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MLB WORLD SERIES: RANGERS v CARDINALS


October 28, 2011


Chris Carpenter

Albert Pujols


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: Game Seven

Texas Rangers 2
St. Louis Cardinals 6


Q. When you throw a bunch of guys into the mix that have never played on the same team so late, you never know what's going to happen. Talk about how the team gelled.
ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, you pretty much brought guys here in the trade, guys that knew how to play the game. You know, with experience and like Dotel being in the postseason, just guys that are winners. They mixed pretty well right away into our ballclub, and that's why we're here. Some of those guys that we've got in the middle of the season were able to help us out to accomplish what we want, and that's to be a World Champion.

Q. When you're on the podium there celebrating with your teammates and the crowd is going berserk, is it hard to imagine playing in any other city for any other team?
ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't think that's a question right now that you should ask. Right now it's just enjoying the moment, man, and just -- you know, sitting at first base with three outs left and just thinking about through all the things that we went through this year as a group, just how special this group of guys that we have are. You know, and to be able to do that and just bring another championship title to the city of St. Louis, it's just amazing.

Q. We know that during the season you liked to just talk on what your life is as a ballplayer, your focus on playing the game. It's over now. You've won the championship. Congratulations. Can you talk a bit from the heart now what this means to you, how important this is to you to win this championship, your second?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Every time I talk, I talk from my heart, so I don't really have to -- I don't have two faces. Whatever I tell you is how I feel, whether you want to believe it or not.
You know, I keep saying, all year long, you know, it's really special, man, to be around a great group of guys like this and I just thank God to give me the opportunity every day, to live another day where I can wear this uniform and just the special career that He has given me so far. Just being here on the highest stage. Out of eight teams, somebody was going to have to be a champion this year. I'm just asking God every day to let it be us and let us have the opportunity. If it was meant to be our team, that we were going to win and going to try to do our best. It's pretty special, man.
To compare it with 2006, it's the same feeling pretty much, because this is what you play for. It doesn't matter the numbers, it doesn't matter the records, it doesn't matter the money that you make; what matters is to raise that trophy and to be able to bring that smile to the city of St. Louis, and not just the city of St. Louis but all our fans around the world.

Q. You seem to rejoice in the success of your teammates as much as anybody does, and you've been obviously around to see the trials and tribulations of David Freese. What has it meant to you as probably a mentor of him to see the success of him and walk away with the trophy? Everybody assumes it's probably going to go to you or Holliday or Berkman.
ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, that's the main thing. I said earlier, I don't have a word yet how to describe David Freese. When we first got him, just a humble guy, I liked him right away as soon as we got him in the trade. To be able to go through the things that he has gone in his career and just to show who David Freese is on this stage. We all knew what kind of player he was just because of the injuries, sometimes it's tough to perform at this level. I just thank God that he allowed me to be a part -- a great player that showed pretty much everybody how he played the game, and when he's healthy. I just thank him.
Pretty much the same way Mike Matheny, Fernando ViƱa, Edgar Renteria, those veteran guys took me, they took me under their wing. And Darryl Kile, they taught me how to play the game and how to care about guys and not just care about the game. Care about the person, and that's -- we've done some things through our young guys that you guys don't get to see it. You sometimes catch a lot of stuff from people, from fans, things that happen sometimes during the season, but in that clubhouse only the players know and our managers the things that are going on. And I just thank God that He gave me the opportunity to just be an encouragement to David Freese and to some of my teammates.

Q. '06 was your first time, Albert. Now you have people like Dotel and Rzepczynski and Edwin and Furcal who come over here for their first taste and you were able to help them get that. I think this would have to make this somewhat different but also gratifying that you helped other people experience what you had in '06, as well?
ALBERT PUJOLS: You know, this is how this organization works. I mean, you know, the same way that I had in '06, veteran guys that have been there before to give me the opportunity to win my first one, that's the same way that I -- and the same feeling that I have to help these guys. I just thank God they helped me out to be a part of that.
We as a team perform on this level like nobody could have believed, and we believe in ourselves, we knew what we were able to do, and from the bullpen through the starting pitchers to our offense. Just when everybody pretty much were thinking that we were down after a tough game, the way that we bounced back, just incredible.
Obviously right now a lot of things go through my head and thinking about just the whole season, but probably like two or three weeks from now, that's when I'm really going to be sitting down and saying, wow, where we were, and now we're the 2011 World Champions. It's unbelievable, and just like you say, to be a part of -- just giving Arthur Rhodes, a guy that has been in the league 19 years, Octavio Dotel, Rafael Furcal, all those guys, the opportunity, along with us to win another championship is pretty special.

Q. Chris, can you talk a little bit about your mindset in the first inning. You give up two, your team comes back, scores two for you in the bottom and you're nails for five innings. Talk about your mindset between the first inning and going back out for the second?
CHRIS CARPENTER: First of all, I just want to add one thing to what Albert said about the opportunity to -- for guys that aren't a part of this, that have never been a part of this, it is really gratifying, I think, for players that have, because we've played so long, and guys play this game for one thing, most of them, and it's for a World Championship. You think about that when you're a kid.
And to have the opportunity to be able to experience that with guys like Arthur and guys like Dotey and guys like Furcal, people that haven't experienced this before that have been around for a long time is amazing. I just wanted to add that.
Going off of the second inning, I felt like in the first I felt pretty good. I got the ball up to Michael Young, but I felt like I made a pretty good pitch to Josh that he hit for the double. Coming back out for the second, I didn't know how long they were going to let me go. So I was just trying to do everything I can to get one out at a time. If it was two innings, one inning, three innings, four innings, I had no idea, and nobody said anything to me about it. So I just continued to go out and try to make pitches, and I felt like as the game went on, I felt stronger. My stuff got better, my command got better, and I was able to make some really good pitches when I had to. And I mean, these guys, again, never gave up. This team is unbelievable. Most amazing team I've ever been a part of.

Q. It would be one thing during your time here to win one World Series, but during your time, and especially you and Chris together, three World Series appearances, two wins. What does that mean to you to have those multiple World Series appearances and wins? What does that mean to you, and where do you think it fits into the context of Cardinals' history, the rich Cardinals' history?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, it's awesome. This is what you play for, to be a World Champion, and you know, it's hard to get one, and to be able to have the opportunity to win two in 11 years. I mean, I can go around the guys that play 15, 17 years, 14 years in this game and never won one. And to be able to be in three World Series and to win two, it's incredible.
You know, when you get ready to go to Spring Training and get down there, our main goal is that: What can we do this year to improve our club and to be a World Champion. Pretty much that's what our mind and our focus are every day that we take the field.
This year, you know, through the injuries early in the year with Wainwright and Spring Training and as soon as a the season starts, a couple of the position players and myself, and to be able to accomplish this is even sweeter. It's just an unbelievable feeling, and I'm blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this great group once again.

Q. Berkman said after the game that he approached you and said, "Come back. Let's do this again." What did you tell him?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Just the same thing that I am going to tell you. I was enjoying the moment. Listen, I'm going to be prayerful about it. Whatever decision I make hopefully is the best decision I make for my family and the fans and everybody. Right now I am just going to enjoy the moment and just celebrate with the guys and pretty much just thank that my teammates that helped me out to accomplish another World Championship, because at the end of your career, those are the sweeter moments that you take. And there's a lot of tough time that we went through this year and a lot of sweet moments, you know. And the way that we did it is incredible. You know, there's not too many teams in the game that done it like that. I'm just blessed to be part of that.
But to talk about my contract right now, that's the last thing that I'm thinking about. I'm just kind of letting everything come in and the game that we won today.

Q. David Freese spoke before about you speaking to the team in August. I'm wondering how you recollect that.
CHRIS CARPENTER: Well, I mean, I've answered that question many times.

Q. Not after the World Series, though.
CHRIS CARPENTER: I hear you. I hear you. And it's different each time. But there was a few of us. It wasn't just me. There was a few of us that felt that something had to be said, and it wasn't about we need to clean it up and start playing better to win the World Series. It was, we need to start playing like St. Louis Cardinal baseball or like the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball.
So we sat down, and a few of us spoke, Albert spoke, I spoke, I think Lance spoke, I think Gerald Laird spoke because he was on that team that fought back to be able to play that 163rd game that year against the Twins.
You know, it was about not embarrassing ourselves. It was about continuing to play hard, to give something for our fans, no matter if we won or we didn't win. It was about playing hard and playing like we are capable of, not embarrassing ourselves, and also not giving up. It was a nice conversation, I think. I mean, it really wasn't that whole -- it wasn't that big of a deal, it was just, let's go play and have some fun. I love these guys. I said this then, to start the meeting, I said, this is the best group of guys I've ever been a part of.
And there's been some things in this club that I've had so much fun being a part of. And when I come to the ballpark, to be able to see these guys every day has been great, and I didn't want to ruin that. I didn't want to ruin it for the last month and a half of people start pointing fingers and all that stuff. I just thought, hey, you know what, we might not win another game the rest of the year, but we've had so much fun with a group of guys, let's just continue to do what we need to do to have fun.

Q. I'm going to continue with that theme. The feel of this team this year, the atmosphere has been totally different, the chemistry has, and then the trade came. Was it the skill set of the guys that you guys brought in, and/or was it the missing piece for the personality of this team to propel this team to where you are now?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Yeah, that's a good question. I think that we had a great personality in the clubhouse to begin with. I told Dotey tonight, we were sitting in the locker room before the end of the game, before he went down to the dugout and having a beer, and we were talking about this ballclub and talking about the personality and the experience that he brought, what Arthur brought to that bullpen, to solidify that bullpen down there.
I talked about what Jacks did when he came here and moved into the rotation. I mean, he was a huge part of it, also. I think it is a little of both; I think that no question personality. It made some of those kids down there relax. Zep comes in, does a great job, as a left-handed guy. Arthur brings experience, brings veteran leadership. Dotel brings that same just to relax the guys, just be like, hey, this is what it is, and that solidified that bullpen part.
Jacks solidified that starting rotation spot. And then we get that trade with Furcal, that comes in to solidify the shortstop defensively, offensively, the energy that Rafael Furcal -- I'm not quite sure what his numbers were or what he did from the time he came here or not, but the energy that he brings to the ballclub every day is amazing, and I think that, like I said, it was a little bit of both.

Q. At what point do you stop celebrating the savoring of this and you start looking toward the next year? How long can this go?
CHRIS CARPENTER: I don't know, that's a good question. I'm supposed to start my offseason workout program on the 1st, which is only a couple days away, so we'll see what happens. But I'm going to enjoy the moment tonight with my great teammates and my family and the people that are involved in this organization.

Q. What are you going to remember the most about this season? Is it playing dominoes and talking trash in the back, or what is it?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Just everything pretty much. When you review the whole season and just sitting down, from April all the way to September, October and then now, being able to win the World Series, you remember everything. I mean, just how relaxed I think we were after the second half, you know, when you add those guys like Dotel and Furcal, like Carp said, and Edwin, and just the attitude that those guys brought up here. Chris just said, we had a great group of guys and great core, and part of that is because our manager and the veteran guys that we have here, and when you added those veteran guys here, it didn't take long for them to get used to Cardinal baseball.
But just pretty much every moment, Furky (Furcal) flipping and doing his little thing, his sprint before the game in the clubhouse and just being loud, and Dotel yelling and laughing and just all the guys enjoying the great moments that we were having all year and in the last two months of the season, including the postseason, were unbelievable. I think the best moments of my career pretty much because just the way that we did it, the way that we got in and the way that we finished, we're the World Champions, it's pretty special.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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