Reyes had the home run, how important did you think the first inning was in this game?
TONY LA RUSSA: I thought the first thing that was more important for us, not marking. When you get a chance like that, second and third, and you don't mark and you've got a young, talented guy that maybe can create a little doubt that you can take advantage of, I think he had gained some confidence and he got better and better. You know, when we're good, we're an execution club. So we've got to get at least one there. We had second and nobody out and he made a great pitch to Scott and we didn't score.
So, you know, we didn't score with a runner on third before that, too. So it's just, I thought the first inning, it wasn't so important that they scored, it's that we missed a chance to get something on the board.

Q. Just to be clear, what you told the team about Game 7, that was after the game, talking about this?

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