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September 30, 2011

Ryan Braun

Prince Fielder


Q. Ryan, Doug Melvin said, Ryan, that one of the best, maybe the best move, he didn't make during the off-season was trading Prince Fielder. Can you comment on what it has meant?
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, I definitely agree with that assessment. There's no question in my mind that we're not where we are today without Prince being in the lineup every single day. Without a doubt he's one of the best players in the game. He's one of our leaders and he plays every day. I think he sets the tone in the locker room, on the field, with the energy he brings every day. And obviously with the production he has on the field.
No doubt in my mind, we're not in the place we are today without Prince being in the lineup every day.

Q. A question about their Game 1 starter, Kennedy, how difficult he is to face. I know he pitched a good game against you in Arizona.
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, I mean, you know, Ian Kennedy has put up great numbers. At this point in the season numbers don't lie. When you've had that type of success, there's a reason for it.
He has above-average command of four pitches. He pitches in, he pitches out. He's able to locate. He gets ahead of hitters. He does a good job of controlling the running game. He's a good athlete. Seems like he's really pitched well for them down the stretch in big games. I'm sure it's going to be a challenge for us, but we have a pretty good starter, too. I'm pretty confident with our team.
PRINCE FIELDER: I think Brauny answered it perfect. Yeah.

Q. How much different does this feel from 2008, for you?
PRINCE FIELDER: Well, I think it feels a lot different, just because, No. 1, we won the Division, you know. In '08 I feel like it was -- I feel like in a way I don't think we had the mindset of -- I mean, obviously everybody wants to get to the playoffs. But I think this year it was more of an everyday, talked about it every day, starting in Spring Training. Every day was a new day to try to, you know, win that game instead of -- in a way I felt like we looked at the big picture a lot, really far ahead at times.
Now, obviously we had C.C. and he pretty much -- Brauny -- him and Brauny pretty much got us into the playoffs. And I think this year we have Brauny again, but we also have five starters, we don't have to run a guy out there every three days at 120 pitches. So it's a lot easier, you know, to do it that way than putting, you know, one or two guys.

Q. Knowing that tomorrow's Game 1 postseason playoffs, are there nerves, are there butterflies, how are you guys feeling?
RYAN BRAUN: I think for us as a team, more than anything we're excited. You work all year to get to this point. You put in your work starting the middle of February with one goal in mind, get to the playoffs. And I think now that we've accomplished the first part of that goal I think we're excited to get started.
We're confident. We're playing good baseball. We're extremely confident in where we're at as a team. But of course, there's always some nerves, there's always some jitters, and I think anytime you lose that feeling you do yourself an injustice because you should be excited. You should get butterflies. You should look forward to getting an opportunity to play meaningful games, and recognize that it's not something that happens every day. For all of us, we're definitely excited and just looking forward to getting started.

Q. Prince, your emotions, how do you feel?
PRINCE FIELDER: Same thing. We're excited. I'm going to try to be as tired as possible. Last time I got a little too amped up in '08, so I'm going to be as relaxed as possible.
Like Brauny said, it's very exciting. You want to try to keep it as normal as you can, as far as making the same routine as you would in the regular season. Try to be real cool. Try to be as cool as possible.

Q. What, for both of you guys, what do you think this would be like if you brought home a World Series championship?
RYAN BRAUN: I think it would be mass pandemonium. You see how excited people are for us getting in the postseason.
I think everybody recognizes the challenge in getting to the playoffs and in baseball in general. It's not an easy thing to do when you're a smaller mid-market team competing with teams that have significantly larger payrolls. I think everybody recognizes the challenge in that. The fans here are incredibly supportive, extremely passionate about baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers.
For us just getting to the postseason is a big deal to them. And I'm sure it would be beyond anything we could ever imagine if we were to win the World Series. It would be pretty cool.

Q. I'm going to press you just a little bit on the first question for Brauny. Last year I think you wondered seriously if you would be back. The way this season has gone for the team, yourself, the way the fans appreciate you. Could you just express what this year has been like for you here?
PRINCE FIELDER: It's been the best year in my career, for me. Just because -- No. 1, we're winning, which always helps. And I think because last year was so tough, that's why it makes this one a lot more special. You finally realize, you know, because last year we weren't winning from the start. You know what I mean? Years before I think our first halves would be decent and then by August we'd kind of be out of it. But at least you have the first half to have that excitement about winning, I think. Last year, you know, it was tough from, what, the second week on.
So this year, now that we're winning, we have great teams. It's just awesome. The kids are getting older. We had a, what, three All-Stars -- three starters, B wasn't it. But the fact that we're altogether, and just playing great baseball means a lot.

Q. How much did the team's success go back to the first game in the off-season?
RYAN BRAUN: We can't give Ron enough credit. He's been amazing. He's developed a great relationship with us. There's a lot of trust with us there. He's been a great communicator. And he's been very supportive. And I think those are all the things that you look for in a manager, that you hope for in competing every day.
It's a long season. You deal with a lot of failure, a lot of adversity, a lot of activity. There's a lot of things that come up through the season, you have somebody that remains even keel, and can support his players, communicate with us, and we trust him. He trusts us. It's been a great relationship and I think he deserves a lot of credit for us being where we're at.

Q. What were the main factors that allowed this team to keep winning when Rickie was out, and what impact does his return have on you and the whole dynamic of the team?
PRINCE FIELDER: I think the key thing was -- we had a lot of guys to fill in when he was gone. And we still had confidence that we can get it done. We knew he was going to be gone for a while. And it was a big part of our team. But we knew we could at least handle it, hold the fort down until he got back. And now that he's back, it's our full team now. We saw how great we were playing when he wasn't here. And now that he's back, it's just that much more awesome.

Q. Prince, this goes back to a World Series question. If this is indeed your last season here, what would this mean to have your team get to the World Series?
PRINCE FIELDER: It would be awesome. Yeah, you know, you always want to go out with a bang. It would be perfect for me. It would be probably the best year ever.

Q. People have asked you guys a lot about Ron and his influence. But what about the other coaches, what about that dynamic? You played a handful of coaches here.
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, I think all the coaches are really on the same page, not only with each other, but with us. I think they all complement each other well. A lot of different personalities, but a lot of guys who seem to really fit in well with the dynamic of our clubhouse.
You bring in Rick Kranitz, and he's a lot of fun for all the pitchers, everyone enjoys being around him. He's got a great personality. And then you keep guys like Dale Sveum, Eddie Sedar, Stan Kyles, guys who really helped us set the tone for who we are as a team. They helped create our identity. There's a lot of trust there. I think they've known a lot of us since we were young, since we were in the minor leagues.
So we have a combination of coaches who have known us for a long time and bring in some new coaches who have a different view or new opinions, and see different things, I think they all really complement each other well. And I think they've all combined to help us out as a team.

Q. Prince, any lingering hard feelings about the All-Star experience, the way you were treated by the Diamondback fans?
PRINCE FIELDER: No, the whole experience was too special to allow that to be the part I remember the most. They're supposed to boo me. If not, that means it wouldn't have meant that much to them. That just shows how much they support their team.

Q. You talked about being amped up in '08. How do you come back and manage that freak-out factor when you're in the box and your knees are wobbling, and how do you make sure your teammates aren't like that, either?
PRINCE FIELDER: I mean, I don't know. That's a good question. I don't know. I'm just going to try to -- for me it's just -- I don't know, it's just relaxing a little bit. And having the experience in '08 or whatever, that should help a little bit.
And then just realizing that it's not a -- it's not a one-game series, you know what I mean? So you're going to at least have three games. And just try to relax and play good baseball. It's still baseball in the end.
As far as the team, hopefully, I think we'll be all right as a team, I think. If anybody is excited, that's a good thing, especially if it's their first time. You've just got to let people do -- some people can do it hyped up and some people can't. But I can't do it the other way.

Q. Can you guys describe just in general terms the challenge you're facing in Arizona. If you look at the stats they're a very similar team.
RYAN BRAUN: There's a reason they won 95 games. They played great baseball all year long. I think they really embraced the team concept. Looks like they have a lot of fun.
We'll certainly pay attention to what they've done over the last week or ten days, when it was apparent that we were competing with them for the No. 2 seed and the home field advantage. And it looked like they won a lot of games it didn't look like they were going to win.
I think they've really embraced Kirk Gibson as a manager, embraced his personality and everything he brings to the table. They have plenty of good players over there. It's not like they don't have talent. Justin Upton was an MVP candidate all year. You look at the top of their rotation, Ian Kennedy is going to be in the Cy Young discussion.
So it's no doubt they have plenty of talent and I think they're playing great baseball. It's not easy.

Q. Is there a comfort factor playing in Arizona, you guys spend a couple of months there in Spring Training. And playing in the ballpark, it seems like it's a good hitting atmosphere.
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah. Yeah. I don't know, I wouldn't look that deep into it. It's a good hitting ballpark. But as far as us playing there in the spring. It's the playoffs. For me it's just -- it's different. You've just got to be ready to play, I guess. Brauny can hit you with the complete answer.
RYAN BRAUN: No, I mean we're not playing the games at Maryvale, so it's not like it's a home field advantage for us or anything.
I think it's nice the weather is still warm, we're going to play in decent weather, which you don't get in postseason too often. There's 20 teams that play Spring Training in Arizona -- 15. But obviously it is a good hitter's ballpark. But it's not just a good hitter's ballpark for us. They've had a ton of success there, too. We haven't played too many games there, we only go there once during the year.

Q. You mention the going out with a bang, and how much of a motivation is it for you to cap what could be your final year here to make it great for you?
PRINCE FIELDER: Not so much that, just because it's good -- it would be great for the city. I don't think we've been in the World Series since '82, right? Right. Yes. So to do something like that would be special. Not just for the city, the organization, and plus my teammates. I've been with these guys for my whole career. So I kind of grew up with everybody here. I just want to try to get a ring. And get me a ring to go with the MVP trophy.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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