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October 4, 2007

Clint Hurdle

Troy Tulowitzki


Q. Troy, what's the last year and a half been like going out of college and getting to this point?
TROY TULOWITZKI: It's happened quick. You know, I got drafted in 2005 and spent, you know, pretty much a full year in Astros and got called up in September and now this. You know, it seems like yesterday it's been real quick but you know, an awesome experience.

Q. Clint and Troy, both of you, obviously the team has had a very good season defensively but does it seem like the single greatest defensive season in baseball history?
CLINT HURDLE: That's what the numbers seem to indicate. I can't comment on anything else because I wasn't a part of the other teams that were representative of the record before this. I know this; that it's the best defensive season that I've ever seen a team play, whether I was on the team, coaching the team or managing the team.

Q. Troy, does it seem that good?
TROY TULOWITZKI: Obviously numbers don't lie. We just go out there and you know, into every pitch, I think that's the main thing that's helped us this year defensively is making sure we are into every single pitch and not taking one pitch off. You know, that really makes a big difference. As stupid as it sounds, sometimes you see guys out there that are worrying about their AB's and stuff like that. That's one thing this team does is we separate defense from offense.

Q. Troy, what realistically did you expect this year, and did you exceed or surpass what you were hoping for?
TROY TULOWITZKI: Coming in, my first full year, obviously, you know, first and foremost I wanted to make the team. But as soon as I found out that I was on the team, I expected to win.
Any time, you know, you suit up in a baseball uniform and you're on a team, you want to win. And I didn't expect to lose at all. I'll be the first one to say that. I knew we had a good team. Obviously we're young, but good players and a good team, and on organization headed in the right direction. I expected to win from day one.

Q. Apart from what, what about individually?
TROY TULOWITZKI: I just wanted to go out there and play the game the right way. Obviously there's a lot of up-and-downs in a full season, I struggled early but I stayed with myself and always had confidence. It's a tough game and I knew that, but you know, I think things worked out all right.

Q. I'd like to know if you view this series as an opportunity for revenge for 19 eight.
CLINT HURDLE: (Laughing) I got to feel the pain of being on a team that loses the World Series, and you'll hear comments, oh, it's just so great to get there.
But once you get in, you need to win. And it was a great moment for Philadelphia. It was a very disturbing moment for us from Kansas City. We thought we had a good team and we had some leads late that got away, but there's no vindication here.
This is their game. I just happen to be the manager of the team. So from that standpoint, there's no other angle in play. I'm just enjoying watching these guys get after things and take care of things so professionally and with so much focus for a group that doesn't have -- has limited playoff experience.
We've been in the losers bracket for a month, so this is a little bit of a breath of fresh air for us.

Q. They say you learn a lot more from losing than you do from victory, but what have you learned about managing and about yourself over the past couple of weeks?
CLINT HURDLE: If that was the case, we would be -- I would be really, really smart after the first five years, and I really don't feel that way.
I think as I encourage my players, I try and pay attention; your opportunities to learn are limited to watching and reading and listening. And I tried to hear the voice in the clubhouse, I tried to stay out of the way and watch them take ownership of the club and give them ownership of the club. And I've had some help from some individuals along those lines as to keep focused on the important things from me.
These guys have taken ownership of the club and I have gotten out of the way; meetings have been minimal -- three? Probably two too many. Their awareness is incredible.
I'll take a minute to speak on their awareness and I found this out after the fact. But everybody's asking a lot of different questions about our club, you know, talking about this or you mention this and did we know about this; and I said, no, no.
There's only two kind of meetings that ever have any benefit in sports, those are the ones the press never hears about and when you're voting on shares. Well, they had the opportunity to vote on shares last week. I was passed on the information that they voted Manny Coolbaugh a share, full share, which I found speaks to their awareness, speaks to their passion, speaks to their, I don't know, every good thing about them.
So I've learned that about them, too. Their awareness is pretty unique.

Q. How do you react to the controversy of your closer that was kind of caught on camera; is that a normal thing for you? How do you feel about the controversy that came out of that?
CLINT HURDLE: Is this at the park or away from the park?

Q. In the ninth inning I guess.
CLINT HURDLE: I haven't heard anything from anybody else, but I think the media earlier in the day mentioned there was a camera on Corpas, and I still haven't looked at the tape so I still don't know what happened. Until I get further direction from maybe somebody else, I think we'll handle it internally.

Q. Do you know if that's something he typically does? Does he typically do that as a ritual?
CLINT HURDLE: I think there's a lot of different things that sometimes, not just our players do, but opposing players do, to try and get some type of feel for things in an altitude situation like we're in Coors Field, and from my understanding, poured water on his jersey, I don't know of anything else after that.
So when your focus is where it needs to be, his focus has been about getting outs; and if we've got to try and redirect some opportunity for him to find a better grip on the ball, I'm sure we can do that.

Q. What did you expect from Troy, how did he do compared to what you thought he might do?
CLINT HURDLE: As I try to do with all players, I leave the black boards up and they are free to write on it. Over a period of time, they will show you who they are and what they are. I heard he had a good skill-set and good barrel to his bat, and I heard he brought a stomach full of intangibles, and they are all very accurate comments.
Now to have watched him play 164 ballgames, well, he didn't quite play that many -- I actually sat him for a couple of games this season. His passion for what he does, his ability to make all the plays at shortstop; the edge he brought to our team, both sides of the ball, at-bats, getting very, very gutsy as the game went on, it's been a pleasure and a joy to watch.
I think he was able to help a lot of guys that maybe didn't have an edge, get an edge, and some guys that had an edge, get a bigger edge. Because there's a point in time in the season where we had fallen about nine games under .500 and I was walking through the clubhouse and I heard the comment, enough is enough, let's play like a good team. I expected it to be a 35-year-old guy with ten years of experience, and it's the kid over here. So that kind of caught my attention.

Q. First I had heard about the Manny Coolbaugh thing. Presumably you were in that meeting. Can you describe how that came up and how it was received, maybe who brought it up and where the conversation went?
TROY TULOWITZKI: We decided as a team. You know, obviously he's in our organization and, you know, see what happened, and to hear from players that I had played with and being on the team that I was with last year; you know, a lot of thoughts and prayers went out to him. But we felt that, you know, as a team, it was the right thing to do and we're obviously happy with the decision.
I hope they are, too, and I'm sure they will be.

Q. To follow up, do you know whose idea it was? Did it come from above or was it a player's suggestion?
TROY TULOWITZKI: Some of the older guys talked about it and brought it up and something we all wanted to do.

Q. Have you ever in your career, I know it's a short Major League career, but through high school or college, been in a run like you guys are in now, and do you ever step back and think about it or are you so caught up in the moment that it all goes by the wayside?
TROY TULOWITZKI: Obviously it's a little different at the big league level, college, Long Beach State, teams were pretty good and we got on some runs. Obviously it's different at this stage. This is my first go-around at it, and it's been an awesome run and hopefully we can continue it.

Q. I just wanted to ask you, when you were a kid, did you practice those off-balance, across your body throws, or where does that come from?
TROY TULOWITZKI: As a kid, you know, I was always on the field, trying to do things that the other kids had never seen before, whether that's spinning and throwing, or jumping and throwing. I always wanted to be an exciting player and do things that people thought were special on the field.
So definitely practicing throws like that as a kid, you know, helped me out in today's game. But, you know, there's a lot of other guys out there that can do the same things now. You know, it's nice to get recognized sometimes for some special throws.

Q. Has there been one this season where you even said to yourself, wow?
TROY TULOWITZKI: There's a play in L.A. where I didn't really think I had a shot at the runner. I just kind of threw it over there and I ended up getting the guy out. I was kind of surprised. But if there's one, I would say it definitely was that one.

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