09/30/2002 8:17 pm ET
Sanders: We're a sleeper
Heading into the playoffs, I think we're more of a sleeper type team. We've been able to sleep our way in, even though we have a great team and a great pitching staff. You don't really hear about our staff much, but I think what they've done has been overshadowed by Randy [Johnson] and by Curt [Schilling] and the top-name guys. So when we step into town and then when our pitchers do as well as they do, it's like, 'Who is [Kirk] Rueter and who is [Russ] Ortiz?'
We're not so worried about the experience or the Braves or what they've done or anything; basically, everybody's on an even plane. We've got to go out there and perform and the best man wins. People talk about how much experience the Braves have, but it goes out the window because of what we did last year where we didn't have that many experienced guys in Arizona. It's all about the heart. It's all about the determination. Having been there last year, the only advice I can give is never give up. Keep working hard. We were [behind] in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and ended up winning.
It always seems like someone other than the superstar steps up becomes a hero, and that's probably what you're going to see this series. You're going to forget about somebody and somebody's going to end up stepping up for us. That's what it's all about. It's a team effort. This whole season we've done it with everybody in this clubhouse, and that's what we're going to have to do in the postseason.
Barry Bonds is going to have to help but he's not going to have to carry us. He didn't have to carry us this year. He helped us this year. Somebody asked me the question the other day, talking about his postseason history and what he hasn't been able to do and I said, "I don't care if he doesn't do anything in the postseason. He's had a wonderful career."
As for facing Tom Glavine, you just have to take what he gives you. You try not to overdo it with any of those pitchers because they won't give in. They're very patient and they pitch backwards. You think you're going to get a fastball pounded inside and they throw a changeup. ... I think we have to be very patient with the Braves pitching staff. You know that you're going to get -- balls out over the plate and away. That's just the way they pitch.
Of course, since I played for the Braves there's always some special memories, some kind of added juice there. It's also special that I get a chance to see my family. I'm from South Carolina so I get a chance to see a lot of people that I haven't seen in awhile.
I know that the theory is to go on the road and split but what we need to do is go one game at a time and not worry about that. We would love to split or win two. That's the ideal, but we have to go out and play and see what happens.
As told to Josh Rawitch, a reporter for MLB.com who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.