10/22/2004 8:39 PM ET
Woody Williams workout day quotes
St. Louis' Game 1 starter gives his thoughts
Q: Could you talk about what an honor it is for you to be the Game 1 starter in the World Series?
WOODY WILLIAMS: It's definitely an honor. As a kid growing up, this is what you play in your backyard and you pretend for, this situation. And here it is, a dream come true.
Very fortunate to have this honor and for my team to have the confidence in me the way they do.
Q: After five or six years with Toronto before you went to the National League, this might be a reach, but was there any sense of relief going to the National League and not having to pitch in this ballpark for all of its quirks and the wall and the rest of it?
WOODY WILLIAMS: Well, I don't really feel that way. But I do know how the fans are here; they are very knowledgeable and very passionate. I'm sure the city is in an uproar right now and very pleased with the way things have gone this year, and I know it's up against the wall. So speaking without trying to be funny, they have a very good lineup and I have to be on top of my game to make sure I keep our team in it to have a chance.
Q: I wonder what it's like for you emotionally and physically, winning a dramatic seven-game series last night and now you're here in Boston preparing for your start tomorrow. Do you have to refuel at all or anything like that?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I think everybody is a little tired today, but last night, you know, we're battling for our lives to see if we go on or if we go home, and the next thing you know, we're here in Boston. So it's been a quick 18 hours or so, but it's well worth it.
Q: You've seen the wall before, I gather. What's it like pitching in front of that green wall? Do you try to not let it affect the way you pitch, I suspect?
WOODY WILLIAMS: Well, the way these guys are hitting in the ballpark, it's amazing how far they hit the ball over that wall. From the time I got to the league to how strong the guys are up and down the lineup now, hopefully the balls will bounce off the wall and make a good play and keep them to a single. I know it's a big home-field advantage, but at the same time, I know that I have to go out there and try to do the things I'm doing.
Q: Try not to change your pattern of pitching?
WOODY WILLIAMS: By no means do I try to change. I have to do what I can do and stick with my strengths and not worry about the surroundings.
Q: After your last start in Houston to have three starts in the postseason, your opponents are averaging .188 or something. How would you explain where you are in your year, over 200 innings and being able to pitch so well, after what you had to go through not only at the start of the season but the end?
WOODY WILLIAMS: As hard as it was early in the season in Spring Training, at the All-Star Break I felt like I was getting to where I wanted to be. It was a long time coming and I didn't know if I would ever get there, but right now I feel as strong as I have all season. The start in Houston, the results were not there, but that's the best I felt all season. If I go back and look at the tape, the ball is in the middle of the plate and it's up. For me to succeed, obviously it's making pitches and changing speeds.
Q: You've been a starter and a reliever in this ballpark; is one better than the other?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I don't think so. Just to be one or the other, to tell you the truth, it's an honor to be here.
Q: Quick question about this potent lineup, you've seen what they have done the past four games, and even these entire playoffs, too. This is a murderers' row just like the Cardinals had to face on offense.
WOODY WILLIAMS: Theo Epstein has definitely made his mark here in Boston and put together a solid team -- not just the hitters, but the pitching as well. He should be commended for that. There's no doubt that I have to make sure that I focus on every hitter. I've got to keep the top of the lineup off the bases because the big boys can definitely make that a three- or four-run inning real quick.
Q: What's it like for a pitcher to pitch in front of a defense like you guys have? And also, I'm curious about the cold weather, does that have any effect at all?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I love pitching in the cold weather. The hardest thing is just staying loose obviously, but it's never affected me.
And as far as the defense, as a pitcher, it's a very good luxury that a lot of teams don't have. Our job as starting pitchers obviously is to keep the team in the game but to just keep the ball in the ballpark and let the defense work.
Q: You mentioned it started to come around for you at the All-Star Break and I think you've won eight of your last ten decisions. Can you attribute that to anything, change in pitch assortment or strength or anything?
WOODY WILLIAMS: I think it's just the strength of my shoulder and the mobility. My shoulder kind of locked up this winter and it was a hard struggle and the strength coach and the trainers were very patient with me. I'm sure the attitude wasn't as good as it needed to be and I was a little frustrated, but they worked hard with me to get me to this point, and for that, I thank them.
Q: Was there an injury per se or just a tight shoulder?
WOODY WILLIAMS: No, just kind of a freak thing. I just went about my business as I always do in the winter, and next thing I know, I'm having a hard time pretty much doing anything.
Q: The Red Sox call themselves "the idiots." Do you guys have a nickname for yourselves?
WOODY WILLIAMS: No, not yet, we don't.
Q: Any possibilities?
WOODY WILLIAMS: No, not that I can -- I don't know. I know a few of those guys, too, so we'll have to wait and see.
Q: Nothing that you can share publicly, right?
WOODY WILLIAMS: That's right.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.