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October 13, 2007

Clint Hurdle



Q. I'm sure you've addressed this humidor thing before. As a matter of fact, I know you have. But just for us who don't hear it a whole lot. How much has it changed the game here? And is it a more honest game than it used to be with the balls being stored in there?
CLINT HURDLE: It has had a very -- I should say it's just leveled the playing field for the pitchers here in this ballpark, both our pitchers and the opposition's pitchers. All we wanted to do was keep the balls regulation size throughout the season. What we found was the balls were getting smaller and traveling farther. For a long time it was unbeknownst to us. We would go ooh and aah and watch 'em go. And everybody that came to the plate was homer ready. It provided difficult challenges. It draws on your club's energy because team offensively never thinks you're out of the game, never shut down mentally, your pitchers continually try and find ways to get outs or change things and now it's just been about pitching. Getting the ball down, changing speeds.
You got to square a ball up to get it out of here. It's by no means the Grand Canyon, but you'll see where it finishes on homers per game and overall over the season. The other thing it's done that helps our ball club is it's shortened the gap dramatically from our road challenges, because we were a club that was dramatically challenged on the road versus playing at home early in our existence.
It's just provided us with a stability that basically now we just go out and play baseball. Execute the game.

Q. Are you allowed to put cigars in there?
CLINT HURDLE: I have my own humidor in the office for cigars.

Q. You've had a lot of fun with this over the days, you and Daniel O'Dowd have taken the high road. You might have noticed over the last couple of years there's a lot people in this town in the media that were down on you. Was there any point where you say, we're halfway to the World Series; I told you so. You've bitten your lip on that, but from the amount of criticism you've taken to where you've gotten, is it fair to say you guys are wrong? You won't say it, though?
CLINT HURDLE: No. I'm not going to say it. No. But what I've said is it's a time in society where I think intelligence and cynicism gets confused. That's all. (Laughter). That's where we are. And it's not just in sports. So it's not going to go away.
What I do is I just refuse -- I don't pay any attention to it. I don't read the paper. So I don't -- my feelings don't get hurt. It doesn't take me places I don't need to go. I read one paper. That's the U.S.A. Today. I don't read those columnists, and I watch CNN.
And I keep abreast of the news the way I'm comfortable with. And let everybody else do what they need to do. I'll continue to do what I need to do. My focus has always been on trying to help our ball club become better. I have a job to do and I have some accountability and responsibility along those lines. And I know what I'm in control of, and it's not the media, by any means. I cannot control what other people say, think or do. I learned that lesson way too late in life.
And once I learned it, my life has become much more comfortable.

Q. You've said many times your credo for the team is respect everything, be in awe of nothing. You take the 2-0 lead, you look to the Diamondbacks, what are the two or three things that you're still most warily respecting with them?
CLINT HURDLE: The man on the mound in Game 3. Battle tested. Gutsy, challenge your discipline. Can make pitches. You've got to show some discipline. You gotta get the ball up. When we have opportunities, we got to plate runs.
They still have an offensive team that can strike you at any given moment. Big swing guys. We've been able to keep them at bay so far. Our pitching has been very, very good. They're a good ball club. They didn't win 90 games by mistake. They've lost two games in a row, which, when you've got a team that's playing that's won 90, their chances of winning a game is better after losing to them. I tell my club or hitters, the longer you go without a hit the better chance you have to get one if you can hit. If you have a good club that can play, lose a few games, all depends on how you look at it. We're just looking to win Game 3. But they're going to provide challenges.

Q. What can you say about the atmosphere here in Denver? How can you use that to drive the team forward?
CLINT HURDLE: Well, I think it's just a hand-in-hand thing because it's picked up. It's been very energized the last weekend of the season, the game with the Phillies. Obviously we had a large number of people show up in Arizona. We'll have a huge contingent here for the three-game series.
It's been a rekindling. It's been a great energy for the downtown area. It's been great energy for the city. Our fans and our players have loved the support that our fans have given us here of late.
It's been just what we needed at a very critical time.

Q. I know one of the things people love about you is you're a big reader of fiction books. Has this journey in some way been stranger than fiction?
CLINT HURDLE: Well, you know, no. You believe in what you believe in. And faith is believing in things that you can't see. You can't touch. And we live in a society that wants to touch things and has to have tangible evidence of a lot of things to believe in.
That's understandable. But I think from a sporting mentality, there's certain things you just gotta believe in, man you just hold onto them you keep fighting the fight and you just keep showing up. You keep showing up in a positive fashion. And your players -- our players have been so good at that.
So is it surprising? I think once the volume of it is picked up it's been an incredible run. But all we've tried to do is put together a bunch of one-game winning streaks.

Q. I'm sure you're going to find this hard to believe, but Eric Byrnes was in here earlier and was a little outspoken. And he basically said that he thinks Arizona has outplayed your team in the two games that you guys have just been lucky. I'm sure you don't need bulletin board material at this point, but just I'm sure you think your guys have played better than just being lucky so far?
CLINT HURDLE: I can't control what other people say think or do, Tom. We just touched on that. Perception's a wonderful thing. Everybody's got one. So my perception is our club has done enough good things to win two games.

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