WILLIE RANDOLPH: Been here many
times, man. Feels good to me. This is nothing
new to me. I feel like this is where I should be.
So I'm excited. Been floating around all
day long, been looking forward to getting to the
ballpark and ready to be out there with my boys, so
this feels very comfortable to me, very good.
What's the difference in your body
chemistry, say, today, as opposed to what it
was fifth game against Kansas City, your
rookie year in the first game, a
sudden-death-type game you played in, and
with all of these types of games you've been in,
can you compare how you felt as a kid in your
first one as to a manager tonight?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: It's really different.
The feeling deep down in your soul about being in
there and the excitement of it is still there. It's
always more fun playing, as opposed to coaching,
and now managing.
You know, the first couple of rounds, you
get the feeling of accomplishment, excitement you
feel for your players. It's a little bit different. It's
tough to describe. But it still feels really good.
Very similar to when I played, because you have
guys that you watch work hard all season long.
You try to teach him how to play winning baseball,
and you see the fruits of that. It's just like, yeah, I
mentioned this before, it's like a father/son kind of
thing, a teacher/pupil kind of relationship. But it
still feels really great. There's no way to really just
kind of put it into words, but ultimately when you
compete and you have been in the situation, it's
what you come back and fight for every year to get
back to this point.
But is the level of nervousness
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I don't feel nerves. I
don't really feel that at all. Again, I've always said
this and again it's part of the reason why I have
been successful in the game from a player to a
coach to my first round as a manager, that I feel
real comfortable in this environment. I feel that this
is where I should be. I love the competition. I love
the pressure. Nerves is not something that I really
feel. I actually feel better when there's more
pressure on me. I seem to focus more and feel
like this is where I should be.
I'm anxious, I'm excited more than
anything. Like I said, I got up this morning and I've
been floating around all day just getting ready. I
don't feel nervous. I feel really like I have to kind of
calm down a little bit and I feel excited, and I don't
feel that's nerves at all.
The improvement in Oliver Perez,
how much of it do you think was mechanical
adjustments and something he might have
worked on with your pitching coach; how much
of it do you think is just a confidence factor,
being given a chance in a winning
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, it's a little bit
of both. It's the fact that he's worked real hard with
Rick Peterson from day one, trying to work on his
mechanics a little bit. We saw him coming in
obviously with a great arm. We needed to harness
some of that energy and his stuff, and to his credit
he's done a great job of working hard on the side.
You see him in the bullpen working on his delivery
and his rhythm. And again, Rick has done a
tremendous job with all of our pitchers.
Same thing with John Maine, Mota, all of
these guys really bought into what we're trying to
do. Oliver, you can just see that he's always got
that confidence in his ability, but I think you can
see that he's feeling it now. Very, very confident
individuals. He's always had good stuff, but now
he's in a nice rhythm and nice groove and you can
see it even more. That's why I feel very confident
giving him the ball, because he shows no scare.
He just feels very, very much like he belongs and
wants this opportunity. So he'll get the ball tonight
and looking forward to it.
Do you think there is something to
pitching better in a winning environment?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, it's nice to be
around a good ballclub and the support that we
give a pitcher.
Yeah, I think it kind of rubs off a little bit. It
could be somewhat contagious, but it's how you
channel all that energy and how you put it to use
on the field. Just because you're on a good
ballclub doesn't mean you're going to go out there
and do the job. We have a great defensive club
and we swing the bats a little bit and we play for
each other. That helps to kind of bring guys who
might come in from the outside into the mix,
because they see the attitude and they really buy
into it right away.
You said after last year at this time
how much you learned as a manager in your
first year. These ten playoff games and this
experience, do you feel like it's been even
another big step through all this stuff?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: The experience of it,
Yeah, for you.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: To tell you the truth,
it feels like a regular game. It means more
intensity and more as far as what's riding on it.
The games we played in L.A. and to this point feels
like a regular-season game as far as the in-game
stuff or whatever.
You learn things, you see things.
Obviously there's a lot more excitement going on
and then the atmosphere is just unbelievable like
last night. But I don't feel that it's really any
different, the game itself, from the regular season.
That's the way it feels to me.
Can you just talk a little bit more
about the crowd, you just mentioned it right
there, it seemed they have been great all year.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: About the crowd?
Yeah, the crowd, last night, the
energy, especially when Jose hit the home run
in the first inning. The rest of the game was
WILLIE RANDOLPH: That's just New
York. I've been here a lot of years. When you've
been across town, I don't think there's a big
difference in the octaves of sound that you hear.
Yankee Stadium is just as loud as Shea Stadium.
It makes a big difference. It's subtle things.
Players get up and players feed off that type of
I think that's something that our club really
feeds off. I remember when I first came, one of the
first meetings I had with the team we talked a little
bit about -- because I've been here in this town and
I understand that. I remember telling the players
how important it was to have these people, these
fans feel who you are and if they do, go out and
play hard and give them everything you've got, you
will feed off their energy and they will give you
more. I say that because I've experienced that and
I know what that's like being here. They
responded to it. We've played aggressively from
day one, and I think the fans appreciate and enjoy
the way we play the game, and they kind of feed
off -- we kind of feed off each other in a way, and
that's kind of the way I envisioned it.
A couple minutes ago you
mentioned floating around the house. I was
just curious what you did to burn off some of
that energy? Did you get here earlier than
usual or same time as always?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: About the same
time. I just couldn't wait to get here. I'm always
pretty energetic anyway. Had a quick workout
early just to calm down a little bit. Couldn't stop
moving around and just wanted to get here. I just
feel this is going to be a special day for us, and I
just feel like this is what I'm accustomed to doing.
I've been doing it for a long, long time. I've been
blessed to be involved in some Game 7s in the
post-season for a lot of years.
It's what you live for, it's what you expect,
and I wish I could put a glove on and a bat, but my
knees won't work anymore.
I know it's probably hard to ask you
to do this from a personal standpoint,
obviously you waited a long time to get a job,
you went through many interview processes.
Can you try and reflect, as you're on the cusp
of a World Series, what it means to you to be in
this position to have done this well and maybe
what people have learned about you by
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I don't know if we
have enough time, really. It's been a lot of, I don't
know, I wouldn't say frustration, but just a lot of
years of trying to convince an organization that I'm
the right guy for the job. You know, you go into
those interviews and you kind of spill your heart
and soul to these people that you really don't
know, and maybe that was part of the reason.
They didn't know me and where I've come from,
where I've been and what I've been a part of. That
was probably the most frustrating part of it.
It's been a long journey, but I really feel
like it's the right time. This is where I deserve to be
and should be. It's my hometown, and a special
part of being here is being able to look up in the
stands and see your family and friends and your
old high school teachers and all that kind of stuff,
which is kind of weird.
But, you know, to me, there's no
redemption or anything like that. There's nothing --
I don't have a feeling of, you know, I told you so or
I knew this would happen. It's just that I've been a
part of a long legacy of winning and I'm just happy
the Met organization gave me the opportunity to
come here and give it up to these players, and
we're on the cusp of a Game 7, National League
championship, and it feels real good.
What's your assessment of what's
going on with Wagner? He got hit pretty hard
again last night.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Billy, that's a
closer's life. That's the way closers are. Billy gets
real excited. Sometimes he gets a little bit too
amped up. Just a high energy guy.
He's shown signs of that during the course
of the year. I think most closers do. You're in a
real tight spot and he's a power pitcher, and he has
to come in with a lot of energy and every once in a
while he's just a little too hyped up. That's what
makes him really good, too, one of the best. Just
hope that when he comes in, he's on an even keel
there and not try to do too much.
Yes, Billy has been magnificent all year for
us. He's had his up-and-downs, like most closers,
but I'll give him the ball again right away.
If the problem is that he's too hyped,
tonight is Game 7, are you worried about him
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Sometimes that
works for you, too. Every once in a while you can
overthrow the ball. I'm sure with the Yankee
series, he was like that. There was a time during
the regular season where he was like that. You
just hope that, again, he's at a point where he can
regroup, throw a few pitches out of the zone, you
might get a hit every once in a while.
Billy is good because he has a tendency to
regroup and get back in the rhythm of things just
like he did last night and next time he might come
in there and just blow lights out. I have a lot of
faith in him. He'll get the ball right away, and that's
the faith I have in him. He's my guy.
Various managers have different
characteristics. Joe Torre describes Jim
Leyland, for instance, as a feel manager; he
feels it. You managed against La Russa now
for a week, what is characteristic about him? I
know you observed him in both leagues. What
is the signature style or thing that makes him
so successful for so long?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Tony is a winner. I
don't particularly observe or dictate -- or observe
styles. He's shown he can do that. He's in control
of his ballclub and the game. He has a feel for his
people, which I think is very important for any good
manager to understand your personnel and how to
put them in the right place at the right time. Tony
has been doing this for a long, long time. He
communicates well with his people and he's
always in control. I admired him. I was his
teammate years ago. I played for him in 1990
when we went to the World Series and lost to the
Reds. A tremendous amount of respect for Tony
La Russa. He's one of the best in the game.
I don't always get into trying to emulate
styles of different managers. I just respect what
Was he good to play for?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, he was
awesome. Very similar to the way he is right now.
I'm sure he does things a little bit differently than
he did at that time. That was back in 1990. But
Tony is still on top of his game.
The Tigers, what do you particularly
admire or like about that team?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, I've seen them
play a little bit. I don't really know a whole lot
about their club. They play very much like Jimmy,
dictates they play with the fire and passion that
Jimmy brings to the table.
They obviously have some great arms,
great young arms that they feed off of, picking up
Pudge and I thought Sean Casey was a big pickup
for them. They have some solid players, also.
They are very balanced in a lot of ways. The
bullpen is solid. They throw everything at you and
with a lot of flare. So I'm looking forward to
hopefully getting a chance to see them up close
and in person, up close and personal.
Could you elaborate a little bit on
the taxi squad that you mentioned at the
beginning. Who is down there?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Milledge is down
there, we have Dave Williams, Heath Bell, a few
guys we can just tap into in case, God forbid, we
have any injuries.
Have you been in discussions as of
right now of what might happen roster-wise?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, we have to take
care of business first, today.
What you said before, you got here
at your normal time, all of your experience in
this, how much comfort do managers and
coaches and players take in going through
their normal routine in this excitement?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: The first part of your
question I'm not following.
You got here at the normal time
WILLIE RANDOLPH: At the ballpark,
How much comfort do you take in
the normal routine?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, you try to stay
on your routine. Get here a little earlier of course,
but you try not to deviate too much. Make sure
everyone is ready to play, do all our scouting report
stuff and try to get a little workout in and be ready
to go. My schedule is very similar to what happens
for me and we want it to stay that way.
How about the players?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Don't change
anything. All the guys do the same things every
day. Ballplayers are creatures of habit. They get
out there and do their routine, they are down in the
cage and clubhouse having a good time before the
game. We focus at certain times before the game,
so there's no reason to change that.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.