Transcript of ESPN World Series Conference Call with John Kruk, Curt Schilling and Ozzie Guillen
ESPN hosted a media conference call today with Baseball Tonight analysts John Kruk and Curt Schilling and current Florida Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen to discuss a variety of topics pertaining to Major League Baseball and the World Series. Guillen is serving as a special guest analyst for ESPN throughout the World Series.
Baseball Tonight will be on the road during the World Series for pregame (7 p.m. ET) and postgame (generally midnight ET) telecasts. For more details on ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the World Series, click HERE. Below is a transcript of the call:
Q. How do you promote a series that doesn't necessarily have one of the big market teams? How do you convince people that this is the series to listen to?
JOHN KRUK: I think as the season progresses, you can see how the Rangers became the best team in baseball, and the Cardinals became the hottest team in baseball. When you beat the Phillies who everyone thought was the best team in baseball, and then you beat the Brewers who everyone thought was the second best team in the National League, you deserve to be here. And they beat those guys and they beat them handily.
The Cardinals deserve to be here, same as the Rangers. They didn't have any easy steps going in. Lot of people thought Detroit was the best team, and Texas just decided that they were just going to start hitting and scoring a ton of runs and take advantage of the strength that they have offensively and just pummel people.
CURT SCHILLING: Yeah, I think part of it falls on the media itself to tell the more interesting stories. There is no shortage of them here. If you think back to what we were talking about when spring training wound down, the fact that Adam Wainwright was going to be gone for the year, the fact that the Cardinals endured injury after injury to key player after key player. All that they went through, and how they did it there are tons of human interest stories in that story alone.
You look at Texas, and you have the first repeat American League Champion since the 2001 Yankees, minus Cliff Lee. They got rid of arguably one of the top two or three pitchers in the game, and they didn't miss a beat.
There are a ton of stories just under the surface of the fact that, yeah, maybe these aren't two of the markets that jump off the page at you. But the amount of human interest stories involved in both of these teams getting back to this place, and how they did that from the front office on down, it's a testament to a lot more than just the 25 guys on the roster.
OZZIE GUILLEN: I think how great it's going to be right now. You don't have to expect just a few people out there, the same people in the World Series year after year after year. The expectation was so high on a few teams, including my team, how those guys make it to the big leagues, make it to the World Series is remarkable.
They went through it, especially Texas. We played against Texas when a lot of people were hurt, and I think Ron Washington did a tremendous job and the front office. The Texas front office people did an unbelievable job to put this team together.
When one guy was down, two guys picked them up. I remember in spring training, Michael Young, they were going to trade him, and they were going to play him at third base. This guy was moving all over the place, and I think that's a good ballclub.
What Tony LaRussa did to this ballclub through the season was unbelievable. It's a great thing for baseball, and a lot of people will think about it. I guarantee a lot of people have to watch this because they're two good ballclubs.
I think the St. Louis franchise, and now Texas people are watching Texas because of what they did last year and this year.
CURT SCHILLING: I think there is an argument we hear year after year in major sports about competitive balance. The fact that baseball has been and continues to be the most parity‑involved league around. Payrolls are becoming less and less of an issue.
You're starting to see every year, if you look at the winners and the teams the last 20 years; baseball has more parity than any sport out there. That tends to get lost because the focus is not on the Yankees or the Phillies or the Red Sox or somebody else, because there are a lot of teams in a lot of cities that are getting to compete right through the end of the schedule. That is not the case in these other sports.
Q. Do you mind a Red Sox question?
CURT SCHILLING: It depends.
Q. When you were there, obviously, you were looked upon as kind of the leader of that pitching staff and the guy that kind of set a positive example, obviously for the rest of the staff with your work ethic. Are you surprised at what you're reading about the current group of pitchers on the Red Sox?
CURT SCHILLING: Boring answer, but, yes, stunned, stunned. I didn't think ‑‑ I think as I've come to realize over the last week and a half, up until his comments yesterday I was under the impression that Jon Lester was more a part of this than I had heard.
But my understanding in the conversation I had is Jon worked his tail off until the bitter end. His September, his fall down at the end of the season had everything to do with him not pitching well as opposed to all the other crap that's come out. When you look at that staff, the guy you look to is Josh. I thought this was the natural progression for him. He's got a place in that rotation at the top, on and off the field from a work ethic standpoint, and something changed. One of the tipoffs for me is sometime in September after the game Josh made a comment to the effect that baseball's not the most important thing in life.
And it kind of caught me off guard in the sense that anybody that plays the game knows that. He had just gotten married, they're having their first child, but it was almost as if baseball's not the most important thing when I'm not doing well. I don't want people to think it's that big of a deal to me. That sends the wrong message; he is personally in this market. Yeah, it was surprising and disappointing.
Q. Also, obviously it is a bad message for kids out there, too, isn't it? Even if you're only having one beer during a game?
CURT SCHILLING: Listen, these guys on the phone call can talk to this as well. But I would tell you, especially since they're both position players, if I were to have a beer in the clubhouse. Generally, it was accompanying the fact that I was out of the game. I've had a beer in the clubhouse more than once. I'm not a big beer drinker. But it was after I was out of the game as a starting pitcher and I was icing in the clubhouse, that's what you do. You sit around, have a beer, have something to drink and watch the game.
This clearly was more than that, to some degree more than that. I don't know how much more it was than that, but it was enough that it became a conversation piece and there wasn't someone in that clubhouse in uniform to change it, and that is the bigger problem. You can fire the manager. You can get rid of the general manager.
But the same players that were responsible for the largest collapse in the history of the game are all coming back next year.
OZZIE GUILLEN: It's a very tough situation. Because when things go bad, a lot of things come out and a lot of things go out of proportion in the media. I think players and fans and media people can blame the manager, but you have to watch the game. I don't know, especially Boston. They went to the pennant race. I don't think Terry was worried about what was happening in the clubhouse. He had to worry about what was happening on the field. Meanwhile, people think it's sending the wrong message, but as a manager, sometimes it's too hard to control that.
That's up to the players to respect the teammate. He's not talking about the fans. Just respect your teammates, respect the people on the field. Has it happened before? Of course it's happened before. Meanwhile when that thing comes out to the media, it creates a problem, and it can take away stuff from the game.
I'm not going to say I'm going to protect Francona because it's my job, because it's the manager's job. But when the players see that, and the teammates see that thing, the players have to be in charge to tell those guys, listen, man, we've got people out there busting their butts for us. And you guys here are drinking or eating, or playing and sending text messages.
It's very hard right now to control that because you have so much stuff during the game. The last thing you worry about when people are grown up. If you have a little league team, of course you're going to take care of that. But you have grown‑up people making all the money, and grown‑up guys with families and stuff, and then it's up to the players to take care of that.
CURT SCHILLING: At the end of the day, he's always managed that way and allowed his players to police themselves. You can do that when you have those players in your clubhouse, a Gabe Kapler, Mike Lowell, Doug Mirabelli, Mike Timlin. When you have those players in your clubhouse, they police themselves. I would tell you any good manager allows his clubhouse to run on its own, because that's where the culture is created. That's where the chemistry is created and that's where things happen.
If you look at the strong personalities on this team, those guys are on the field. Most of those guys were on the field. The pitching staff didn't take it upon themselves for whoever was leading that staff to make a change. They allowed that to become ‑‑ they didn't lose those games because of the stuff they were doing. They lost those games because they played like crap and they didn't have their heads in the game.
To some degree you could argue that maybe it wasn't as big of a deal to play for each other or to pick each other up as it is on other teams because there are a lot of individual agendas at the end of the season –
Q. So why couldn't he stop it?
CURT SCHILLING: I think he tried. I think you've heard examples of him trying. Terry Francona laying out a schedule from 2:00 to 7:00. This is what you do and how you manage, nobody manages that way. For him to do that would have changed everything about him and who he is. I think he just trusted that he had the players that could do it. Before too long it ran away from him and he couldn't get control of them.
Jon Lester basically admitted yesterday, they stopped listening to him. They stopped listening to him. That, to me, at the end of the day, this is a 110% on the players. They're grown men. They know when they're doing something wrong. I always knew when I was doing something wrong. You generally kind of police yourself, but they knew what they were doing.
OZZIE GUILLEN: In the meanwhile, what did I say? Winning creates chemistry, losing creates problems. I think when you're winning, everything is fun, and everything is cool. All of a sudden, things turn around on you, and, oh, wow, look at what we did wrong.
When you're hitting the same way all your life, all of a sudden you're not hitting anymore, now you have to change your hands, do this, and change all your routine. But I think right now you have to blame somebody. You have to blame your own players, because like Curt said, they're grown people. They know what to do to be a professional. I'm sorry it happened when that happened, because that happened before and nobody would be talking about it.
But when they lose, obviously people are talking about they lose because of that. I don't think they lost because of that. I think they lost because the team did better than they did.
CURT SCHILLING: To be honest with you, Krukkie, our '93 team in Philadelphia, there was more than a beer or two had in that clubhouse before the ninth inning, but we won.
JOHN KRUK: Yeah, and it was never said.
CURT SCHILLING: Nope.
Q. I've got a question for Curt. Its Boston related. Curt, what do you think makes Theo Epstein such a good general manager, and how do you assess the impact he could have with the Cubs?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, there are a couple things. First off, in 23 years in and around the game, Theo was the first general manager that I ever played under who understood the clubhouse. By that, I mean for the most part general managers are very odd ducks. The ones that force themselves in the clubhouse don't do themselves any favors, and the ones that are never around don't do as well.
There is a time and a place for a general manager in the clubhouse, and it's not often. But Theo was never in the wrong place. He understood that culture. He understood his players, and Theo made himself at least from an appearance perspective, you never felt like you were talking to somebody in the front office.
You could trust him. As a general manager, that's not something that's common. From a baseball perspective, for what it's worth, I've been playing the game since I was 5 years old, like the other two guys. I've been playing since I can remember. I would like to think I have a decent baseball IQ, and I can spot smart people. He's one of the smartest people I've ever met at the game that hasn't played, and that is a big thing.
He's very clear about where his strength and weaknesses lie. He surrounds himself with incredibly smart people. He understands that the strength of an organization starts with its personnel, its scouting, and its player development. Everybody is put in place to support the structure at the top, which is the big league roster.
What he did here for the nine or ten years he was here is basically build a player development machine. He did it with a nice budget, but I'm not sure that he had to have that budget to be as good as he was. It helps. I think you could make an argument that having the budget he had probably hurt him as much as it helped him. Because he was able to bid and spend on players that he might not have otherwise jumped in on.
He is a workaholic. He lives and breathes and is loyal to the people and the team that he's with, and that's not a small thing for players, especially when you are going ‑‑ he's not in the clubhouse a lot. He doesn't mingle with the players in that sense. But you're never uncomfortable around him and talking to him, and that makes him a rarity.
Q. How about impact in Chicago?
CURT SCHILLING: I would tell you if he spends the same amount of time he spent in Boston and Chicago, you'll have a World Series. I don't question that for a second.
Q. Ozzie, why do you like doing TV, and how much do you have to find yourself biting your tongue once in a while?
OZZIE GUILLEN: There's a reason I'm on TV. Why I like to do TV, I have some time off. I'm a baseball man. I love the game. This is more important games in baseball right now. We're going to the World Series. They asked me to enjoy the games before. I didn't want to do the playoffs or anything before that. I just love to do the World Series because this is a game that really means a lot to a lot of people, and that is the reason I'm going to do it. What was your other question?
Q. Do you ever find yourself maybe having to bite your tongue with something you might want to say or something you get worked up about?
OZZIE GUILLEN: No, no, let me ask you something very particular. When do I ever say anything I was lying or I was not right? Look yourself and read what I say, and when I do something I say when I was wrong? A lot of people think because I tell the truth, I'm very honest, very clear, a lot of people take it in the wrong context. Have I ever said something I regret? Maybe a few things. Maybe a few things. But, first of all, you never covered me. I wish you ‑‑ well, one thing about it, I wish I was in New York. I'd give you a nice living because you'd be writing about me every day.
But in the meanwhile I never, ever, ever say anything that wasn't true because you can ask me what I say in 2012 about anything or 1985. When you tell the truth, you'll remember. One thing about people, they don't like to hear the truth. They're like hypocrite people. They like people to be politically correct. And you're not going to get that from me.
JOHN KRUK: Don't worry. I'll keep an eye on him.
OZZIE GUILLEN: The reason I'm here because I talk a lot of s___. It's okay. There is a different way to talk to people on TV than off the air. They might not understand what I'm going to say, but I'm not going to curse.
Q. Curt, you had a lot of success early in Albert Pujols career, I think he's 3 for 20 against you. What is sort of the key to facing a guy as dangerous as that? How, if at all, has he changed over the years?
CURT SCHILLING: You don't do what the Brewers did. You know, Albert is so good; he's almost easy to pitch to from this sense. I always with guys that were that good, my philosophy was no repeat pitch, and no repeat location. To go with that approach, you have to have two things. You have to have more than two pitches and you have to have command.
Your fastball will always set up at any hitter's at‑bats, especially a guy like Albert. You have to have plus stuff. If you don't have plus stuff, then you've got to be perfect. I will tell you, when I look at that lineup before this last series, I couldn't understand why they pitch to him.
In my mind, when I looked at that series, and Krukkie, we might have talked about this, when they were down 2‑1, I thought if they hadn't intentionally walked Albert the first games of that series, they might have been up 2‑1.
Now David Freese has come on, which has changed and Matt is proving to be healthy, which changes how you can approach him. But there is a guy in every lineup. And generally in the World Series teams, there is more than one guy. But there is always one guy who you say this guy's bat will not beat me.
What really happens is you emphasize the guys that are hitting before him. Because the more at‑bats you can face him with nobody on base, the better off you're going to be, because generally solo home runs don't beat you.
But Albert is a guy that's so good; he's almost easy from a pitch selection perspective. You never throw the same pitch twice back‑to‑back, and you never throw the same pitch in the same spot.
Q. John and Curt, do you think the guys like Pujols or Josh Hamilton are as famous among All‑American sports fans as they should be considering how good of players they are?
JOHN KRUK: They have to be because they're both former MVPs. They're two of the best players in baseball, and two of the most dangerous players in baseball. But the thing about them is they can hurt you in some ways.
Albert's made himself a great defender at first base. Josh Hamilton is as good a left fielder as he is a centerfielder or right fielder, wherever they want to put him. But both guys can hit. That is the thing. They're not just sluggers. They're not guys that go up with one intention to try to hit the ball out of the ballpark. They'll take what a pitcher gives them; they'll go the other way if they have to.
To me they're two of the more complete hitters in the game of baseball. We have guys that can hit 40, 50 home runs, but they'll hit .240, .250. These guys are going to hit .300, .310, .320, and still drive in over 40 home runs.
I don't think there are two better hitters in the game of baseball besides maybe Miguel Cabrera that are playing in this World Series right now.
Q. Compared to athletes in other sports are they as well known?
CURT SCHILLING: You're asking about kind of their brand? I think Albert is probably short of Boston or New York, he's probably as known as he could be and should be. Josh, I don't think is nearly as well-known as he should be. If Josh Hamilton were in the NBA, he'd be a borderline Kobe Bryant guy. If he were in the NFL, he'd be a Tom Brady guy.
This is a guy who has, first of all, get past the tools and the ability, but the life story is an amazing one. What Josh has endured to get to where he is is in and of itself its own movie. But you watch this guy on the field, if he were playing in New York, he would be Jeter. He would be a legitimate household name because there's nothing ‑‑ he can win a game with his feet, with his arm, and with his bat and with his head.
In Texas, that's a different gig. Because in Texas, it's the Dallas Cowboys. I like to think that Nolan has started to put that franchise on a path to more notoriety. He clearly has. But what is the feeling for a baseball player in Arlington from a brand recognition standpoint? He would need a PR marketing machine to get his brand up to the level that it should be for the player that he is, but that's part of the ‑‑ if you want to call it ‑‑ downside to playing in a secondary in a second‑team market.
Q. It's interesting you mentioned the Cowboys because they are an example. Obviously, Tony Romo has no problem with name recognition. It's not the market, per se. Clearly Tony Romo has no problem being in Dallas. Why does Josh Hamilton?
CURT SCHILLING: I would bet if you asked ten people to name two players on one of those teams in this country, the response would be much higher Dallas Cowboys to Texas Rangers. The Cowboy brand is four or five decades old and it's national. Its borderline global. The Rangers are a local presence. They're barely a national presence.
Unfortunately, the TV ratings have reflected that with the teams getting into the postseason. But this is the place where that's ‑‑ and I don't know about the other two guys. But I always looked at the postseason as a way to do something you've never done before as a team, but also to make people remember you forever.
Bucky Dent was a light hitting shortstop for the Yankees, and people will never, ever forget that guy's name because of one at‑bat.
Q. One question for Curt, one for Ozzie. Curt, obviously you were known for a guy, a starting pitcher who wanted to go the distance. But you see what Tony did in the postseason addressing that and ending the decision with the match‑ups and all that. How difficult is it for a starting pitcher to be equipped for that kind of situation, even though you know the objective is winning?
CURT SCHILLING: First of all, you better not be equipping yourself for that situation because if you do, you're equipping yourself to fail. As a starting pitcher, I own those innings. Those are mine. My job is to win that game and do whatever I can do to help that team win. We've talked about that a couple times in the past.
You're seeing a very different dynamic in this postseason as opposed to any I can remember. It's almost as with any team in the NLCS/ALCS and onward, it was a race to your bullpen. How quickly can I get my first arm into the game? And that method doesn't work over 162 games, because you'd have to have a 30‑man pitching staff.
In a five game series or seven‑game series, you might pay the price for it next year with one or two of your guys getting run through the ground.
But in October, there is no fatigue. These guys are ready to pitch every night. It's such a different way. I can't even imagine how you manage a game like this. When you look back to the Yankee dynasty, it was you had to beat them before the 7th, because it was Rivera and Wetteland. When you looked at them coming into the early millennium, they shortened the game.
You have one to two guys at the end of a bullpen, they can shorten the game. Both of these staffs have four or five guys. I can't wait to see a guy throw under 95. Everybody's coming out with plus, plus stuff, and you're running shut down arms into a ballgame in the fifth inning. Now that's not sustainable over 162 games, but that is something can you absolutely do to win a seven‑game series. It's just a different way to watch the game. It absolutely de‑emphasizes the impact the starters are having on the game.
It's like how many innings can my starter take away from my bullpen before I can use them? As opposed to how many innings can my starter get into the game before I have to use my bullpen?
Q. Ozzie, first of all, congratulations on the new gig. Is there anyway looking back that you felt you could have handled the departure differently?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Well, I came out with a win, which was a pretty good one to me. That's what I needed to come out with a win. You know, things happen to fast, it was kind of not the way I was planning to. My plan was to stay in Chicago the rest of my life, but in the meanwhile people understand what my point was, they understand what I want.
I only had like two hours to make a decision. And in those two hours to make the decision, they gave me permission right away. I couldn't wait longer because they wanted to announce it before. No, it's kind of funny because even my family knew it was the last game. I called my wife. I had one of the clubbies call my wife and tell her that was my last game with the White Sox. And, my wife called the kids and my kids show up. Nobody knew it.
Only the players knew I was leaving because I had a meeting with them before the game started, and since that point on, people knew it was my last game. But for me it was fine. If the White Sox want to let me go. That's what you want, that's what you're going to get. But at the same while, I know Paul Konerko, Frank Thomas, and Mark Buehrle are going to come up to the field and get to the people. I just did my job. My era with the White Sox is over with.
I'm not regretting anything with the way I left. I think everything for eight years I was there; I gave them everything I have every day. And I see some media people and some radio people talk about I'm quitting on the team. Well, it's easy to say you're quitting on the team when you're down by 7, 8, 13 runs every night. That is something you can't stop. But I know for a fact and I know in my heart I gave that organization everything I had every day. I never stole one penny from them. I was there every day for them.
I never regret the way I left. I think that's the way I should, and I think the press conference was fine, it's what I need. Maybe some people thought ‑‑ I thought personally I was going to leave Wednesday after the season was over. But they pushed me ‑‑ No, I don't say the White Sox pushed me out. Just think about it. They put me in a spot to say well, the people want you. They need you right now, and you have to show up there, and that's what I did.
Q. I'm wondering if you can tell me how has baseball been able to achieve the type of parity that it's had given the variety of teams we've seen in the World Series over the past couple years? And my second question for the entire panel is Nolan Ryan made a pretty bold prediction for the Rangers in six games. Does that add a pressure on the guys when the team management is coming out and giving predictions like that?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, second question first. If it were anybody but Nolan Ryan, I might say yes. But the fact that he threw a pitch at 96 miles an hour, and he's 46 years old, leads me to believe that I'm okay with what he's talking.
I always enjoyed incentive either way. You don't ever want to give another team more reasons than they already have to want to beat you. But Nolan has so much respect in the game. He's basically putting a vote of confidence out there for his players. I think that's a good thing. That works well in the clubhouse. But I don't know what the make‑up of that club looks like. But I'm guessing they took that in the vein which it was given. If you're the Cardinals? Again, it's Nolan Ryan; he can say whatever the hell he wants to say. He's earned that right.
As far as parity goes, baseball's been this way since the reserve clause was lifted and free agency. I think free agency is and always will be the death nail for other professional sports and the way they've restricted it and limited it. In baseball, the draft is still the smartest teams get the best players, and the smartest teams don't always have the biggest bank rolls. You look at what the Tampa Bay franchise has done through the draft. There are some core fundamental things that will never change. If you're a smart franchise, if you're run by a good general manager, and good player development, that's at the heart of every good organization.
Ozzie could probably speak more to that. When you're in spring training and you can walk across your fields and look at your Double‑A team and see three or four prospects and your Triple‑A team the same thing, that's a game changer. That doesn't have anything to do with how much money your market brings you. That has to do with your baseball people and the smarts your organization runs itself with.
OZZIE GUILLEN: I don't think there is any doubt about it. I think right now the way money goes and the way the players are going right now and the economy thing, in the minor league department and the development of players is very, very important.
In the next five to ten years I think every organization, the guys are going to have to be in the top. They're going to have to count with the minor league kids. And I think it's very important to draft the right guys. Right now I just left the White Sox, and they have three or four guys there already in the big leagues. They just signed two years ago. I think that is the one key, one of the biggest keys to run a great organization.
JOHN KRUK: I believe the story with Nolan Ryan is if I was a player on his team and he said ‑‑ the bigger story would be the Cardinals are going to win in six that would be a bigger story. How else can he answer that question? He has to say his team's going to win. Like Curt said. It's Nolan Ryan, whatever he said should be good enough for the rest of us.
As far as teams now, you look at teams now the way they're built, and five to six guys are making a lot of the money, and other guys are drafted and develop guys that teams have to draft and develop. The teams that do that the best now are the teams that win. That's the way the game is played now.
Now the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies can be more lenient with how they spend their money because they're bigger markets, and the successes that they've had over the last few years dictated that. But like Curt said, the team in Tampa, Longoria makes a lot of money, Shields is going to make a lot of money, but the rest of the guys are guys that have to come up through their organization and produce. You have to be absolutely dead spot on if you're going to be a successful team with the way you draft your guys and develop them and get them to the big leagues and prepared to play big league baseball.
The good teams, the Giants have done it with that great pitching staff. Now these two teams this year. You look at David Freese, the guys that have come up with the Texas Rangers that have been there a long time, drafted and developed by the organization. That is the way you have to play the game now. You better have young players through the draft that can play. Because unlike football and basketball, they don't have minor league feeder systems really in those two sports except for college. So you have to get your guys in there that can develop and develop these players to be the players that you expect to come up to the big leagues and contribute.
And they're letting them. That is a whole different thing too. A lot of young players when they first came up were hand held and baby sat through a season. We're going to spot start them. I think the great thing about baseball is these young kids; they're throwing them up and saying here, go do it, go play. Prove to us you can't and then we'll send you down, but if you aren't, we're going to let you go. There is no more babysitting kids through the system. They're rushing them up, and they have to, and I love it.
Q. I noticed your tweet earlier that you had occasion to speak with Hanley Ramirez, and wondering what you can share about that conversation? Second part of the question, can you see any scenario at all next season where he's playing a position other than shortstop?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Well, the conversation we had was just a personal conversation. It was nothing about the ballclub. Nothing about what I expect for him. What I expect for him was already been said in the press conference. I expect a lot of things for him.
One thing I asked him is how he's progressed on his injury, and we just talked about one of the coaches is a good friend of both to be on the ballclub. It's nothing about what I want from him or what I need from the team, or give me a scoop on this guy. No, that's my job to find out. It was just personal stuff. What was the second question?
Q. Can you see any scenario where he's playing a position other than shortstop next year?
OZZIE GUILLEN: I just got there, and I just walking on the field no matter where. If he has to be a shortstop, it's shortstop, if he has to be somewhere else, I just want this kid to be on the field every day. That's what I'm looking for. The conversation was great, but you know me. It's up to the Marlins. What they have in mind. What they want to do. The longer this kid's on the field there and giving me at‑bats every day, that's what I need.
JOHN KRUK: I think you should move him to first. That guy can't play, Oz, come on. I think you should hire me as your bench coach and Curt as your pitching coach. I love South Florida.
OZZIE GUILLEN: You know what, I would take that.
JOHN KRUK: I only live an hour from there. I'll commute.
OZZIE GUILLEN: Oh, be careful. There is a lot of drinking in the clubhouse.
JOHN KRUK: Hey, I'll have a designated driver. He can drive us all (laughing).
Q. Curt and John and Ozzie, from your view, in your view, why did the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Brewers in six games? What were the chief reasons for that?
CURT SCHILLING: Fundamentals. I think defensively the Brewers finally got exposed. I was a guy that picked Milwaukee in the preseason. They were my dark horse. I loved the make‑up of that club. I thought the Groenke edition could give them the two power arms you need to get through October, and he ended upcoming up small.
Zach didn't pitch well. Gallardo was the only arm they could rely on. From a bullpen perspective, I think St. Louis outpitched them.
I thought from an execution perspective they didn't pitch well. I thought allowing Albert to punish them as much as he did early on cost them. I would have tried to find out or make someone else in that lineup beat me. I didn't think from a game plan perspective that they game planned for this lineup well. But at the end of the day, it was simple fundamentals. I think they gave away a lot of outs. You can't do it during the regular season, and it just magnifies itself to the nth degree in October. It came down to a lot of simple fundamental things. I love that club though.
JOHN KRUK: I agree with Curt. When you miss the ball like the Brewers missed the ball that costs you one game and that's all it takes. They made four errors one game. It just got ugly for them.
When you have ‑‑ Ryan Braun's a great hitter, and Prince Fielder's a great hitter, but the Cardinals to me were deeper. David Freese was just huge in that series to go with Albert. When you have both guys going full bore like they were, it makes it tough to get through that lineup, and Yadier Molina had a great series.
So when you have three of your middle guys in the batting order are all hitting well, I know in all theory, you never want to let Albert beat you and you don't, but the other guys were beating you. So if Albert didn't get you, the other ones were. So pitching just didn't have anything to match up why that offense.
OZZIE GUILLEN: Talk to me for the manager point on. I think pitching and defense wins a lot of games. A lot of people think the less errors you make, you get your starting pitchers or whoever is on the mound less pitching and pitch count and get out of control. If they're not catching the ball well, they put themselves in a spot to make errors. And their offense was good enough to overcome. Like I say, you pitch well, and you play good defense. The result is going to be better.
Q. Ozzie, did you see any good bull fights in Spain? For the three of you, is LaRussa the best manager in the game, and what he brings to the table, is that overstated?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Bull fights, yes. Finally I saw the bull win once. The guy almost got killed when I was there.
But Tony LaRussa, over the years, you're going to be a Hall of Famer, and what he did over the years in both leagues, it's hard to say who the best manager in the game is right now. But it shows you when you show up to the World Series that many times that he has, I don't see why he's not.
Right now all those guys managing the game right now, one of those guys is for sure going to be a Hall of Famer. I told Tony, when you're a manager, you have to have the right players with the right attitude. But to direct those people, to play the way Tony did this year, it was amazing. I think Tony over managing a lot of people in the last two months of the season. Obviously he's here for a reason. You know, to me, I think he is one of the best managers in the game.
JOHN KRUK: What I saw with Tony was Ozzie said it perfectly. He does things during games that people don't think of. He also does subtle things.
In the blowout game six when they clinched it he let Rzepczynski stay in the game. Now Rzepczynski or Ryan Howard or Chase Utley, the one guy, and for the first five games of the series that was Prince Fielder. He's your guy, go get him out. He understands now with Josh Hamilton, he's going to face Josh Hamilton in this series, Rzepczynski is. But he also knows if there is a key situation he has to bring him in to get David Murphy, he knows Ron Washington will pinch hit with a right, probably Gentry or Torrealba or something like that.
But he let Rzepczynski pitch two innings in that last game and he pitched against a lot of right‑handed hitters because he hadn't pitched against them. He wanted to see right‑handed hitters and figure it out. Now he has that ability if he brings Rzepczynski in to face Murphy, if they bring in Gentry or Torrealba or whatever, it's not going to be a shock to his system. Saying oh, God, there is a righty here. What do I do with him now? He has that ability now to face righties or lefties.
CURT SCHILLING: I'll add one thing. In my mind in the last ten or 15 years, being a great big league manager has changed. It's not the guy with the highest baseball IQ. You always like to play for a guy with the players in the right positions. You don't have a mismatch.
More than anything to me, the best managers in the game are the guys who manage their people better than anybody else. Managing has become more of a babysitting job than a managing job. You have 25 very unique and very distinct personalities. The guy that can manage his people better than the other guy tends to get the most out of them. Again, I do believe in the Buck Showalter philosophies in that you want to have the right hitter facing the right pitcher and the right pitcher facing the right hitter and all that stuff. But I think it's more of a managing people job than managing the game job now.
OZZIE GUILLEN: Managing the game is easy. Managing the people playing the game is hard. Managing the people, the guys. You have a great bullpen like Texas did, and St. Louis did, it's easy to walk to the mound and call whoever is out there when they perform.
But the ten guys when they're not performing, now you start second guessing people. You start second guessing yourself and worrying about what people say. Then you change your philosophy. You're the smartest man today and the next day what the hell you did. You say I just bring the same guy. But I think when you push the right buttons and you're confident with the players and the players know you're confident in those people, they respond well.
Q. In listening to what you're doing on the conference call and obviously what you do on the air, it's clear that you love baseball and you enjoy it. How exciting is getting to go to the World Series and analyzing it to you guys, and what geeks you out about getting ready for the series?
JOHN KRUK: Well, I'll give you this; it was a lot more fun as a player than it was as an analyst or whatever we are. But with that being said, it is exciting every year. This is my eighth year of covering the World Series for ESPN.
I just like the fact that every year it seems that it's a different team. It has been a different team. That's what I enjoyed most about it is seeing all of these new players, seeing how they respond to the pressures of the World Series, how they handled the media and all that stuff.
When we were in the World Series in 1993, a bunch of us were new at it, and we didn't know what to expect. I remember the first day walking out on the field in Toronto, and there were like 90 million people on the field. There was nowhere to swing a bat. There was nowhere to try to get loose before batting practice. I was like what the hell are all these people doing here? It's just another game. Then you realize this might be just a little bigger than just another game.
So I like how the players respond, and how the players deal with all the different issues other than what's happening on the field. You see great players and you see really bad plays. I've seen guys rise to the occasion, and guys fall a little short. So that is what is exciting to me is the stories that go along with crowning a team the best team in the world.
CURT SCHILLING: Yeah, I'm torn. I'm torn in the sense that I still in my heart of hearts feel like a baseball player. I don't miss the game. I don't miss playing the game anymore. But I have a very hard time criticizing players because I haven't forgotten how unbelievably hard this game is to play. I know that where they're at right now is a dream come true.
I remember my first one. I was there with John in '93 and all the things that that meant. And thank God I got a chance to go back, because going back was a very different experience. You've got some guys coming back from Texas this year. I think to some degree I think there will be a little bit of an advantage. But it's hard for me from an analyst perspective. I understand how hard the game is. I think we all do. I tried to be very cognizant of how I ‑‑ when I'm assessing a player's performance, I'm doing it in the mindset of a baseball player and not an analyst, and that can be different.
My number one concern is I don't want anybody to walk away from this World Series feeling like Donnie Moore, because I know you can make or break the rest of your professional career with one play. With one pitch, with one at‑bat.
I always liked to think that that's going to happen in a positive way, but there is always a loser in the World Series. Somebody always goes into the off‑season being the reason their team lost the World Series, and that's not something I wish on anybody.