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October 12, 2009

Charlie Manuel


Philadelphia – 5
Colorado - 4

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Charlie.

Q. What do you make out of the series? It's kind of hard to put what happened today into words. But just general impressions of this?
CHARLIE MANUEL: If you watched these games, some of the best baseball that I've been around in quite a while.
I want to compliment the Rockies on their season. And also they keep playing and the fact that they stayed with us the whole time and how they battled us and everything, I thought it was a great series. I thought it was very close, and we did it at the end when we had to.
When they took the lead tonight in the final game, that showed me something, but then we mustered up enough, like we're resilient.
I'll tell you something, our guys like to play. I can't say enough about how they go about it. In fact, they like to play more than it looks sometimes.
We were able to come back and get them. But hats off to them because they had a great season, and I'm sure that they're going to be back here in years to come because they've got a good club and they're young.

Q. Do you think last year the playoff experience helped you guys in some of these big moments? There were a lot of big moments in this series. Most recently Ryan Howard's double. Did you think a year ago today you would have come through as many big moments, or did the experience from last year help you guys?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I think three years ago that I sit over in that office and Colorado swept us, and I think we've come a long ways since then as far as like getting experience and playing in the big moment. And I think it definitely -- last year's experience helped our guys. But I think it goes back to all three years.
I think the fact that they did beat us three years ago, like three straight, I think that kind of told us that we weren't quite ready, and that we had to improve mentally and physically.
We used to talk about this. And I used to have meetings -- my first meeting I have in spring training, we used to talk about it and it used to get a little hot. I'd tell guys -- I'd call guys out and tell them that they couldn't be scared. I've even talked to you guys sometimes about being scared. And like when you get in the moment and everything, if you're scared, we're not going to win.
And it took us a little while to get over that. But we changed some personnel and everything and we improved our team as we went along. And we like to play and we get it done. In good games, we'll stay right there and when we get down, like when we get our feet knocked out from under us, we'll get up. We'll come back.
That's the even keel that we talk about, and that's the excellence over success. If you strive to be the best and the elite, success will be there. And that's one thing I can say about our club.

Q. There's so much pressure at this time of year, especially if you're trying to close out the game. How during the season and right now into the post-season have you kept Brad Lidge as confident as he is despite all the troubles that he ran into this year?
CHARLIE MANUEL: Actually, about the last three times he's been out there I think it's been good for him. And also sometime when you have a decent outing or a good outing and then you take a break and we don't have to use him for a while, I think that's been good for him.
That gives him time to sit there and think. I told him last night and I've told him before, he is his best coach. I used to tell my hitters that all the time: You're your best hitting instructor. You've got to learn yourself and know thyself and you have to study everything about yourself and also how you pitch and what you've got and how you get people out.
Like when I look at him sometimes in the last couple of nights, he's been very -- he's been more relaxed and he's been -- I think it's just a matter of time until he gets his confidence back. His stuff is still there. He's been a tremendous pitcher, and, believe me, he'll still be as good as he ever was.

Q. Was there a time when you sort of said maybe it's run its course, though? How did you as a manager sort of stick with him through thick and thin?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I've always stuck with him. Actually, I started answering -- I think when he blew his first save, I think I started answering the question who is your closer, closer, closer, I kept saying Lidge, Lidge, Lidge. And finally one night in Washington and I was sitting there and it hit me we weren't going to win the game. And I thought he's not going to do it.
I had to do something and I went and took him out. We ended up winning that game. But it was hard for me to do that, because I am a loyal person. But at the same time when I started thinking about it -- and I think I'm a manager today because that I don't let my heart overweigh the importance of the game.
Like I said, when I talk to my team or something, every time I talk to them, I tell them the most important thing, our first priority is to win the game. And I never let that -- my heart overrule that. And I think there comes a time where I had to give him a break and had to kind of set him. But at the same time it wasn't because I wanted to.
But I never once ever gave up on him, because I've always known that he could always get back to where he was at.

Q. This team seems pretty loose, pretty loose bunch. I know winning last night's game was a big deal, gives you a 2-1 lead. But how loose is this team? Maybe where does this team rank among teams in terms of being an even-keel team and being loose and confident?
CHARLIE MANUEL: I brag on our club all the time, but at the same time I feel good about it because I have other people tell me about our team. And I would like to see us like -- I think people got involved in this about three years ago, our fans, they started -- our fan base started improving and also nationally people started talking to me about our team and they would tell me about how we play, they like the way we play, how we hustle and how we play the game. And they like the talent that we had, of course.
And I look at them sometimes and I've said this over the last two or three years: Without a doubt all my years in baseball, the best attitude, the best chemistry I've ever seen on a team that I've ever been on, I've said that over and over again, I give all the credit to our guys because who they are and how they love to play and how they look at the game, I think it makes it my job and my coaching staff much easier.
I give those guys all the credit. We are loose. And I think if you ask me why we're loose, it's because of who we have on our team.

End of FastScripts

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