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October 5, 2007

Augie Ojeda

Chris Snyder


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Augie and Chris.

Q. Welcome back, Augie. How strange does this feel to be coming in here where your name was chanted over and over again, and now you have the possibility of helping put them out of the postseason?
AUGIE OJEDA: Well, it feels pretty special here. You know, the fans kind of took me under their wing. It's a special feeling for me coming back. I just want to go out there and hopefully try and do the best I can and just win some games.

Q. This is for both of you. What's the hitters' book on Rich Hill?
CHRIS SNYDER: See ball, hit ball (laughter). Hit it hard, keep it simple.
AUGIE OJEDA: He's got a pretty good curveball. I played with the master, and he's a pretty good pitcher. He's a strikeout pitcher, pretty good fastball and really good curveball. Just make him pitch and hopefully have some good at-bats.

Q. Augie, do you have a favorite memory from playing with the Cubs?
AUGIE OJEDA: Yeah, the whole time I was here from my first game when they chanted my name to the last game I was here was the '03 playoffs. All the memories are fond and I'll treasure them forever.
This is a place as a player you want to play. Great fans, great atmosphere, and they know their baseball.

Q. Chris, could you talk about you guys' mindset coming in here two games to nothing only being one game away from advancing?
CHRIS SNYDER: There's still a lot of work ahead for us, and we've just got to go out there and keep grinding. That's been the way we've done it all season. You know, pitch by pitch, at-bat to at-bat, day-to-day.
At this point in time anything can happen. Like I said, there's still a lot of work to do and some good arms that we have to face throughout and a good offensive team in a good offensive ballpark. So it's going to be a fun atmosphere tomorrow.
It's going to be loud, it's going to be crazy, and we're looking forward to it.

Q. Augie, you said you played with Rich Hill last year. Did you stay in the Cubs' Minor Leagues for a couple years and can you talk about how you spent most of your time in the Minors the last couple years and now you're here? Can you talk about the journey back to the Majors and being on a big stage like this?
AUGIE OJEDA: I played with Rich last year and he had a big year, a lot of strikeouts. He's a pitcher where if he's on he can dominate.
Part of being in the Minor Leagues is I guess grinding and the hard work I put in. Just being here is special. It's one of those where you've just got to -- if you have a job, you've just got to keep grinding and hopefully get back up here and now obviously just enjoy it and just have fun.

Q. Anything surprise you about the way that these young players on your team seem unphased here by playing in a big atmosphere?
CHRIS SNYDER: You know, I've said it a couple days ago when we had all the workout on Tuesday or whatever it was, before everything started up, and somebody asked me, How do y'all feel about going into this with you guys having no experience with this? A lot of guys get caught up with the young team and how will they adjust to their first season in the big leagues, stuff like that.
I told them, these guys, even though it is Minor League experience, they were the best team in baseball last year with Tucson led by Chip Hale, all these young guys played for that team where all they did was win. And when all you do is win, you learn how to do that and you get a feel for that.
Now you just step it up to the next level, and you're up here and your adrenaline is going to take over, the atmosphere is going to help you take over, and you just go out there and have fun and play the game you know how to play and do what you're capable of doing, which is what we've done all season.
We're not going to try to do more than that and go out there and play hard.

Q. Augie, was there a point where you wondered if you would make it back?
AUGIE OJEDA: No, not at all. I have confidence in myself, and I told myself I have a job, I have a chance to get back to the big leagues. I know what I can do, and I just had to go out there and have a good year in AAA wherever I was at and hopefully get the call up and just take advantage of this.
It's one of those where as a player you know what you can do, and I guess if nobody else believes in you, you have no way to make it. But if you believe in yourself, which I do, and that's what I did. I just told myself keep grinding.

Q. First of all, Augie, you obviously know first-hand what the fans can be like here. If you could both speak to the importance about not letting the Cubs back into the series, trying to seal the deal in Game 3 because you know how they can feed off the fans?
AUGIE OJEDA: Yeah, the fans are great, probably one of the best in baseball so far. But like I said, as a player, you feed off the fans and here they know the game. From pitch one they start questioning the calls. They've been dying for a winner, so they're going to go out there and giving them the best support they have.
We just have to go out there and just keep playing our game and hopefully come up with a big W, but it's going to be hard.
CHRIS SNYDER: I said before, it's going to be a fun atmosphere. I mean, this place, when we came here earlier in the season -- it's a sellout. Every game you have here, it's a sellout. Tomorrow is going to be even bigger, and they're going to come out and it's going to be rowdy.
But on the other side of that, we thrive off of that. We enjoy playing in front of that kind of crowd and that atmosphere. I mean, it's a baseball atmosphere. I think anybody would thrive on that. You just enjoy it and go out there and play.

Q. Speaking of feeding off, you guys obviously won your division and yet you're still counted as the underdog in the series. Have you guys relished that?
CHRIS SNYDER: That's the way we've had it all season. You know, we heard it earlier that -- you know, as much as we stay under the radar, that's the way we like it. That's the way we've done it all season, and we've been comfortable with that.
You know, we've played well with that, just hopefully we can turn some heads here in the next few weeks.

Q. Augie, when you were inserted in the lineup and you realized that you had to take over the position full-time, what was your mindset? Was there more pressure at that time, the team was going well as it could and here in a new situation. Was there any pressure?
AUGIE OJEDA: No, there's no pressure. Pressure doctors have for surgery, that's pressure. This is baseball game. It's a game where it's meant to be fun. Go out there and enjoy the game. I just try to be prepared and be ready.
It was exciting for me. Pennant race, great manager, great teammates, and just go out there and just try to play my game, stay within myself and just help the team win somehow. If it's defense, running, hitting, just whatever, but just go out there and enjoy the game and have fun with it.

Q. Especially as the catcher, whether it's within the game or looking back at the two games, can you sense the frustration of the Cubs' hitters when they're in the batter's box? Can you guys feed off of that, and do you see it in their body language?
CHRIS SNYDER: Well, when Webby is throwing, it doesn't matter who's hitting, I always sense a frustration. But you hear comments and stuff like that, but you've got to look, too, the two guys we've thrown out there the past couple days have been on their A game.
Webby set the tone the first game and went out there and was dominant, and then we had Dougie yesterday who came out and probably pitched one of the better games he's had all season. He worked ahead of hitters and kept his walks down and got them into counts where he forced them to hit his pitches.
So the past two games they made it pretty tough on the other guys.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Livan, what his strengths are as a pitcher?
CHRIS SNYDER: Well, I haven't caught him all year, so you kind of have the wrong guy up here.
But from catching him last year and facing him, he's a guy for him to be effective he's got to work the corners of the plate and he'll mix his pitches and he'll throw any pitch at any time.
If he's doing that and getting the swings from them and getting them to hit his pitches, then he should be just fine.

Q. What's been working for you offensively lately, and is it at all satisfying to have some success against the Cubs, your former club?
AUGIE OJEDA: I think just playing like the last three weeks, four weeks, it's all about timing as a hitter. Just go out there and work hard. Rich Hill has been doing a great job all year with us. He's been helping me out, and confidence, as well, timing and confidence about hitting.
Just go out there and have some good at-bats, work the counts, get on base somehow.
It's a little special playing the Cubs. The majority of the guys, they were my former teammates at some point, and it's kind of extra special.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen, for coming in.

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