10/12/06 6:04 PM ET
Willie Randolph pregame interview
Randolph talks about instilling a winning attitude in his players
By / MLB.com
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No. Everything's the same. Everything's the same.
Are you concerned at all about five consecutive games, what that can do to your bullpen?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No. Guys have been resilient all year long. They are well rested, and you know, I'm always the type of person that it is what it is.
You know, it's just like the regular season. You know, you play sometimes two weeks in a row without an off day. So it's no different. Five days should be nothing for us. Everybody will be ready to go and everybody is geared up for this opportunity. That to me isn't really a concern at all. It's five days that you have to be ready to go. If we have to make some adjustments as we go day to day as we've done all year, we will. No change or deviations at all for me. Just play the game.
Two part question on Jose Reyes. The special combination of skills that he possesses, does that remind you of anybody currently in the past that you've seen or played with? And second part of that question, has he reached his potential, and if not, yet, how much better can he become?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, you know, there's a lot of guys that are very similar to what he brings to the table as far as speed and his defense and you know, obviously he's at a different age that it's tough to compare guys. His overall talent is as good as anyone's. I haven't really thought about comparisons. I don't even like to do that really. It's just in some cases unfair, because it's different levels of maturity that you have to put in place there. The lineup, the way you look at a guy, what he does for your team. But he can definitely get better. He's going to get better. He's a phenomenal talent basically and he's gotten better and better the last year and a half I've been here and he's just going to continue to soar, I believe. He's still very young and immature in some ways, physically and mentally, from the aspect of knowing and playing the game.
You have to realize both David and I put David in that category, too. They are very young. Because they are talented doesn't mean that they have played a lot of baseball, that baseball experience that a lot of guys need. It's scary to think what he can do, because he's getting stronger, he's learning the strike zone. He's starting to feel comfortable as far as getting the game down and understanding what he does, weaknesses strengths. I'm real proud of him because he's made great, great progress but I think Mets fans are going to be in for a real treat as we go along because he's going to get better and better and he's one of the more exciting players in the game.
The Mets had some pretty down years before you got the job here and you talked about establishing a winning attitude that you brought over from the Yankees. Is it already instilled; do you think this team has that winning attitude now or is it a work in progress or how do you think you've done on that?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: It's still a work in progress. I think that my coaching staff and I have brought home our ability and style of what our players want to do. A lot of that comes from what they want, also, and that's winning. Even though we haven't really won anything yet in my mind, because I think that you're judged ultimately by championships and that to me is world championships.
But, yeah, they have obviously bought into what we're doing because we've been consistent since we've been here. From day one we've tried to preach and work towards that common goal and attitude about going out every day and playing the game and playing unselfishly and we wouldn't be where we are right now if we didn't pretty much buy into that. But we have to stay consistent with that. We have to continue to work with players to be as mindful of that every day as you can. That's how you really get to where you want to go is bring that to the table every day, and we've been pretty consistent with that. So I'm real proud of the commitment they have made to each other and to the organization and to playing for each other.
We're going to continue to move along and refine it in some ways as we can as we move along.
How much of that winning attitude is confidence and instilling in the team an expectation that we do what we do, we are going to win, we are going to advance?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: That's why we talk -- that's what we've talked about from day one. It's the way you carry yourself, it's the way you communicate with each other obviously. It's what you expect.
I'm always positive with my players, but what I say to them is always about winning and when you come to an organization, you try and implement that mind set, that's how you feed them and it's nice to have players that are receptive to that.
Omar has done a great job of bringing in players that are ready to take the next step and go to the next level and are really receptive to what we're talking about as a staff and as a team and how we want to find a way or build the way we play; build a way of playing the game, and we're just starting to do that, and we're taking some nice steps so far.
Whenever you ask a ballplayer on the Mets about an individual accomplishment he always talks about his teammates. I just wanted to know if you think the unselfishness of this ballclub contributed in a big way to the team's success.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, I think so. Sometimes we are a little selfish, too, and that's getting over that hump. It's natural. It's a human instinct, and it's not because they want to be selfish. They want to succeed and do well.
So bringing everybody into the fold and understanding that we have to totally submit to any type of selfishness is what we're trying to work towards.
But it's evident, you can see in the way we play, everyone can't be perfect, but just the way we go about our business, you can see that that's our mind set and we try to execute and at times you don't do it, that's the way it is; we've all been there.
But the fact that we are where we are today just means that the guys have really made a conscious effort to try to do whatever they can, to help this team get this far, so that's very important.
Just curious if you have any reaction to having tomorrow night's game at 8:00 instead of 1 o'clock or 4 o'clock considering you have to fly to St. Louis and play the next day again.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: They do, too, so you play no matter what time it is. This time of year you can't let little things like timing of the game get in the way of preparation for a game. What is it, two, three hours difference. We'll be back home, go to the hotel, get your rest. The St. Louis Cardinals are in the same boat, obviously. So we feel we'll be prepared and ready to go. I have no preference, really. It's out of our hands, so we're ready to take the field whenever they say go.
Getting back to Jose for a second, when you first got here, how much of his success now was sort of him learning how to be on the field every day, preparing every day and sort of overcoming the little bumps and bruises and that kind of thing?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Health is a big key for him. He's had injuries in the past and hamstring problems, he's done a great job on his own every day to stretch out and do his exercises. He's done a very, very diligent job of that. I see him in the weight room a lot.
Yeah, he deserves a lot of credit for that and our training staff has been on him every day about getting his work in. He's there every day getting his work in. He's there every day stretching out and he understands the only way he's going to really be the player he can be is to stay on the field and stay strong all year long. He's one of those guys that you really can't get him out of the lineup, he's been so happy about what he's doing, but also understanding his job as our catalyst to be out there every day, the responsibility, and I think he feels that.
With the Tigers and the A's in the American League advancing, does that show any sort of signal that baseball maybe is achieving a little bit of a level of parity in your mind, maybe the wealth is being spread around a little bit talent wise?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, to me, every year is totally different. You just look at teams, and I think a lot of it can be contributed to the Minor League system and being patient with the organizations, individual organizations.
But, no, I just think that every year is just totally different. Teams are getting better. You know, teams are starting to put together the types of teams that are conducive to maybe their style of play a little bit more. For instance, like Minnesota, I think they have done a great job over the years of finding the players and getting the players to understand how to play in the Metrodome and other clubs are the same way. It really just means, when is it your time to go out and be the team that you can be and for the guys to really have the years at the proper time and to execute at the proper time to get you where you want to go.
Parity, you can always find that in every sport, but I think that for me, it's a very individual thing and every year is totally different. You turn the page and just see what falls out of the tree.
You obviously had your share of starting pitching injuries this year, can you talk about how Trachsel stepped into the void for you?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Stepped into the void?
Yeah, you know --
WILLIE RANDOLPH: All year?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: 15 games for us this year. Exactly. He's been pretty consistent for us all year, as a matter of fact one of our most consistent starters. Obviously he's a guy that knows how to pitch, and his veteran presence is very comforting with our club because we have a good offensive ballclub that's going to keep new ballgames and give you innings and that's important.
To me it doesn't matter that we score a lot of runs for him. I always talk about the fact that we score a lot of runs for him, but he kept us in a lot of games, too. That's why when it's time to give him the ball, I don't hesitate. I've always admired the way he competes. When he goes out on the mound, he's a little bit methodical but he gets the job done. And we respond to what he does on the field for us. So he's been as consistent as anyone on our ballclub and even though he's had ups and downs like a lot of our staff, he's always willing to take the ball and go out there and give us what he's got.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.