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October 22, 2006

Kenny Rogers


Q. Would you explain what you talked to the umpire about after the second inning?
KENNY ROGERS: He just came and told me how much time I had between the innings, I had to slow down a little bit because I didn't want to stand out there too long in the cold. He knew I'm older than most. We discussed that and I told him I'd slow down a little bit. It was not a big deal.

Q. Sorry to lead off with this question: Just for the record, what was on your hand in the first inning? How did you take it off and why?
KENNY ROGERS: It was a big clump of dirt, and I wiped it off. I didn't know it was there and they told me and I took it off, and it wasn't a big deal.

Q. Did somebody complain?
KENNY ROGERS: No, I just saw it. I didn't know it was there until after the inning, I took it off and it was good.

Q. The umpires didn't mention it at all to you?

Q. Not to beat a dead horse here, but you say a clump of dirt. How can you have a clump of dirt on your hand?
KENNY ROGERS: It's dirt and resin and all that stuff put together. When it's moist you're going to rub up the baseball and it was left on my hand when I rubbed them up.

Q. According to Jim, the opposing team complained that your ball was doing strange things. If they did make that complaint, do you think you're getting into their heads and is this to your psychological advantage?
KENNY ROGERS: I don't know if I have too many advantages out there. I really didn't feel like I was that good locating tonight, threw some sinkers that would cut, some that would sink, and got away with a couple here and there. I didn't think I had that great of a sinker at all. Hopefully I can have a better one next time.
St. Louis is too good a team to get in anyone's head. They know what I do and what I try to do. If I made any mistakes today, I probably got away with them, with Albert. I don't even know where that pitch was, but lucky I was here in Detroit. But he hit it pretty hard and just got over the top of it or I'd have been in trouble there. You can't make mistakes with these guys. I was trying my best to make every pitch as good as I could down in the zone, in or out. And I don't feel like I was a sharp at locating, but I got away with it.

Q. Can you explain at all what the difference is between you now as this dominant postseason pitcher, as opposed to the previous pitcher who really didn't even get into the fifth inning in all your previous postseason starts. Jimmy said it's an adrenaline rush from the Yankee game. Is it more than that or what?
KENNY ROGERS: With any athlete I think the longer you fail at something, the harder it is to turn that corner. Without a doubt I believe going out there and having success against that Yankee team was huge for me, huge for my confidence. But I think for my team, also. But it's just, as an athlete, it gives you a release to where you know you can refocus your energy, and not worry about all the other stuff of letting it -- if it continues. Sometimes it's your own mind that gets in the way, and I think mine got in the way early on.
But right now I'm trying not to think too much and just go out and compete. As athletes that's much more beneficial for us a lot of the time.

Q. Over the things that happened to you over the last 17 months of your life, did you ever imagine you'd be here doing this tonight?
KENNY ROGERS: Another question.

Q. How does this postseason performance as a whole, how do you think that is going to change the perception of your entire career?
KENNY ROGERS: I don't know, I think for me I'm just glad I hung in there and persevered just so I could be here at this point in time, not that I expected this by any means. I know what I'm capable of and dominating teams is not one of them very often. Probably got lucky in a lot of ways. I think just for me more than anything else it's a goal you have. When you're unsuccessful at something at any point in your career, you want to take that away, and my goal, why I hung around so long is I knew there were things I still wanted to accomplish. And by no means was a playoff game probably not one of the bigger ones. It benefitted me some ways, made me hang around longer at this age, but it just makes it that much more worthwhile.

Q. Your manager said that you washed your hands between innings.
KENNY ROGERS: No, I wiped them off. I just went and wiped it off.

Q. He made it sound like you were told to do that.
KENNY ROGERS: No, I saw it and I went and wiped it off and then it was gone. I didn't think it was an issue. But if it distracts someone -- I'd do anything to distract anybody, but I think after the first inning I was fine. I don't think anybody had a problem with anything. I felt like I was pretty comfortable after that.

Q. Can you explain how fun this postseason has been for you, 23 scoreless innings?
KENNY ROGERS: Got another one?

Q. I'm curious, you seem to be taking this in stride. Are you enjoying the success you've had in this postseason?
KENNY ROGERS: Without a doubt. I think any player, any athlete, especially one like myself, as old as I am or whatever, it's very satisfying, mainly because it's needed. Our team needed to win today, and I know it was huge. But part of it is I'm trying to enjoy myself out there and not take in all the other distractions of things that will make you fail. If you worry about failure, it's coming. And sometimes you get caught up in that as an athlete. I'm focusing on every pitch, every hitter, I'm not looking past an out or an inning. If I only last three or four innings, if I'm going after it like I am, so be it. I'm just not looking beyond that moment. And I think that's helping me a lot to focus and stay committed to my pitches and trying to do the best that I can out there.

Q. 23 consecutive scoreless innings in this postseason, the record is 27 by Christy Mathewson in the World Series, are you aware of that and what do you think about that?
KENNY ROGERS: I'm no Christy Mathewson, that's for sure, but I've had scoreless streaks before. I'm so glad it's happening now for us as a team, it helps us win. But I will never put myself in the category of someone like that or even remotely close.
I know I'm just trying to be a good pitcher and make as many good pitches as I can. My guys played great defense today. It was a tough game with the ball coming up a little wet, Grandy going out there and saving some probably sure doubles in the first couple of innings. It's not just one player. I pitched all right and pretty good, but my whole team has been fantastic for me this year, and that's why I'm having success. But it's not just from me, it's from all of us together. This is the way we play the game. We understand that it takes all of us. When we lose it's not one guy's fault, and when we win it's all of us.

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