Tony La Russa
(Editor's comment: La Russa's post-game and post-series comments may have set a record for the shortest interview of the type. Yet oddly it was because there were only two questions asked, not because the notoriously testy manager would not entertain them.)
Q. Would you give the Dodgers credit for the job that they did?
TONY LA RUSSA: Oh, yeah, this was, I think, closest that they came to getting beat, the first two, but today from the get go they beat us to the punch all night, so give them credit.
Q. What did you see from Pineiro tonight, and was he up?
TONY LA RUSSA: More anything else, he had quite a few pitches he got up.
It's a tough way for him to pitch, a lot of balls that did damage that were up, and it was just one of those things. We didn't do anything with their guys. He pitched well.
Congratulate the Dodgers. It was a hell of a series, so congratulations to them.
Q: How much air out of the ballpark do you think Ethier's home run did here in the third inning?
JOE TORRE: Well, it may have discouraged people, but it certainly didn't make us comfortable. Especially the situation with two out and all of a sudden bang, and we scored a couple of two out runs that I think were killers for them.
Q: Throughout this whole series, your team has performed in two out situations amazingly well. I think they were in four or five of them tonight. Talk about what that says about those guys out there.
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, you've been with us all year pretty much, and you've seen this ballclub play a little ragged, and then all of a sudden we're playing a team that we're going to see if we measure up, and we show up. And that's basically what happened here.
I mean, the thing that I'm most proud of, and it doesn't surprise me, as emotional a game as it was the other day when we really stole the game from them, to have the off day and then come in as feeling good about themselves and yet understanding there was a lot of work ahead of us, this ballclub has been great.
Vicente Padilla, it looked like he was feeling his way in that first inning, but after that he was nails. He was great.
This ballclub has worked hard. They learned a lot last year, and they really care for each other, which I think is necessary on a team that gets this far.
Q: What are your thoughts on winning this Division Series and moving on to the next round?
JOE TORRE: Division Series, well, they're all scary. You play five games; you play seven games. They're all scary.
But this Cardinal ballclub beat us five out of seven, and to come in and have them come into our place, which I thought I still feel there's a lot of pressure when you play in your home, on your home turf, even though you like playing there. You still feel you have to win. But we beat a very good team, and we won the two games that Carp and Wainwright pitched, which certainly did a lot for our personality and our confidence. This kid is remarkable right here on my left. (Andre Ethier enters the interview)
Q: You look drenched. You've been through a lot of these. What is it like after all these years to do it again here?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, my wife Ali is sitting right here. After we won in '96, she said, well, there it is, you won the World Series. Let's go off somewhere and enjoy it, and I said, let's see if we can do it again, never dreaming that I'm here in 2009.
We have more work to do, but to get through the first round, it's wonderful. It's something that you really can't describe how good it is, because I never experienced this as a player, but in looking back, what it feels like as a manager, because it's you have all these players that come together and become one. They don't go out and eat with each other; all they do is play and help each other, and to me as a manager, that's the most satisfying thing I can ever feel is how these kids come together and just know how important it is what they do.
Q: Considering the circumstances, is this the best you've ever seen Padilla pitch?
JOE TORRE: Yes, it's the best we've seen him, in fact, the longest we've seen him. Six innings was as far as he had gone, and he was wanting to go out there in the eighth inning. I thought about it for about a tenth of a second, but that was about it. I said with these guys we have coming in, I don't want to do that.
Let me see, if Ryan had gotten on base, and they had pinch hit a left hander, I was going to take him out anyway in the seventh inning. If I was just going to go one man at a time with him, I figured we'd start fresh, which is what we did.
Q: Manny went 3 for 5 with two RBIs, and he had that double in the first with the RBI that kind of set the tone, I thought, for the way things were going to go from there on out. Talk about what you saw. He looked a little bit different at the plate. Talk about that.
JOE TORRE: Again, it looked like Manny was thinking line drive tonight. I thought his swing was a lot more level, and that was important. I mean, that RBI was important, but the knock in the fifth was huge when he pulled that ball down and hit the ball in the hole. Actually that was the fourth run. That was huge. They were all two out RBIs, and this guy hits a triple, he does everything but hit a single tonight. We put ourselves in position to succeed, and we had a lot of guys contribute.
JOE TORRE: Yeah, I'm very surprised. Again, that second game, we got a break. We got a break, and guys got excited about it and really stepped up.
The at bat that Casey Blake had on Thursday, that was huge, nine pitch at bat, and he winds up
walking, Belliard gets a base hit, ties the game, Russell walks, and then
Loretta, who was 0 for 15 against
You've got to throw all that stuff out the window at this point in time, because you know, as much as you like to see what the statistics tell you you should do, you really can't make up for the emotion that goes on in these guys and what they will themselves to do.