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 18, 2007

Eric Wedge


Q. Is the mood of your club any different today than it would be any other day?
ERIC WEDGE: No, it's the same. Same approach today as we've had here the entire postseason, so nothing changes today.

Q. Paul Byrd yesterday described you, I think he emptied his movie metaphor book and compared you to Braveheart, and he talked about your leadership ability. I'm curious as to what goes through your head when you hear guys say those things about you in terms of being a great leader? And do you consider yourself a great leader?
ERIC WEDGE: I've said it so many times, it is all about the player. Any time you can gain a player's respect, it means the world to me, being a coach, manager or any type of position to where you're in front of baseball players. When you talk about being a manager of a Major League baseball team, I've got a great deal of respect for the job of being a Major League manager and what goes along with that, right along with coaches and everybody that gets in front of players throughout the organization.
Any time a player responds to that positively, you know, is complimentary with what they have to say, obviously it means a great deal to me.

Q. Do you think of yourself as a great leader?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, it's not for me to say. It's not something I think about. It's my job to give these guys direction when they need it, to make sure that they go out there prepared, and ready to play each and every day, and respect the game, and know what it means to be a good teammate and do that on a consistent basis, and then we'll let the results take care of themselves.

Q. What did you say to Jhonny Peralta at the end of last season about taking baseball seriously? And number two, how has it come to fruition now?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, Jhonny has always taken the game seriously. I think what Jhonny went through last year was just a full force in regard to adjustments that the league was making to him and what he needed to do to respond to that. People talk about what he did in the off-season, you're exactly right, it started during last season.
Conversations that we had, that other coaches and Jhonny had, that I'm sure Jhonny had with himself, it was a gut check for him. Ultimately he did what he needed to do. That last seven to ten days last year for him, that's the way he needs to play and that's what he needs to do throughout the course of his day with his routine, mentally, fundamentally, physically and even emotionally to a certain extent.
Now, he did a fantastic job with, one, he was able to look me in the eye, look himself in the eye and stand up to it. And two, he was able to take it all the way through the off-season, carry it into spring training and now he's carried it throughout the season, and as you see, he's had a great postseason for us, too.

Q. You spoke at the start of the playoffs about the number of players who didn't have postseason experience. How do you think your guys have handled it? And have you been surprised by how it's gone?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, I think they've done a great job, and the reason I say that is because they've handled each day as its own. They haven't gotten ahead of themselves. They know that for them to be at their best, whether it be us as a ballclub or each individual, that they just have to work off themselves because that's the only thing they can control.
There's always going to be a lot of external distractions, if you will, and the last thing you want to do is create more for yourself. Our guys do a good job of leaning on each other. It's their clubhouse, it's their team. They do a good job of taking care of each other in there and keeping an eye on each other, and I think that's helped them. I think it's come back to each and every one of them.

Q. Did bringing in like Lofton and Gomez help at all?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, it started in the off-season. Mark really bought into the fact that we needed to bring some veteran players in here with some experience, and they did a great job with that. And then Lofton and Gomez on top of that, mid-season, you're just adding to that piece. All those guys have done a good job, a great job. Nixon has been really the leader for us, but with Kenny coming over, you know, with all of his postseason experiences, and then I can keep touching upon them all, Borowski, Fultz and Gomez since he's been over here.
So there have been a number of people that have really shown by example or a conversation here or a look there or just an action that I think has helped our core players in particular who have become leaders in their own right but also young kids.

Q. Once Peralta started having success again this year, did you sense a different maturity in him, the way he was able to handle it and sustain it, especially coming into the postseason now?
ERIC WEDGE: The maturity is something that counts with young ballplayers. It's tough to force-feed that sometimes. The game will put your back against the wall and you really have to dig out, and I think he's had to do that. But like I told him, even though you didn't have maybe the year you wanted to have last year, you're still a very respectable year. But I knew he was capable of being better than that and we knew it. As difficult as some of the conversations were that we had, he always knew that we wanted him to be the best baseball player he could be, for himself and to help our team win. And he's done a good job with that. Now I think you see a guy that's a lot tougher, as well.

Q. Understanding you have other things on your plate today, but as a Major League manager, what was your reaction to Joe Torre's situation?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, I just got it not too long ago myself. I said in New York, I think Joe Torre is one of the greatest managers of all time. I've got a great deal of respect for him as a human being as well as a baseball man, and with what he's accomplished, I think that he should manage as long as he wants to manage. I know there's a business side of it, but from what I understand, for him to look at that and say no, good for him.
You know what, he's earned and deserves to do whatever the hell he wants to do.

Q. Just to follow up on a question about Peralta: When he underwent his off-season surgery, do you see the immediate improvement at the plate from him?
ERIC WEDGE: You know, I get that question a lot. I really don't know how to answer that because there are so many other things he's done and he's worked on. I'm as proud of him as anybody because he caught a lot of flak last year, and I think that for him to go after his game in different areas like he did, I think that's the greatest difference maker.
But I am smart enough to say that if you can see the ball a little bit better, it's probably going to help you. So I'm sure that's at least a small part of it.

Q. Could you just talk a little bit about Rafi Betancourt and what he's meant during the postseason, and knowing that you can depend on him, you know he's going to be there for you?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, he's been as consistent as any setup guy that I've ever seen at this level, if you talk about from day one all the way through the regular season and now on into the postseason.
Bullpen still starts with a closer, and that's where Borowski comes into play. You put those two guys together and you've got a pretty strong back end. And then obviously what Perez and Lewis have done here as of late has been equally as important to us.
Betancourt has been here for actually longer than any bullpen guy I've had. He came up about mid season of '03, which was my first year, and he's been in about every role that you could be in in the bullpen, and I think that helps him, as well.

Q. Yesterday just before the workout you guys gathered on the left field and Trot was at the center of it, and he seemed to take the podium and speak like a motivational speaker to your guys. Is that what you want, Trot to do that?
ERIC WEDGE: You know, yesterday was nothing out of the ordinary. I mean, Trot has been -- he's taken on a leadership role here from day one. You know, we knew with bringing in Nixon and Dellucci and like we talked about, Borowski, Fultz, that we were going to have an element in the clubhouse that we really hadn't had before because most of our core guys had no playoff experience.
Trot has handled things the way a leader should handle things over the course of this year, and other people have grown right along with him, talking about our core guys as well as some of the other veteran guys.

Q. Do you know what he spoke to the guys about?
ERIC WEDGE: No, that's them. It's their team. They monitor each other. They take care of it.
I remember talking about it in '03. We probably set a record for meetings in '03 (laughter), and I anticipated that. But each year should be less and less, because the less I do, the more they do. And this year has probably been the exact opposite of '03 in that regard. And that's a credit to all those players in that locker room.

Q. What have the last 24 hours been like for you?
ERIC WEDGE: Try to spend as much time as I can with my family. We worked out last night, wake up today, it's a normal day. Come to the ballpark. I'm just looking forward to the ballgame. I say it so many times, I really like watching these guys play. I love the way they compete, and I just don't want to get caught up in results. Just go out there and play and trust that the rest will take care of itself.

Q. Just a quick follow-up on that: Is it very difficult when you wake up this morning not to get caught up in that, with the two number ones and what tonight's potential has?
ERIC WEDGE: I just don't allow myself to even start down that road. I just don't. Any time you start down a road and you get going, it's a hell of a lot easier to keep going. I don't even allow myself to enter that zone. I've got a routine that I have, and there are certain things that I do throughout the course of the day, and things that are beyond me, there's no sense thinking about it. It's about these players.

Q. Did the day off help or hurt you guys do you think? And would you like to see that day off continue in future LCS?
ERIC WEDGE: I would. I think the way it's played out days off-wise has been good for us. Our guys are far enough along now where they know what they need to do or what they don't need to do to get the most out of those days. So I think it's been real good for us as a ballclub.
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