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Bernie Williams off-day quotes
10/14/2004 2:27 PM ET
Q. This is an old question, but what is it about October that seems to bring something special to your game?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: I wish I knew how to answer that question.

I guess, you know, we tend to focus a little bit more. Just the atmosphere, you know, everything seems to be electrified and magnified. Every pitch counts. Every at-bat counts. I think we focus a little bit more. Not that I don't focus during the season, but it seems to bring something special in me.

Q. What was your reaction when you first found out that Olerud was going to be joining the team, and what were your expectations?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: I've always admired the way he played the game, the way he carried himself on and off the field. I always thought he was a great hitter, very underrated.

But I've been playing against him since those Blue Jays teams in '92, '93 and he was unstoppable, and he has been very consistent through the years. So I was looking forward to having the opportunity to play with him and just pick his brain a little bit about the way he goes about hitting. He has been a great addition, obviously, to our team.


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Q. The Red Sox announced earlier that Curt Schilling will not pitch Game 5; there's obviously a question about whether he'll pitch at all. What bearing does that have on your attitude, your approach in the series emotionally; does it give you more confidence, does it matter?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: Obviously, for the Red Sox to lose a pitcher of that caliber has to affect them. Obviously, I thought he was thinking that he had something to prove on his next outing, knowing the way he performed on his prior outing.

There's some questions about his injury and obviously, we feel that we are a little bit more comfortable without him pitching. But we can't really think too much about that because they have a couple more quality pitches in that staff. They are going to be able to do the job, try to do the job, so we have to be ready for them.

When the season started, all of the talk was about Curt and Pedro being the 1, 2 punch, and it seems like it has turned out in a way that when they have needed him the most, he might not be available. So that obviously is going to play in our favor.

Q. Before the series started, that 1, 2 punch that you talked about was what people thought gave Boston an advantage. If you had your two best pitchers going and you came out with -- you figured maybe a split would be the worst you could do, do you think you've given them a blow, considering they went out with their two best pitchers and they didn't come out with a win at all?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know how to answer that question. Because in a short series, anything can happen.

We had two great performances by our starting pitchers. I think there's a lot of credit to be given to Jon Lieber because nobody really expected him to do as well as he did. Saying that, you know, it's always uncertain in a situation when you play a short series; it just has turned out to be this way and we just have to make sure that we keep our momentum going into the next couple of games and try to play the best that we can and try to take them as soon as we can.

Q. You've had a lot of new faces on the club this year, A-Rod comes in, Sheffield comes in; how has your role in the clubhouse and on the field evolved since maybe last year or the year before?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: My role hasn't really changed that much. I think most of the burden of being vocal in the team has fallen on Derek. But I think we have so many guys that have played on this team, you know -- well, maybe since '96, Derek and Jorge and Mariano and myself and the guys that have come after, most of the guys are like veterans, they know what it takes to prepare themselves day-in and day-out for the daily grind of a 162-game season.

A lot of them have played in the playoffs as well. My role has been just be myself, just try to push the game as I have all of these years and try to lead by example, try to show them the way that we do play the game within the organization. Obviously trying to win every game and make sure that we carry ourselves accordingly, on and off the field. My role hasn't really changed that much. It has been just be myself, I guess.

Q. Yankee Stadium, many players say that Yankee Stadium is the most intimidating place to come and play a game. Would you feel that way if you were an opponent and how does the atmosphere at Fenway Park, can Fenway be as intimidating as Yankee Stadium?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: I think so. I think the fans are as passionate as any fans in baseball.

The fact that Fenway Park tends to be a little bit closer on the players and it's so -- the atmosphere just seems to be so much more closer than Yankee Stadium. You can feel the fans almost breathing down your neck when you're in the on-deck circle. And whatever they have to say, they will say it to you; they won't hold back.

But I think a lot of people feed off of that and try to get them motivated to play. You can get intimidated and you can use it as motivation to raise your level of playing another notch. Some people are able to do that, and I would like to say that I'm one of them.

Q. The Yankees have always had a businesslike approach, that's part of their success. What's the mood of the team right now? You're up 2-0, it's businesslike, you haven't won anything yet; how is the confidence level and how is everybody feeling?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: I would not say businesslike, per se. I think we have a lot of fun. Not that we let a lot of people see it, but within the confines of the team, whoever is on that roster right now, joke around and we try to have a good time and we try to savor the moment because we feel very fortunate to be in this position. Even though a lot of people take it for granted, it's not easy to be in the position that we are year-in and year-out.

We are feeling pretty good. We are obviously -- we have been in this situation before, on both sides of the coin, so to speak. We've been in the losing situation many times and we've been in the winning situation. So I think right now we are just on an even keel. We are trying to go about our business, so to speak, as good as we can right now. Go through the practices and make sure that we prepare ourselves mentally and physically to play these games that are going to be as important as any game.

Q. You've said you've been in this position before on the losing end; does that help you maintain a killer instinct?

BERNIE WILLIAMS: Yeah, no doubt about that. I think our attitude is, you know, we can't let our guards down. We have to go out and think that it's still, you know, a tight series. Now we are in a position that we can strike and try to put the king blow killing blow on the situation and that's not going to be easy. Those guys, they might be joking around all the time, but that team is no joke. They come out to play. When it's time for business, they come out there and they can play as well as anybody in the League, so we know that.

I think part of the reason that we have been successful is that we respect our opponents. We do not underestimate them and we obviously are coming in thinking that they are going to give us a run for our money.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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