10/04/07 9:44 PM ET
Drew, Clark pregame interview
D-backs players talk to the media prior to Game 2
By / MLB.com
TONY CLARK: I think it's important, but I think every portion functions the best way they can. Obviously Chicago had an opportunity to add some free agents, and they added quality guys, which obviously have complemented the group that they had already and have gotten them to this point.
This organization had an overhaul, two of them in a very short period of time. You know, the draft and development that this organization has been able to put together the last few years has complemented or has been complemented with a couple of free agent guys, myself included, that have gotten this organization to this point.
So a couple different rounds, but at the same time we're at the same point in October.
Teamwork matters in baseball?
TONY CLARK: Oh, teamwork definitely matters, regardless of what the resumes are. At the end of the day, the team that performs the best, executes the best, often times has a better opportunity at the end of the day to be the team that comes out on top.
Teamwork is important. The group dynamic, fundamentally having 25 guys pointed the same direction sounds cliche ish, but it is very important, and I think that's one big reason why we are where we are right now.
This is for Stephen. I'd like you to talk about being the younger brother of two guys who went on to play in the Major Leagues, and what was it like when J.D. first went to the postseason with St. Louis?
STEPHEN DREW: Growing up we knew the Lord has blessed us with talent, and it was just a matter of time to try to show our talent, and when J.D. and Tim -- Tim was three years younger than J.D., and J.D. got drafted by the Phillies and then decided to hold out a little bit, and then the next year got picked up by St. Louis as you mentioned.
I can still remember, that was his first postseason, and how excited the whole family was. For him to get that experience and then just talking with him today, it's a plus for me because some young guys don't get to experience it the way I do. You know, he's been through it, and when you've got an older brother that you can talk to, it's a big benefit.
Were you physically present at those games? (Paraphrased.)
STEPHEN DREW: Well, you know, I wasn't there. I was just watching it on TV. I wasn't there actually at the games and stuff. But like I said, our family was -- it was an exciting time.
For each of you players, when they're the visiting team, they talk about how they try to block out the crowd. So going into Wrigley Field, how do you guys block out what you know is going to be a real raucous crowd there, if you do?
TONY CLARK: Honestly, any ballpark that you play in that has fans that are extremely supportive of their club are going to continue to be supportive of the club, during 162 or the games during the postseason.
But our job and responsibility once we get on the field and between the lines doesn't change. You focus in on the things that you need to do, realizing that you are in hostile territory. But it doesn't change what your focus or commitment is.
STEPHEN DREW: I mean, Tony said it best. You can't really -- you know the crowd is always going to be there. But like I was telling reporters last night, you get so focused in the game you just block everything else out. You kind of get in a zone, and you've just got to do your job and you've got to just block the crowd out.
When people say you're a leader on this club, what does that mean to you? How do you define that? What needs to be done there?
TONY CLARK: To me a leader is a servant, somebody that makes themselves available to the group, offering whatever experiences that they've experienced to them in hopes of them becoming better ball players, better men, better fathers, better husbands, whatever the case happens to be.
A lot of the guys that are in this clubhouse aren't married, haven't built families yet, are making their first trip around the Major Leagues. So kind of having been there, done that on a number of different levels, I simply make myself available.
And as a testament to them, they ask questions, they'd like to be would like to have an opportunity to play in the big leagues for a long time. So assuming that I've been here for a little while, maybe there's something that I have to offer them. So they'll ask.
But more than anything else, you have to have a group of guys that is receptive and excited about the possibilities of them realizing their potential and willing to ask questions in an effort to get there. That's what we've got.
This is a question for both of you guys. Can you describe what the feeling is like out there in the 9th inning when José Valverde is out there on the mound, and what has he meant to you guys this year?
TONY CLARK: We've been in a lot of one run and two run ballgames, so we've seen obviously José out there a lot, as well as Brandon Lyon and Tony Pena and Cruzy. We've had a number of guys that have complemented our starting pitching that have given us an opportunity late in ballgames to be successful.
Kind of having been there and experienced that, we have a level of confidence when these guys come out of the bullpen that if we can find a way to get that one more run or to get that key situation or make a play defensively behind him as Drewsy's done all year, we're going to have an opportunity more often than not to win a ballgame.
STEPHEN DREW: I think Tony said it best. You look at the whole year. It's like I said to reporters last night. It's very unusual for this team to score 10, 15 runs in a game. So the whole year for us we've been there it'll be a one run game, a two run game in the 9th, and with our closer coming in we have a lot of confidence in him.
He's had a great year. He's picked us up in times that the offense have struggled a little bit. Like he said, TC with Lyon and Pena, they come in in the 8th or the 7th and it really helps out when you've got one run and you know the pitching is going to do their job.
Obviously Lou said this is an important game to them, obviously being down 0 1. Can you talk about the importance level for you guys and the focus level for tonight, going to Chicago 2-0 and how big that would be for you guys?
TONY CLARK: Every game is important this time of year, and as long as you have an opportunity to put on a uniform and go out and play, there's no less significant a game. We'd like to play well tonight. We'd like to be the team that shakes hands at the end of the day, and that's indifferent to a 1 0, 2 0, 2 1, indifferent to where the series is at right now.
Our focus is one game at a time. It has been from the start of Spring Training, all the way through 162 and now. We were fortunate enough to have came out yesterday, but yesterday is done, so we're hopeful to come back out today and try and give ourselves an opportunity to win.
You just heard Tony talk about being a veteran on this team, a leader on this team on and off the field. Can you just tell us what it's been like to have somebody like that that you could turn to and maybe give us an example how he's helped you out this year?
STEPHEN DREW: It's huge. Regardless of -- on the field I think in the clubhouse it's a big plus. I've come to him multiple times and just sat down and chatted with him and tried to pick his brain a little bit and what he has. He's been here for ten years.
You know, this is my first full season, and for a guy like that that has been through a postseason and has had success in his career, for me it's just an exciting time to just kind of pick his brain and to see what I can learn from him and what I can take.
And also, I mean, in the clubhouse he's a great leader, regardless. There's been tough times for me this year I can remember, and he's right there to pick me up. You know, it's great to have that kind of leadership.
This is for Tony. You played in the media capital of the world in New York with a team that's under the most intense microscope in all of baseball, the Yankees. With this team it's a young team, it's the Pacific time zone, it's kind of flown under the radar for much of the season. Can you talk about the differences between that situation that you were in with the Yankees and this one?
TONY CLARK: Well, I think the biggest difference is how we started the season when I was in New York. I had a media person tell me that the entire year they will try and find a reason why the team won't win the World Series, because they expect the team to win the World Series.
This year there was no talk with this group of World Series or postseason. It was, Do you know how to get from the hotel to the ballpark? Are you going to be excited to see the Sorianos and the Derrek Lees, guys that hadn't seen before except on TV. So the entire dynamic was different.
That being said, I was very interested in watching this group come September and being a Pennant race and watch how they responded. They responded no different in September than they did in April and May, and that is focused and committed on the task at hand, indifferent to what was going on around them. And that's why I think we were fortunate enough down the stretch to play well enough to get to the playoffs.
You know, New York the expectation, the payroll, the resumes of the guys that are there, everything is different. Out west baseball doesn't get near the media attention that it does out east. But that being said, we're one of eight teams still playing, and the fact that we're sitting in this room means that flying under the radar and not being paid attention to is no longer the case.
I'm excited, again, for this group and the experiences that they're taking now and through the rest of the postseason and what they're going to be able to do the rest of their careers with it.
Was there a game or a series or a stretch when it sort of kicked in and you said, We have a chance to do something special? Was it the game where you had the three walk offs in a row or you came into Wrigley and beat them two out of three and kind of took off and played really well from there? Was there one incident that more or less got things rolling that you can recall?
TONY CLARK: I think if there was one, we didn't talk about it, to be honest with you. There was never a time where at the end of the game we were patting ourselves on the back and thinking, All right, this is it, now we go. It didn't happen that way.
Again, we committed ourselves to that night's game. I mean, we really did. Whether it was a two game stretch, or I think we had an eight or a nine game stretch where we played well in there, that was great.
But I never heard anybody say if we won eight, let's try and win nine. It just didn't happen that day. The commitment every day was the same: Let's try and find a way to win a ballgame.
Stephen, last night you made a comment about the first time you faced Zambrano. You hadn't seen him and didn't know quite how to react, and you got more comfortable. Talk about Lilly and what you expect from him tonight.
STEPHEN DREW: I've faced him twice all year, so that's just -- two at-bats is really nothing. He's a great pitcher. He's done well all year. It's like I said, we're just going to go up there and try to get good quality ABs and get guys on, and hopefully something works out. But other than that, it's a grind up there.
You know, when you haven't faced a guy -- if you have 20 at-bats it's a different story. When you've got two at-bats like I have all year, it's going to be a different story. I don't know what to expect actually until I get in the game and see what he has.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.