Willie Randolph pregame interview
Mets manager comments on Floyd, Delgado and Reyes
What's the update on Cliff, please.
WILLIE RANDOLPH:The update on him, he had an ultrasound today and there was no further damage found in the ultrasound. We'll hopefully have him ready for pinch hitting duties tonight. He won't start tonight, but hopefully we'll have him for pinch hitting duty tonight.
Just in light of that, you talk about what Endy brings to your team, we obviously saw the defense a little bit last night, but just what he's brought to you guys.
WILLIE RANDOLPH:Whenever I talk to anybody about Endy this year, not enough superlatives to go around for the young man. He's been tremendous for us all year. Again, I always talk about his defense and how important it is to the success of our ballclub, and he's always ready to play right field, to me one of the best defensive players in the game. And he's made some great adjustments offensively, which is something that he worked real hard at in the batting cage, and he's just made tremendous strides as a player. And to me, he's one of the true MVPs of this ballclub. You're always comfortable putting him in the ballclub, he's always ready to play and he's done an outstanding job for us.
What has Delgado meant for your team off the field and in the clubhouse?
WILLIE RANDOLPH:Off the field he's a great teammate. He's always been solid, very consistent every day. He brings the same approach and attitude. His work ethic is impeccable every day. That obviously rubs off on a lot of guys. He's a good friend, and someone that just lends to the whole camaraderie, just to the lightness in the clubhouse, just the way he plays the game. So he's just solid, another guy that I could talk about for a long, long time here because he's one of those true professionals that knows how to play the game and understands his responsibility as a leader on the ballclub.
With Cliff, do you think he would be able to play the field again in this series, or are you anticipating that pinch hitting is all he'll be able to do?
WILLIE RANDOLPH:I hope so. Just a matter of how comfortable he feels moving around on the leg. But right now we're going to use him as a pinch hitter, and hopefully as the days go on, day to day, if you will, he'll feel better and better and we can get him back out there.
You saw an awful lot of Delgado in the American League when he was in Toronto, he was a good player but he never got into the postseason. Do you wonder coming into this how would he react and do in this kind of situation?
WILLIE RANDOLPH:I felt very comfortable going into this that he would handle it well. Again, he's very solid. You could tell when a guy exudes confidence, when he believes in his ability, it has a lot to do with it. You're always going to have doubts, and confidence is a big part of being a great player. But you watch Carlos over the years, it always disturbed me a little bit because he's almost too relaxed. When I was at third base giving the signs, he would always talk to my guys on first base and I would get on his case about shutting his mouth because he's always talking. But that shows how relaxed he is, and when you're relaxed, your team will play better. He's very confident, so he doesn't go up and down emotionally. You know, those are all attributes and things that to me are conducive to playing under pressure and playing in big spots. And when you get to a platform like this or a stage like this, you know how to handle yourself, because you believe that if you're in sync and if you're playing well and you're healthy, you're going to do well. He just carries himself like he knows he's bad. He's bad, you know, that's all, that's the way he is. (Laughter.) You can tell that, he has a certain swagger and that's why you don't see him get frustrated and you don't see him, you know, change as his mood. It's just a great way to be. It reminds me a lot of Jeter in the way he has this inner confidence and this certain belief that, you might get me, but I'm going to get you back.
Just one more thing about Cliff. When you and Ray went out to talk to him after the foul ball, what did Cliff say to you and in your mind right there did you know he was going to come out when the inning ended?
WILLIE RANDOLPH:He just said that he felt something grab. He said he wanted to finish the at bat, but he didn't think could he play defense. I said, finish up and we'll get Endy out there.
I apologize for one more Delgado question, but I just want to follow up on what you were saying before. When you said you got on his case, how rare is that to talk to an opposing player and what were those conversations when you used to talk to him?
WILLIE RANDOLPH:He got mad at me one time because I really got on his case because I was really getting frustrated: Shut your mouth, you're over there yapping all the time, and my guys are missing signs and you're pulling at them and talking to them. It was good natured, but I don't think he took it too well. (Laughter.) I'm sure he got over it. I've known Carlos for a long time. We always talked about being on the same team, or I always told him we were going to get him over in New York, and maybe not play together, but, you know, we would be together one day. So when this happened, obviously I was ecstatic and he was happy to be here. So I kind of told him -- I told him: "We're going to be together one day," and I'm glad he's here.
In the past, you've talked about a guy like Reyes getting amped up for the big games. Do you think that's a bit of a concern now, do you talk to him a little bit about it?
WILLIE RANDOLPH:I think as we go along he'll probably settle in a little bit more. The more you're in this environment and you kind of get the cobwebs and kinks out, I think it will be better as we move along. It's natural, we all go through it. Some guys get out of the chute quick, and sometimes when you're high energy like that, it's tough to channel that energy. That's what he's going through right now. He just needs to get it out of his system and hopefully it will be tonight. Yeah, he's going to settle in before too long. It's like the opening part of the season, like Opening Day. You come out the first part of Opening Day and you have the same type of energy and anxiety and you want to get started. When you've never experienced it before, you have to go through it. All of the players I've been around, including myself, you always seem to do a little bit better when you're young after you've had the experience. But hopefully in this case things will speed up a little bit and he'll get going tonight and the rest of the year.
What are you expecting out of Carpenter tonight? I'm sure they don't want to go back down 2-0.
WILLIE RANDOLPH:He's one of the best pitchers in the game. That's an easy one, man. He's tough. Just play our game. Everyone comes to a game with expectations and we know what he brings to the table, but we have to play our game and make sure to get good pitches to hit. He's got all four pitches, Cy Young winner. I can just talk about where he's come from as far as being with -- I saw him when he first came up as a kid with Toronto, he and Roy Halladay; they were two studs in the game and they have both taken off, and he on his own as one of the premiere pitchers in the game. We have our work cut out for us. We have always stepped up to challenges, and we've done it all year long and we're looking forward to this. This is the only game in town and everybody will be watching and my boys will be ready to go.
Mets have a pretty significant payroll, too, but yet, you're still perceived as underdogs and scrappy. Why do you think that is, despite the fact that your payroll is up there?
WILLIE RANDOLPH:Well, it's not about the payroll, of course. For me it's about the attitude and the players you have on your team, your personality. This team, you know, I actually talked about this with the team a little bit when I first got the job. We get after a play, the way I'd like to you play, this team is really going to go far, it's like playing like New Yorkers and since I'm a New Yorker, I can relate to the attitude and the fight and the passion. These guys are taking that lead. It's important to have players who understand what that means, but I think because we play aggressive baseball, because we play hard, because we don't give up, because we don't concern ourselves with who is here and who is not. We don't make excuses. That's really a part of who we are. So it's okay to make money, I guess, right. Payroll is high, but it's what you bring to the table every day. Our guys believe in just understanding that we're fortunate to be here, but still got to get after it. And I love the attitude of this team, because I think that we play like we live here; we do.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.