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October 20, 2007

Eric Wedge


Q. Can you just talk about your decision to put Trot Nixon in the starting lineup.
ERIC WEDGE: Well, Trot has obviously played so many games here in right field, big games, in the postseason. To get that experience in the lineup, another left-handed bat, a guy that's been a leader on our team all year long, I felt like it was the right thing to do today.

Q. Can you just continue to talk about his kind of veteran presence and whatnot. That's been played up through this series. For a guy that hasn't been here that long, does it surprise you he's been such a leader?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, I knew a great deal about Trot prior to him coming over to us, just from some of our interaction when he was a younger player and I was over here, and also just from knowing some of the guys over here, and how he had grown into the leadership personality that he has along with his presence.
You know, we felt that immediately. In spring training early on in season, he's boisterous, he's not afraid to say what he thinks, he's important to us as a ballclub because I think he's been a mentor, and in some ways to some of our core players who are developing into leaders themselves.
The experience that he has, you know, he's done everything in his career, you know, been through so much. That's really helped us. Along with some of the other guys we have here, veteran guys who we have here, but I think Trot has probably been more out front than anybody.

Q. He's talked a lot about making this a clubhouse where you can't wait to get to. Was he a key piece in sort of adding that piece of the puzzle, maybe not for every day, on the field 162 games a year, but just what he brings to the clubhouse, intangibles?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, we've always had a group here that have been fired up and ready to play. You always want to be excited to come to the ballpark on August 1st as they are on opening day. If you can do that, then I think you've accomplished something. Our guys feel that way. It's more about our core guys.
I think what Trot has done is just some of the other things that go along with being a leader. I keep coming back to being boisterous or saying things when things need to be said or doing things when things need to be done and having a strong enough personality to do it.
Leadership is not about people liking you; leadership is about doing what needs to be done to help a certain individual or your team be the best they can be or learn something to where they can be better tomorrow. I think Trot understands that.

Q. I guess the tenth man on the Sox would be their home crowd here. How does that factor into the way your players play, how much do they hear, how much to they react? And does it factor into the game?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, we really work hard to -- regardless of who we play or where we play, to play the same way. We really work hard not to play up or play down, to stay even keel, to stay focused on ourselves, come out here and be disciplined enough to have a plan, stick with it and just play all the way through. And our guys have always done that.

Q. As you watch Fausto tonight, what will be the key for you to determine whether he's okay, he's on?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, rhythm, tempo. I want him to be on the plate and be aggressive, use both sides of the plate, put himself in a position to where he can be aggressive and stay aggressive, and hopefully we'll see the ball on the ground tonight.

Q. When you get to this stage of the season with such little margin for error in a short series, does your managerial style in terms of decision-making change at all?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, I think maybe you can maybe do things a little bit earlier in the game than you would in the regular season. I think maybe at other times you'll be a little bit more aggressive or maybe take more risks than maybe you would during the regular season.
But the approach and whatever, quote-unquote, style, we pretty much stay the same because I want the players to come to the ballpark no differently now than they have all year. Everybody knows it's the postseason, everybody knows what's on the line. It's not something that needs to be talked about; it's a given. What the focus needs to be is on what we need to do and what every individual in there needs to do to help us win this ballgame tonight, and that's where we are.

Q. Given the quirkiness of this ballpark, do you think the Red Sox enjoy a bigger home-field advantage than most with fans right on top of them? Does the wall make you a little bit edgier?
ERIC WEDGE: No, every ballpark has its nuances. Obviously there's a lot of tradition here, but our kids have really done a good job of getting beyond that. You need to learn each and every ballpark for the angles and exactly what it's all about and how to play the game. But you really have to work hard to separate from that. Everybody wants to play at home. I mean, nobody is going to say, yeah, we'd rather play on the road. Everybody wants to play at home. But the ability to play on the road like you do at home, and I think we can do that and have proven that we can do that, I think that's something that's important.

Q. Are you as calm and collected as you actually seem to be (laughter)?
ERIC WEDGE: (Laughing) Yeah, I really believe in being even keel. I know I keep saying that word, but I get as excited as the next guy, most of which -- what you see from me is somebody that really believes in his players and has a great deal of confidence in his players, and I love the way we play the game, and I trust that. I don't question that. I trust that, I count on that, and because of that I come to the ballpark and I watch them play. I get involved when I need to, otherwise I stay the hell out of the way. And because these guys have come so far and they understand what they need to do to be successful.
I have my moments like everybody else; just it's usually inside.

Q. Not to put you on the spot, but you guys flew in yesterday because you didn't come to the ballpark prepared to lose, like you said, Game 5. Did you come to the park today with luggage packed?
ERIC WEDGE: (Laughing) No. We're flying out tomorrow. We came to the ballpark today focused on the Boston Red Sox, and what we need to do to play well, to give ourselves a chance to ultimately win the ballgame. We're going to work hard to come out here today and slow things down and just focus on that.

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