Kenny Rogers pregame interview
Tigers pitcher discusses the postponement of Game 2 of the ALDS and preparing to pitch in Game 3 in Detroit
Obviously you're not pitching today, but just as a player, how bizarre was last night, just going through all of the ins and outs of the plans, and then basically being homeless for a little while in New York City?
KENNY ROGERS: Well, I think we were all disappointed. We were ready to play and really wanted to get back to Detroit, play this one and get back to Detroit. But I don't think anyone minds playing in better weather.
Did you have an opportunity to travel early to Detroit, and why did you decide to stay here?
KENNY ROGERS: No. It's a day game. It's nothing different than the regular season. So I'll get in seven or eight o'clock and be able to stay and watch my team play and try to root them on to a win.
What's your recollection of your post season appearances with the Yankees in '96 and how do you think those experiences have helped you and shaped you along the way?
KENNY ROGERS: Without a doubt, I benefitted, whether it was successful or not, I think any time your experience level rises in this situation, you benefit from it. I think I'm no different than most people.
But being able to go through that with the Yankees, which is another level in itself, whether I was ready to deal with it at the time or not, I benefitted from it.
For me as a player, I think still being here, still pitching at this level and at this point in my career, going through what I did with New York made me better in a lot of ways. Made me a lot stronger, too.
Leyland was talking about an adjustment you had to make in the second half, he said there was a point maybe you were over throwing a little bit, what did you learn from that?
KENNY ROGERS: I think I had a period of time right around the break, I felt great, I felt pretty good, but I was starting to throw the ball a little bit harder, which is not something I benefit from. Whether it was mechanical or whatever, I felt physically fine, and usually that's a good thing for most people. But I'm used to feeling off most days, so I make my adjustments.
So I had to get back to pitching a little bit and not trying to do more than I was capable of doing. But I made the necessary adjustment and pitched pretty well in the second half, so I'm usually that's what I do during my whole career. I've had to make constant adjustments with whatever I have to work with that day or that year, and this was though different. Where I am at this stage in my career, it's a little harder and harder to make those adjustments.
We know you're the veteran leader of a staff with a lot of young talent. Last night do you think that your starting pitcher got jerked around a little bit, and did you have to talk to him or did it bother him?
KENNY ROGERS: No, I don't think it bothered very much at all. He's got confidence and he's got great stuff. I know when he sets out there, he's as good as anybody in the League. Whether it's yesterday or today, he's going to go out there and give a good account of himself.
You've had the opportunity to play both under Joe Torre and Jim Leyland. How would you compare playing under two of the better managers that have ever worked in this game?
KENNY ROGERS: Well, I think Joe has a little more difficult time in New York dealing with different aspects. But I've enjoyed Jim Leyland as much as I have any other manager by far. Things have went very well, but he's such a consistent person, I guess, in a lot of ways. There's really no gray area with Jim. I appreciate that a lot. He tells you what he's if he's thinking something is wrong, he addresses this then and he doesn't let it linger on and manifest into something bigger.
But I've enjoyed him tremendously, and very, very fortunate that I came to Detroit for sure.
Now that some time has passed, do you view your years in New York any differently than you might have immediately after?
KENNY ROGERS: Yeah, probably. I think anyone that plays here, for me especially, I think I came here at a time where I was willing to accept a different challenge. I wanted to see where I was at as a player. And after all is said and done, whether I was a perfect Yankee or not, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I went out there every time, never made an excuse, never needed one, but whenever they gave me the ball, I went out there and gave them the best effort I could. I was hopeful that would be appreciated and I felt like that's all you can do as a player.
Going through that, it made me better in a lot of ways. But all things being equal, I guess, it would have been really nice to do it I guess and win the 20, 25 games I should have won the first year, but didn't happen.
I remember at the '96 parade, you had a really good time. What are your memories of that?
KENNY ROGERS: It was unbelievable. Those types of things for any player, but they don't come along very often. And whether I was a big part or a small part, for me, I knew what I had given physically or whatever to this team. I felt proud of what I did. My first year, I was more proud of that year than I was of any year I've ever had. You might wonder how, but it's not always about the end results. It's about the effort and the dedication going through your job and doing the job you were brought in to do.
I felt like I did that, without a doubt. I think there's a lot of people that don't go out there when things aren't perfect. I'm not one of those guys. I go out there every time I'm supposed to, and then some. I probably made the mistake of talking my manager into letting me into the game too many times, but just the way I am.
I enjoy the competition, I enjoy the challenge, and pitching against the Yankees tomorrow will be as big a challenge as I've probably ever faced. But I'm ready and willing to accept that and go out there and do the best that I can and feel like that will be enough.
Along those lines, can you talk about the Yankee lineup that you're going to face tomorrow and the challenges, obviously, rock solid one through nine?
KENNY ROGERS: Well, I think it will be on their lineup is just going to be what the PlayStation 3 comes out with. That's the lineup that's going to be there, .350 everybody, homers and whatever, it will rival any lineup that's ever been out there. I know they are great. I know they have fantastic players.
Just the only way to categorize it is if you've got Bernie Williams sitting on the bench, you know you've got an unbelievable team, an unbelievable lineup. I'm going to go out there and challenge them and do what I do and try to make quality pitches to gets through the game and give us a chance to win.
How often, taking you on a history lesson here, but how often do you wear your '96 ring, and after they traded you, they went ahead and won two more World Series, which if you had stayed here you might have been a part of; any thoughts about longing to be part of that?
KENNY ROGERS: Honestly, probably not, because I think it was better for me at the time to go out there and pitch. I didn't pitch the second year I was here very much after surgery the first year. I pitched very sparingly I think. So knowing where I wanted my career to go, I needed to go and pitch somewhere and felt like I could get to where I could be as a player.
The only disappointment I have is probably not fulfilling the expectations I had for myself. But like I said, I know what I was willing to do was enough for me and I was hopeful that it would be enough for everyone else.
And the ring?
KENNY ROGERS: The ring, my son's wore it, I'm not sure where he's got it. But he's kept it in his room and he takes it out once in awhile and I'm hopeful that he hasn't lost it yet.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.