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October 7, 2000

Tony La Russa


Q. If you knew your relievers were going to pitch more innings than starters, would you --

TONY LaRUSSA: That is not the formula that usually wins. I think you look at the fact we had two off days, right?

Q. Yes.

TONY LaRUSSA: In between the games, so that helped the bullpen stay fresh. It also mixed in 7 innings from Kile. That help us.

Q. Would you have ever thought you would come into the series and sweep the Braves 3-0 nothing, considering the power this team has?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I mean obviously, no. I have such respect for their ball club, their success for this year, for years and years and years, they earned it. People come out to beat them and they beat them. I also learned, you do not put any limits, what you try to do, don't get too cute. We would try to play as hard as we could, every time we played. Once we got the first game, we said, let's try and play hard the second game. Why stop now? If I had to bet a dollar, I would definitely not have bet it. If you go out, play hard, things fall your way, you never know how it works out.

Q. Can you talk about how important Edmonds was, not to this series, but the season as a whole?

TONY LaRUSSA: I get the biggest kick, we will have a great opportunity tonight, tomorrow, to replay this. I get the biggest kick out of, I was going to say the first timers, Wil, Vina, Edmonds; in Jim's particular case, hits in the middle of the lineup, had a great year during regular season, post-season they go cold; pitchers do not pitch to you, people do not see the real guy so crucial for you, but they saw it in the three games, he got big hits, made big plays. It wasn't just Jim. Did they vote the award?

Q. I don't think they have one.

TONY LaRUSSA: Our team gives him one. Vina, all the guys in there. Britt Reames, his first. I like the way they all came through. I feel great for them.

Q. How is Stephenson?

TONY LaRUSSA: I don't want to be gross, but the expression is, a turd in the buttermilk, that is where all game long, in the back of your mind, you are thinking, this was the, story of our club coming in, our rotation was, I think when you look at how our rotation came into this thing, if you play against the Braves, that made this a heck of an accomplishment, then all of a sudden Stephenson goes out. I think we will wait until Monday, to see how he feels, but you fear the worst.

Q. Would you talk about how much of a joy it is for you to manage this club this year?

TONY LaRUSSA: I definitely will. The thing I am careful about, I have been one of the more fortunate guys around, as far as Chicago and Oakland, this ball game ranks with one of the ones I enjoyed the most. Our coaches, trainers, everybody that works in the clubhouse, they are just unbelievable to be around, starting in Spring Training, they like each other, have a great time, when it comes time to play, they compete so hard. We had a lot of knocks, adversity, everybody hangs together. I can't remember having a better time watching a club play, the last one is always the most recent. One of the guys that made that come true is the guy to my right. You watch him play every stinking at-bat and, like it is the World Series. He has been practicing every day, that is how he plays. I am not surprised how he plays.

Q. How important was it to jump out on these guys every single game?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, it is a good formula. You score first, you win a high percentage of your games, no matter how good the other club is. I mentioned somebody, George or Dunc, when Fernandez hits the homer, I would rather have him hit a triple, when he hits a homer earlier, they swing for the fences. Then we won't make good contact the whole series. I think that when you have a top of lineup like we got, this guy's a great leadoff guy, whether Renteria, Clark, you have a hell of a good chance to score in the first inning.

Q. When you went into Spring Training with so many key guys, key new players, were you optimistic from the beginning?

TONY LaRUSSA: One of the things that is true, Spring Training is a long time. If guys go about it right, you can come out of Spring Training ready to play as a team, I have seen it happen. We were talking about this stuff amongst ourselves; coaches, Walt, first week or 10 days that these guys were together. It was -- our clubhouse is fun to be around. When time to practice, nobody messed around in the drills, they got the work done, came in, had fun again. We really expected, based on what we saw, this club was really together early. The only thing you need then is to win, because that cements it. These guys were absolutely perfect in Spring Training, worked hard, liked each other and wanted to win.

End of FastScripts....

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