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October 26, 2006

Aaron Miles

John Rodriguez


Q. Aaron, in this series with you guys waiting around and not knowing whether you're going to play or not and the fans are waiting around and it's cold and miserable in the stadium, do you think at all that baseball should do something to move the schedule up, whether it's double headers or do you have any thoughts? Some people have been kicking the idea of having a warm-weather site for the World Series. Do you think of anything like that, and what do you think of the stands and everybody is bundling up like it's December?
AARON MILES: I don't think the warm-weather site is a good idea, because I think the fans, it's something they've been waiting for, and it's a reward for coming to the games and doing everything they do. But the double headers is an idea, I guess, starting the season a little earlier. Of course you start the season earlier they'd have trouble with the weather there, too. I think it's something we've got to deal with. The fans have to deal with. I think they'd rather sit in the stands a couple of nights cold and come back the next night than see their team playing in San Diego or something.

Q. This is for Aaron, I was going to ask you, about several years ago you played for the Birmingham Barons, and here you are on the World Series team. Can you talk about what this means to you, plus just the idea of maybe getting a big World Series check?
AARON MILES: Well, for the guys that don't have multi-year contracts, the World Series check, it's like another year you played, I guess, a whole another Big League salary for us. But that's big.
When Yadi hit that home run, of course the first thing that pops into your head is we're going to the World Series. But the next thing is it's really good money for us guys that aren't making those multi-million dollar contracts.
And as far as playing in the World Series is something that -- I mean, go back to when we're six, seven years old in our backyard throwing it around. You pretend like you're in the World Series, hitting the ninth inning, with the chance to win the game. So pretty much everybody's dreams are coming true right here.

Q. John, did you feel like this team relaxed and kind of got a burden off of its shoulders when it did clinch the division, and everything went back to 0-0 and you could start playing playoff games again?
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: I think we were like that even when we were going through that stretch. We just had a couple of guys down who were a little beat up. We always felt confident within ourselves and we knew what kind of team we were, especially coming out of Spring Training. The first couple of months when we were hot, and it seemed like everybody thought we were winning. And the last stretch for a month or month and a half, we had a lot of people questioning us. We knew from the get-go that we were a good team and we should be in this situation now. So we're ready for the battle and ready to win this war.

Q. This question is for both of you guys: You haven't gone through the NLCS, are veterans of the rainout here and had to pass the time. I am wondering, has anything developed to help you guys pass the time in the clubhouse or how you guys have done that here, if there's a hearts tournament going or a World Series of Poker?
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: Something like that. Most of the time we're just looking at video. Seriously, we are. We're looking at video. As for myself, Miles, Spiezio, guys that are on the bench who have the opportunity to come up in a key situation in the game, we live in the cages. We have guys in there that are throwing to us. We have hitting machines that we can just do different things with.
But besides that card playing, yeah, we have a little tournament going on. But there's no betting involved (laughter.)
AARON MILES: I took BP probably three times yesterday. So luckily we've got guys that will throw to us anytime. You might have a start at 8:00, we might have a start at 9:00. So just shuffling back and forth to the BP cage, going and watching the film. We watched it so much yesterday, I don't think we need to watch any today. If we're waiting around today, it will be boring for us.

Q. A lot of people thought you should play or would have played yesterday when it was misting out. Did you want to get out and start the game based on the weather conditions at 7, 8:00?
AARON MILES: We wanted to play. No doubt about it. The whole thing is, we don't want to lose one of our pitchers, they don't want to lose one of their pitchers. Everything is based on that, I think, that's the bottom line. I know that you've got to take into consideration the TV and what have you, but the bottom line is the pitcher and giving each team the fair chance that they deserve.

Q. John, Aaron was referring to the dreams you had when you were six or seven years old, can you take us through what your baseball was like when you were a kid and what your specific thoughts of the World Series was like when you were a kid.
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: I grew up in the projects in New York City, so everything was a dream. There was really no realities besides if you had a family member in your life that took you away from the bad stuff that was going around, you were privileged and you were blessed. So I was blessed to have my uncle in my life and my mom who kept me away from the drugs or the drug selling and things like that that was going on around my neighborhood.
Baseball and football, actually, kept me away from a lot of the negative. My uncle always took me away to his house and practiced with me, did things like that. It was just an amazing feeling how you go from there to where I'm at now and just sit back and just think about it. And it's definitely a dream come true.

Q. When you guys are on the bench and throughout the game in these weather conditions, are you doing anything different to keep yourself warm and make it easier to get loose? I imagine it's different when you're going through these weather conditions?
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: During the regular season when it's a little bit warmer, we start getting ready around the fifth, sixth or even seventh inning. With temperatures like this, we keep moving around, even from the first inning. We just are doing things that are either walking back to the video room, walking back to the clubhouse, taking some swings, stretching in the cages and just doing things like that.
AARON MILES: I tell you, I wouldn't want to be at Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, because there's no place to hit off the tee. There's no batting tunnels. Luckily here we can come in our hitting tunnel and warm up and stretch and throw in the hitting tunnel, take swings, when you're getting ready to get in there. So you're not necessarily cold. When you see the guy has been sitting on the bench and he's cold and frosty.
It's true if you're at Wrigley or Boston or some of the old parks that don't have some of the new amenities that some of the new fields have, but that's one of the lucky things we have with the new ballparks now. Coming off the bench cold, it's not like it used to be.

Q. John, just as a follow-up to what you were saying before, can you take us through the story of how you were discovered in New York and how you signed and came up.
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: Right after high school, it was a summer league that I played in in the Bronx. And I played there for a little bit and I had a try-out where my uncle knew a cop who knew the scout that was holding a try-out in Yankee Stadium. And I did the try-out, did well. But he also had invited about 5,200 kids. So I just felt like I had to go in there and prove my point.
I just left. I went back to playing summer league in the Bronx and the same scout that ran it came to one of my games and was like, who is this kid? Everybody keeps talking about him. Lo and behold it was me, I went to that try-out and from there I spent eight years in the Minor Leagues, signed as a free agent last year with Cleveland, got traded over here, played one month in Memphis, got called up and have been here ever since. It's sort of like a male Cinderella story if you want (laughter.)
Q. For both of you guys, when you look at this team, three weeks ago a lot of people were not saying that it was going to be the Cardinals and Detroit here. Were the Cardinals a team that was maybe built for a short series, and is it fair to say that? Is it fair to say that for Detroit and why?
AARON MILES: I don't know about you guys, but I think these are two of the best teams in baseball. You look at the Tigers, their pitching staff, they're built for any series with a pitching staff like that.
And the same with us. You go Carp, Supp, Weaver, these guys have been great down the stretch of the season. And there's not too many teams that can throw out those top notch three pitchers like that.
Everybody was wondering about Weaver when he came over here, but he's been a top notch Major League pitcher, No. 1, No. 2 guy for us. He's struggled on a little bit early, but when we went down the stretch he picked it up big time. The postseason is all about pitching. We're here because of pitching. We've got the big guys that can swing the bat, but the bottom line is we're here because we pitch and play good defense.
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: Like Aaron said, it is all about pitching. You're not seeing games that are outrageous scores, like 12 to 10 or even 9 to 8. Everything has been like 2-1, or 3-0 or 5-2 or 5-3. There might have been that one game we scored 12, but that's about it. It really is pitching.

Q. John, how many balls did you hit out for home runs in Yankee Stadium that day? And I also wanted to get the names of the uncle, the cop and the scout?
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: Three in the upper deck at 18 years old was definitely a dream come true for me, in right field.
My uncle's name is Robert Allende, A-l-l-e-n-d-e; Ralph Morales.

Q. The cop?
JOHN RODRIGUEZ: Yes. And Cesar Presbott was the scout.

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