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October 21, 1997

Jim Eisenreich


Q. Jim, are you concerned at all about DH-ing when you haven't been playing as much lately. Does that worry you going out there?

JIM EISENREICH: Actually not. I'm kind of excited to play. All I can really say is I'm prepared to do the best I can. I've never been concerned about hitting, that's kind of what I like to do. And whether or not I get four hits or no hits, I feel I'm prepared and I'll do the best I can.

Q. Back at home when you guys pinch-hit, they can take some cuts in the cage, do you have that luxury here at bat?

JIM EISENREICH: Probably not, the cages are kind of over by the Indians clubhouse, and I don't think there's access to it. But it's not really that big a deal. Today we're going to be in the cages for our BP, so it's not that big a deal. I feel better coming off the bench cold sometimes and not even swing the bat. I seem to be more patient and do a better job when I come off cold. Hopefully that's the case when I do it ^ toned, is pretty much look at his four pinch-hits as the DH, since I'm not playing the field. But I don't think it's that big a deal. I don't normally take swings in the cage, anyway. So it's really not that big a factor.

Q. Jim, do you guys do a lot of extra work now looking at film of Nagy, and what's been your previous experience with him?

JIM EISENREICH: We pretty much are doing the same thing we've done all year, and that's -- we have all the tapes of everybody we ever faced or are going to face available to us, and we look at them. And the thing is with Nagy, I haven't faced him really in five years, since I've been with the Royals in the American League. I think I had an at-bat against him in Spring Training, I take Spring Training like a grain of salt, it's not that big a deal to me. He's trying to get his work in and work on certain pitches, and I'm pretty much just trying to get ready for the season. I haven't faced him for five years, and I think I have seven at-bats and I can't remember what I've done in those. I think I had hits, I don't know if they're line drives or bloopers, it doesn't really matter. I watched the films, I know what he throws. Not that he's going to throw those when I'm expecting them. But I'm prepared to take what I can get.

Q. How do you handle being a DH, is the down time between bats difficult for you?

JIM EISENREICH: It's not that difficult. I am 38 years old, so down time is good once in a while (laughter.) And like I said before, my main job here is to hit. And that's what I like to do. That is my favorite part of the game. I've always liked hitting, and I guess that's why I've done pretty well. But the down time for me is staying loose. And both mentally and physically staying into the game. Physically I need to keep my legs loose, swing a couple of times in the tunnel or whatever I can do. It's really not that big a deal physically, other than keeping your legs loose and being able to run on a ball that you hit on the ground or something, and run the bases if you get hit. So the other part is mentally watching the game, staying in tune with the game, and know how he's throwing and getting guys out and what situations will dictate how high you push your bat. That's really the preparation. It's like you're playing, but you're sitting. So you have to -- you have to be prepared for each part of your at bat, whether it's an inning you're not batting, and just get prepared to when you do bat, so you know you can do a good job.

Q. Jim, first of all does this weather remind you of the '93 World Series. And second, how does the experience of getting back in the World Series compare feel?

JIM EISENREICH: First of all, if this is going to be like Game 4 where it was 15 to 14 we're in for a long night. It does compare a little bit, in that it's a little chilly and we got some rain, and some kind of bad weather, but it's just part of the way things go when you get to October. We've had rain all year in Florida, even though it's 90 degrees while it's raining, it's still rain, and it's something you have to deal with. And on your second question about comparing it back to the World Series, the experience is tremendous. This is almost better, because it's happening now. And it's what we play for. It's what we played for for a long time. As little kids growing up, you dream about being in the World Series and really you're not dealing with reality, because you don't think it's ever possible. That's how I was, anyway. And it's now real, two times. And that's pretty special for me. At the same time I'm not just glad to be here, which I am. I want to be here and win. I want to try to win this one. We lost the first one to Toronto in '93, and I'd like to win this one.

Q. Jim, did you sign with the Marlins because you thought this was going to be that kind of situation, and how much was it because they had the best offer on the table?

JIM EISENREICH: A combination of both, and added factor that they were the only offer (laughter.) To be honest with you, I played four years in Philly, I really love the Phillies, for as bad a team as we were the last couple of years in Philly, it was an enjoyable experience for me and I love the fans and the people we got to meet, just welcomed us into the community, it was a great experience. I would have loved to stay. I tried to stay, I just wanted a decent offer, and they were not willing to do that, which I don't have any hard feelings, because the experience in Florida has been tremendous. And the contract is tremendous. For 38 years old, I am doing pretty well. And at this stage in my career, not playing that much it's been great, and we get the added bonus of playing postseason which really attracted me. I think the main reason I gave the okay finally to sign with the Marlins was Jim Leyland, he was on the phone every day talking to Dave Dombrowski and he told me he wanted me on the team. He didn't know me. He's seen me play, what does he want me for? I'm an old guy playing part-time. It's gratifying playing for a guy like that, that is a true players manager, and he's been great all year. I think a lot of stress has been put on him, and he's taken a lot of stress for our team. He'll never take any credit for anything he does, but he deserves a lot of the credit for where we are today.

Q. Do you prefer the game with the DH or without and why?

JIM EISENREICH: Well, I kind of -- I'm kind of indifferent. I like in it one respect, and another respect I don't. For the way I like it, I am 38 years old and I like to hit. So saying that I would like to be able to prolong my career, and maybe to do that I need to be a DH. A part-time player it's kind of hard to get in the game. So I do like the DH in one respect. But I also like the National League for the game of baseball itself. It's more strategic, there's more things to do, you bunt, you sacrifice, you hit behind the runner, you do things to move the runners over. You play for one or two runs when you can. And it seems in the American League, you get a couple of guys on, you play for the three-run homer. The game of baseball is baseball, and I just like it for anything, and being able to play is really the joy that I get out of it. I guess if you're a traditionalist, you don't like the DH, because it's not true old-time baseball. Well, it's 90's and we have the DH, and I kind of like it the way it is. The American League has the DH, and the National League does not. I think you get the best of both worlds. In inter-League play have never seen the DH, and some that have seen the National League get to see both.

Q. Because you are 38 years old that might be one of the reasons that you've been around, that you were signed. Have you given any advice to any of the younger players?

JIM EISENREICH: I've tried, but kids nowadays are a little different (laughter.) And I don't know if they really heed my advice anyway, it's something that I try to explain to them what happens, why players stay around as long as they have, and the reason I have stayed around as long as I have. And I think that's their goal. But I think the one main reason they have to get in their heads is to be a team player and try to win games, and that means giving up a little bit of their ego sometimes, and I see a lot of young kids have a lot of ego, not that we old guys don't have egos, but sometimes we hide them more than the young kids do. Just the little things that need to be done to play a baseball game, to prepare yourself, not only on the field but in the clubhouse and off the field, too, there are things that you have to take into account that can affect the way you play. It's about the money. The money situation, I try to tell them that if you bide your time, give your time, pay your dues, you're going to get the money. It's just a fact of the game today. Don't worry about that. You've got to go out on the field and if you're thinking you're getting screwed by the umpire, if you show them that you think you're mad at him, he probably will screw you, and I don't blame him. But the umpires have a tough job to do, and if they think they're not getting enough playing time or something, you have to kind of suck it up a little bit and do the best you can, when you're in there. If you just be patient I think things will work out for the best, and I just try to use myself as an example. I think I've been very patient and have taken the good times with the bad times. And that's going to happen. There's a lot of bad times. I guess I use the expression sometimes that I've gotten over a thousand hits in my career, I've also made over 2,500 outs. And so there's a lot of what you call failures, but they're not really failures, you try to learn from them and take the good from the bad. Look at Pete Rose, four thousand hits, how many outs did he make? He made about 12,000 outs. And that's just something to think about. It's different. It's part of the game. You've got to deal with both.

Q. Aside from who the cold weather favors, it might not favor anybody, is it bad for baseball that the World Series is being played in 35-degree weather, because it doesn't allow the players to perform up to their abilities?

JIM EISENREICH: I don't think so. Baseball grew up in this country in the north with New York and Boston and Cleveland and Cincinnati, and where else can I go across, Chicago? We grew up in the cold weather, and because of the way it's marketed today we play more games. And plus we've added another tier of playoffs. People want to watch baseball and you could go back to April, April has just as cold weather. Cold weather is just the way it is. There's some places if everybody is going to have a dome, you don't have to worry about it, but who wants to watch all your games in a dome. Not many people do. Minnesota is trying to get a new stadium, so they can get the people back outside where they like to be. That's real baseball to me. I like domes, but I don't want every stadium to be a dome. This stadium is beautiful, whether we play in 80 degrees or 40 degrees. It's baseball. And for your ability to perform, it might make your muscles a little tight once in a while. This is the World Series, I don't think it matters what kind of temperature is out there, you should be able to be warm enough to get up to a World Series game.

Q. Jim, considering some of the ups-and-downs you had early in your career, could you ever imagine you'd still be playing at 38 and how special is it that you are?

JIM EISENREICH: Well, it's just something that is part of life, actually, and I learned to deal with that a long time ago. Being 38 I never thought I'd be here. I guess when I signed my first professional contract after being drafted I thought I'll play until I'm 30, I'm a guy that really doesn't like to travel too much and likes to be at home. I have a beautiful wife and two young children and we're expecting our third in December, and to me that's what it's about. And I play this because not only -- for two reasons, really, one because I like it, I love to play and I've done that since I was 2 years old. And secondly because it's my job. And I'm making a good living at it. So it is pretty amazing that I am still playing, but at the same time I think I can play a lot longer. I think I'm in good shape. I don't know if I can still hit, but I think I can. Whether I do or not is another question. But I really think I can do an adequate job. And if someone is going to give me a uniform I'm still going to play.

End of FastScripts....

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