10/09/2010 2:38 PM ET
Pregame Interview With Michael Young
Q. You have been here quite a few years, did you ever think you'd see this day, playing a home game in this stadium?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Yeah, I visualized it happening many times. And we knew it this year we had an opportunity to really make it happen. You know, we know in the postseason we are playing good teams, facing good pitching. But this team has a ton of confidence, and we believe we can make good things happen out there.
Q. With your experience here, how difficult was this to not just to get the right kind of team together to win, but to change the culture here, of the expectations for a franchise that has never had a winning postseason series.
MICHAEL YOUNG: To be honest with you, since I have been here we've always had a bunch of guys that wanted to win. This year we had much better players. Better players, better team. Having said that, the guys we brought in are really talented, but they are also quality guys. They come with the right attitude. They come with the attitude that we all share. It is a very blue collar atmosphere, guys that want to play hard and play to win. It has been a lot of fun to be a part of that.
So even the guys that have a ton of talent, even the guys we brought in in the middle of the season, in that sense they fit in right away.
Q. How important was it to keep the continuity with Wash coming back? And then there was that question at the beginning of Spring Training, but to have that translate into this time.
MICHAEL YOUNG: Having Wash here this year was important. The players all tell you the same thing. That's why we were so adamant in Spring Training, making sure we were on the same page that we supported each other and that we wanted the right people in place going forward. And that started with Wash. As a matter of fact it starts and ends with Wash. He's the manager, he makes the important decisions. He's the guy that has to have the respect in our clubhouse. And he has had it for a long time now. We couldn't be happier that he is our manager.
Q. Michael, was the claw and antler thing, did it have to wear on you for a little bit before you accepted that? That is a little different to be doing that out there on the field. Was that something that was a slow thing with you or did you embrace it?
MICHAEL YOUNG: I embraced it right away. We didn't think it would take on a life of its own so far, with grandpas and grandkids doing it. But amongst us players it was something we did pretty much in Spring Training. It started out small, it started in BP in Spring Training on the back fields. And started doing it in games and fans got ahold of it and it took on a life of its own. It is a small way for to us show some camaraderie, show some support.
Q. Michael, are you surprised not so much to be up but to win games as decisively as you did against a team that led the American League? And what does it mean going forward?
MICHAEL YOUNG: I expect them to be ready to play. They had the best record in the league for a reason, because they are real good club. I think that the reason we won without a doubt is because we had two well pitched games; the guys threw strikes, got defense involved. And our pitchers did a great job and that's pretty much what it was.
We expect tough games. I think I said this before, I think in the postseason you can push play on a tape recorder. Everybody is good, everybody
will come to play, play hard and good pitching and defense. And we will try to out execute people.
Q. You were talking about things beginning and end with Wash. When he got here obviously he had not been a manager before. Talk about how he progressed and has grown as a manager.
MICHAEL YOUNG: It has been a lot of fun, it is my fourth year playing for Wash now. You know when he first got here, this was his first managerial gig and he has been great. You see, just like I am sure managers like to see progression in their players, you know, when he got here I had already been around awhile and it is great to see Wash become the manager he is now. Someone who commands respect from the players, makes good decisions in games and is loyal. From a players' standpoint I can't ask for much more than that.
Q. When Jon Daniels took over here, did he speak with you at all as a veteran on the team to articulate how he wanted to get this team to be a winner?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Yeah, he did, and it was pretty easy. I mean, we all knew what it would take to win. I think it was just kind of a gradual progression and make sure we got the right guys in place. Some teams can get there quicker than others. We went through a rebuilding phase where a took a couple of years but WE got it done. We got the right guys in place, we got the right guys in spots. And the next thing you know it was just all team going forward. And a couple of wins later we start believing in ourselves and now here we are.
Q. You talked about the confidence of this team, how much of that did you see in Spring Training, and how much of it grew as the season progressed?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Yeah, we knew coming into Spring Training we were ready to roll. We had a good team last year. We fell short of our goal, but we had a good team last year. And that carried right over into Spring Training. We had a good team and the next thing we have Vladdy, Darren Oliver, Colby Lewis and a couple of other big additions, and we hit Spring Training ready to roll. And combine that with the fact we went out and got some big players midseason, and we knew we had a chance to do some good things.
Q. Michael, something like this doesn't happen unless a lot of things come together. But can you look back, you have been here, can you look back over the last three or four years and see a particular turning point for this franchise?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Tough to point at one thing. Like I said, it is more of a really gradual, gradual thing. I remember in '07 we traded Tex, that was a tough spot for me. I mean, just a long time teammate, a great player. And the next thing you know we started seeing the kids that we traded Tex for showed up in Spring Training, kind of showing what they got. And you start thinking, wow, when these kids grow up they are going to be pretty good. They grew up a lot quicker than we thought they would, and we had three or four spots filled up just from that trade. Obviously or shortstop, our closer, big trades, a left handed pitcher doing really well for us. And that was one big moment.
But apart from that, it was just a gradual things. Guys kind of settling into their roles and believing this is a team that can do some good things.
Q. You talked a little bit about the progression of things over the last several years. I was wondering about the progression of things during this season. Do you think that there was a stretch of games or a move that Daniels made or some specific place along the road where it turned into a very concrete feeling about where this club could go?
MICHAEL YOUNG: Man, there was a couple of stretches where we weren't playing our best baseball, and I think when you're trying to make your first postseason run you have to constantly prove things to yourself as a team. I can't really put my finger on one spot, but every team goes through rough stretches during the year and we responded every time. And when we responded it was always a nail biter, one run games. Home or road we found a lot of ways to battle and win the games. We are constantly proving things to ourselves that we can get this done at a high level.
When we hit September we had a stretch where we weren't playing very well, we responded and won about seven in a row at that point. At that point we knew that there wasn't anything that we couldn't respond to. And that's been a good