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July 14, 2009

Carl Crawford

Joe Maddon


Q. Talk about Curtis and his triple. How did it change the game?
JOE MADDON: I congratulate him on the fact that he went for three bases. A lot of times, a ball will be hit like that and a hitter automatically assumes a double. Did he not assume a double, he assumed three right there which puts an entirely different attitude on the other side in regard to what they can do.
That was huge for me that he even thought of it. He thought of it and he did it and that was a big play. And the fact that he did not settle for a double. From a baseball perspective, we try to teach that to our guys all the time and I thought that was fabulous.

Q. What does it do? Obviously, these guys are all stars but when you have Papelbon, Nathan, Rivera the last three innings, what does that do for your confidence?
JOE MADDON: When you write it up before it begins, you know that's nice when you look at those three names and know what they are capable of doing. I was just hoping we could grab the lead after six, and it sets it up for these three guys after the last three innings.
So any manager would want the opportunity to write those three names in a row like that, and they are all outstanding. Big pitch by Joe to break the ball in the dirt and great block by Victor, also.
There are a whole bunch of little things that occur in the tightly-contested game. The pitching was outstanding, and early on we made some mistakes and they had made some mistakes and overall a well-played game and well-pitched game and those last three relievers did a great job.

Q. Talk about C.C. and what he did tonight.
JOE MADDON: Well, you know, I was talking on the way over here, I don't know that I've ever seen Carl go over the wall. I heard it was over the wall. That's what I'm getting. I've never seen him do that. The way he got to the position on the ball was great, and the catch, obviously, was fantastic.
I've been talking to everybody all year about this. Carl, he has become a better baseball player since I first met him in 2006. He's a better defender, a better thrower, a better baserunner, a better base stealer, and it's all because of his work. I'm not saying it's our fault he's better; it's because of him. His work ethic is that good.
And when I first met him in 2006 he came into my office and said something to me about the fact that he wanted to become a better baseball player, and he knew he had some shortcomings; and to his credit, he's really developed in a lot of different areas.

Q. Obviously, the AL had such a long streak. Is there any relief that you were not the manager when that streak would have come to an end possibly?
JOE MADDON: I didn't even know that in the beginning that it was that long.
But I mean, of course, I would prefer being a start of the streak, as opposed to the other way around. You know, it is so important to get home-field advantage in the World Series. We were just there last year, we did not take advantage of it. But first and the seventh game possibly is really important, and for us, the Rays playing in Tropicana Field, it's very important.
So there was a lot on the line there today. It is a very condensed two days. You look at the playoff situation and going to the World Series, you have days to spread all of this angst out.
But you have all of this stuff working over the course of two days and it's really condensed and concentrated and it's good for the baseball soul. So it's really an interesting experience and something that I'll never forget, and yes, I prefer being on the winning side.

Q. Can you just talk about the experience, because of your affection for this town and managing?
JOE MADDON: Yes, I was a Cardinal fan growing up from 1963 at nine years old and I followed it closely and I got to meet Mr. Gibson and Lou Brock, and Red Schoendienst. I've had conversations with him and Ozzie Smith, and of course I got to meet Stan last year and all of the Cardinal greats, Mr. Ricky. I'm a big fan of Mr. Ricky and what he did for the game of baseball.
For me to get back here as a manager under these circumstances, I've been here as a manager last year with the Rays, and in an All-Star situation, really it's a bastion of baseball and this town embraces the game in a way that's different from a lot of other areas, because they are just good baseball games. The Cardinal fans appreciate a good game.
So to come back in those circumstances in where I come from and how I felt vehemently as a Cardinal fan as a kid, it's special to come back in an All-Star Game and do it and win it.

Q. To go back to the bullpen, you mentioned Howard against Nathan, were you close, was it a consideration to go to a lefty against Howard there? Was matching up not an option?
JOE MADDON: During the season I would match up. But these stallions in the bullpen, it's not necessary to match up. It was their inning. My concern there with -- (turning to Carl Crawford, entering the room). Congratulations, Buddy.
JOE MADDON: There's no concern about matching up with those three guys in the bullpen. It's just their inning.
My only concern would be that they would throw too many pitches in an inning and that's why I had Ryan up in the bullpen. Mr. Nathan has done a nice job of getting out both right ties and lefties in a long time.

Q. Can you describe the catch for us there?
CARL CRAWFORD: He hit it pretty good off the bat. He hit it pretty good off the bat, and I didn't think it was going to carry that far. But it carried and just tried to find the wall and was able to jump up and make a play on it.

Q. You were over the wall?
CARL CRAWFORD: Yeah, I was over the wall. It would have been a home run.

Q. Feels pretty good?
CARL CRAWFORD: Feels good. Feels great to help the team win.

Q. Joe said that he had never seen you bring back a home run like you did tonight. Where does that stack in your plays that you've ever had in your career?
CARL CRAWFORD: It's got to be the top play. I don't think I've ever robbed a home run before, so I picked a good time to do it tonight. It's definitely probably my best catch I've ever made.

Q. How familiar are with you that fence? Have you played much out there at all? Did you have a good feel for where you were and what the fence was going to give and you possibly take away from you?
CARL CRAWFORD: I played there last year but the ball was so high in the air, it gave me time to get back to the wall. It was just one of those things where when the ball is so high in the air, you just try to get to the fence and do what you can from there.

Q. Can you just talk about the MVP honor, as a third-time All-Star?
CARL CRAWFORD: It feels great. They totally got me off-guard today. I didn't think I was going to win it. This being my third time coming here, it definitely feels good to win the MVP Award.
You know, I'm just so happy, I don't really know what to say. I just hope I can come back many times and try to win it again.

Q. Could you sense that your catch was kind of a momentum changer?
CARL CRAWFORD: Well, I knew the game was close, so you know, everything -- we needed every out and every run we needed.
So I didn't know how things was going to play out at the end. But I knew it was probably going to be important at some point that run didn't score.

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