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Ron Gardenhire pregame quotes
10/09/2004 3:41 PM ET
Q: Looking at this Yankees team, how does if compare to the Yankees teams of recent years in your mine?

A: It's a very polished baseball team. The lineup, you know, it's -- people say, well, they're more susceptible this year and I'm trying to figure out to what. Goodness gracious, you go through their lineup and it's not easy.

Not only they're unselfish, Matsui comes up yesterday, and his job is to, shoot a ball the other way; he not only shot the ball that way, but he knocked the living fire out of it. They're very unselfish. They know how to play.

That's what you're dealing with with this Yankees team. It's not a very easy task. You have to shut them down. You can't struggle with them. They'll get you that way too.

Q: How is your centerfielder feeling this morning?

A: He's fine. Torii knocked the wind out of himself. He's ready to go. He'll be out there.

Q: Can you comment on what Cairo meant to that team, does he present problems for you?

A: He's a solid player. He's -- we know all the accolades on him. He's the guy that's going to get on the bases and set the tone for the top of the lineup. You know you're in trouble, because he's on base. They know how to get on the plate, and you come down to Jeter, A-Rod and Sheffield, it seems like every time he comes around there's going to be some trouble. Cairo catches the ball out there, and he'll shoot the ball the other way and make the pitcher work. He's done very well.

Q: Ron, regardless of what happens to you guys, at some time your season is going to end and you have several players who have here a long time, Radke, Guzman, Koskie. What has it been like to manage those guys in the last years? What do you think going forward will be like without some of these guys?

A: You hate to think about a season ending. When it finally does end, however, that may be, there's a lot of tough decisions. We have every winter. We know our restrictions. And we've lost some very good people around here over the last couple years who have meant a lot. Last year, especially this year, Mientkiewicz, we ended up trading him. There's no telling how it's going to turn out this winter. That's the way it is.

To be able to have a chance to manage these guys is what it's all about. Hopefully, we'll be able to keep some of them, if not all of them. We're just going to have to wait and see. Those are the things we have to deal with. These are quality people, not just baseball players.

Q: Does it get frustrating knowing you have to make those choices?

A: I don't get frustrated, I'm with the general manager and we talk all the time. Sure, it's frustrating because you're losing people who you have worked very hard with, and you try to help their career along, and to not be able to re-sign them, or we're regulated in certain ways. It's disappointing.

I also understand where we're at and what we're trying to do here. That's just our system. You live with it you keep working with it. We keep bringing up kids and trying to put them in situations where they'll be ready down the road. That's what we have to do.

Q: Ron, does the tension mount a little bit, I guess especially this game. The last game you had plenty of chances against Brown. Today is the tension mounting? How do you keep the mood lightened?

A: I think we can relax a little bit today and go out and play the game, and the way we played all year long, we'll be better off. We need to relax and play the game. We've got a very good pitcher out there that's going to give us a chance to win, we think.

We have to find a way to score some runs. If we can get a lead, that will make it easier. That's the hard thing to do in the dugout. We've got one game left, that's the way we look at it. We're not playing a double-header. We're playing today's game. We're going to throw everything out, we possibly can go from there. Hopefully, we'll enjoy and relax. It's hard to do when you're getting beat like yesterday, but you still have to go out and play and enjoy the game, and that's what we're going to try to do today.

Q: Ron, when you say "relax," do you think you forced things on the bases the other night, getting two guys thrown out, considering the score?

A: Their hustling, you know. We look at it, and I guess the old book of baseball, you're down and make a silly out, but as a manager, I see too many guys in the game jogging and not trying to get to second base. I applaud my guys. I don't applaud them because we made some mistakes last night, but I applaud the way they play the game. They hustle and bust their tail every night. They're not trying to be superhuman. We play that way all the time.

That was bad base running, but I applaud the way they go after the game, because they run the balls out and they bust their tail, and that's what our team is all about.

Q: Ron, how much inspiration do you think these guys can draw from a few years ago with the Oakland series and how much do you remember of that?

A: It was basically the same situation. I think we were facing Hudson, and we won that game, and that was a pretty big situation. We just came out and played a very good game. That means nothing right now, really. It was a couple years ago.

So we have been there, and it's not all these guys that were on that team either, but we have been there, and it can be done, and that's what you have to explain to these guys. That's what we talked about. We have been there before. It can be done. You have to go out and win one game today, and then you worry about the next one.

If we don't win, it's the send of the season. Let's play and give them everything we can with our head held up. If we win, we go to New York, and that's what it's all about.

Q: Is the lineup pretty much the same or are you going to shake things up?

A: I don't know if there is that much shaking I can do. Normally, on a day game after a night game, we played Lew Ford out in left field, and that's what we've done today. That's a whole lot of shaking. That's the only shaking we've done, and put Santana in there. That's pretty much it for us. We'll give Shannon a little break.

Q: Do you think last night in the 9th inning that can have any carryover effect?

A: Like I said, I think we'll be able to use him for three innings today. That's good. We never quit playing. We take pride in that. They have to get us out for the game to be over with. We kept playing, and they had to bring him in. That says a little bit about our team. I think Joe knows that.

We came back when they were here the last time in the regular season, we tied the game up and ended up losing late. I think he realized that, and that's a little respect for our baseball team, I think.

Q: Ron, I know you can't look too far ahead. Given the circumstances, what kind of confidence do you have in Radke starting in Game 5?

A: Radke has been one of our best pitchers in all of the big games we have had in this baseball team. Radke seemed to be the guy with the ball. We know the one guy that's not going to have any fear will be Radke. He's going to take the ball and give it everything he has, and he's going to throw the ball over and so, if we get there, believe me, he's the right guy to have the ball.

Q: Ron, because of the way the series is set up where you don't have an off day between Games 4 and 5 and have to travel, what does that do for a team's momentum?

A: We're going -- our airplane is going to try to beat the Yankees into town. That's one thing. We're going to stop them at the airport and get out first. You know what, who knows, when you get there. It gets down to what baseball's supposed to be. If we can win today and go to New York, I don't think you can ask for a better scenario of a playoff round for us right now. That's what we want to see happen, and it ought to be very entertaining.

We take a lot of pride in playing the game and busting our tail so we want to win today and get that thing back to New York and take a shot at it and see what happens.

Q: Your team has won three divisional titles in a row so you don't need to prove anything, but is this next step kind of frustrating?

A: That's a tough question. I mean, when you get to this point, all the teams are pretty good, and the teams that are left here, we saw Boston beat Anaheim. We're facing the Yankees. This is very good baseball teams, and frustrating, we want to move on.

Our goal is always to get to the playoffs and get deeper in the playoffs and want to win the World Series again. It is frustrating to not win. When it's all said and done, if we get knocked down, it always is frustrating. That's just baseball, but we'll take pride in getting here and we're going to take pride and try to win this game today and get this thing to New York and try to win this thing and we'll go from there.

After it's all said and done, if we get knocked out, sure, it's going to be disappointing. I don't know about the next step or anything like that. You're playing a very good baseball team. They're not very easy to beat. We're giving them everything we have. That's all we can do as a baseball team, give them everything we have.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.