home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 16, 2007

Eric Wedge


Q. Paul Byrd yesterday spoke about how much he appreciated your loyalty to him. How important is that quality for you as a manager and how do you develop that kind of faith with your players?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, I've got a tremendous amount of confidence in Paul Byrd and all of our players. I think it starts right there. I think that as a manager you've got to be consistent, you've got to be firm, you've got to be fair. The players need to understand what's expected of them every day, and they need to have a pretty good idea what to expect from me.
There's going to be points in time over the course of the season where you're going to have to make some tough decisions, but Paul Byrd has been tremendous for us all year long and is one of the big reasons we're here.

Q. Following that up, Casey Blake was saying in his first year with Cleveland he was struggling out of the gate and you pulled him aside. Do you remember that conversation? He says that that really turned his career around.
ERIC WEDGE: Yeah, I mean, I remember it to a certain extent. When you have a young player at that point in time that had spent a considerable amount of time in the minor leagues, even though he wasn't 23, he was still a young player experience-wise at the big league level. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is to get him as comfortable up here as they are in Triple-A, or to get them as comfortable as they can be in Triple-A as they were in Double-A, so they can go out there and perform.
Casey needed to get over that hump, and once he did that, he's been a very consistent player for us. And he's a strong Major League player that is a big part of our team, and he's been here from day one.

Q. Is he one of those guys that you look at and say he really paid his dues?
ERIC WEDGE: Yeah, he most definitely is. We've got a lot of guys like that. He's a guy that was given an opportunity and took advantage of it.
Sometimes it doesn't happen right away. It takes some time to get there. But he has a tremendous amount of ability, and he's one of our core guys.

Q. Borowski talked a little bit ago about hitting rock bottom when he had to go pitch in the Mexican leagues. How much is an intangible like hunger, how much does that play into a role he plays on this team?
ERIC WEDGE: He's not going to let anyone keep him down. That's just his personality. Probably one of the toughest, if not the toughest, relief pitcher that I've ever been around. He has a grit and a determination within him that allows him to separate himself from others at the highest level of baseball.
You know, it's not always rosey along the way. You're going to have some peaks and valleys, and you're going to have some tough days. Some of it is we're tougher than maybe a lot of other guys that have played at the Major League level, but that's also a big part of who he is.

Q. You talked about pulling Casey Blake aside that time, but sometimes guys just need to be left alone. How do you develop your parameters, when you need to talk to them and when you need to just let them be?
ERIC WEDGE: That's a good question. It's a lot harder to keep your mouth shut sometimes than it is to say something. It's more so about timing. Sometimes less is more. With our ballclub right now, it's all about them, like it always is. But they're the ones that are monitoring each other, they're the ones that are taking care of each other, and obviously they're the ones that are going out there and doing it.
So this is something that's developed over time, over the last four or five years, and a big part of what we're seeing happening this year is just in regard to how they handle themselves and how they take care of each other.

Q. I know this would be rewarding were you doing it anywhere, but how rewarding is it for a Midwestern kid to be doing this relatively close to home and that sort of thing?
ERIC WEDGE: Yeah, I'm in a unique situation; I was born three and a half hours west and my wife was born three and a half hours east, so we're in a prime spot family-wise.
I can really relate to the people of Cleveland. I'm excited that we've taken it this far. But again, we still have a lot of work to do. The only thing I can think about right now is tonight.

Q. Can you talk about the adjustment your hitters will make coming from Tim Wakefield to facing Beckett?
ERIC WEDGE: Yeah, we don't really know what to expect with Wake. I mean, I know he's a great competitor, he's had a great career, and that knuckleball can give you fits at times. We're going to work off of him. We're going to see where he's at early on and see how our guys respond to that and go from there. Obviously it's a big difference from what we saw last night.

Q. Baseball is a really, really long season. Being involved in an intense series like this, with an off-day tomorrow, do you do anything to set aside time to make sure you get away and kind of decompress a little bit?
ERIC WEDGE: (Laughing) Well, I try to do that every day, even if it's just for a few moments. It could be the drive home. It's just something you have to do. You've got to try to get away from time to time, and hopefully the players do that, too.
Physically these guys do a great job of taking care of themselves, and mentally they do, too, but the mental grind can sometimes be even more taxing. Our guys have done a great job of that. I think they've done a good job of taking advantage of their off-days mentally and physically.

Q. Is tomorrow an off-day for you?
ERIC WEDGE: No, I don't think there will be any off-days until it's all said and done. I think I wouldn't want it any other way.

Q. The question I want to ask is not necessarily looking ahead but just kind of in general, as a fan of this game and as a manager: Can you talk a little bit about just what the Colorado Rockies have been able to do and just that longevity of that streak and how hard that is this time of year?
ERIC WEDGE: (Laughing) Well, I can't understand it. I don't think it's ever happened before, to my knowledge anyway, to have that type of streak late in the season and take it into the playoffs. It's almost freakish. But it's baseball, and if you respect the game, anything is possible.
The game continues to amaze people, and you continue to see things in the field that you've never seen before, and that's why I think it's the greatest game in the world. What Colorado is doing, congratulations to them, by the way, and what they're doing, it's a tremendous accomplishment.

Q. Normally you don't face a pitcher twice within a week, but you're going to see Josh Beckett for the second time. What type of adjustments will your hitters have to make against him?
ERIC WEDGE: We'll have to make some adjustments. He did a good job against us. I felt like there were certain things we could have done, I'm not going to talk about them today, but we could have done a better job with him. Having seen him a little more recently, hopefully it'll help us a little bit. But the flipside is he's also had a pretty good look at us.
I think the adjustment part probably is more so on our side just because he pitched so well against us.

Q. I'm just wondering if you have any theories, why do you think Joe Borowski doesn't seem to get as much respect from fans? After 45 saves is Cleveland gun shy about pitchers like that?
ERIC WEDGE: I think Joe gets more respect than people realize. I mean, he's the best closer in the American League this year, and because obviously it's about one thing, and that's saves and getting the job done. I've said it so many times, it's black and white, there's no gray area there. And the competitor that he is and the confidence that we have in him and what he means to our bullpen, he's as viable to us as any other area of our team.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297