Oct. 19 Chris Young pregame interview
Q. Can you just talk about what it means to you that the faith that Ned and his staff had in you to name you the No. 4 starter?
CHRIS YOUNG: Oh, as I've said all along, I'm here to help the team any way I can. Whether that's starting, relieving.
From the outset of the season when I started here, I had a conversation with Dayton, I said, Look, I want to be a part of a winning club. I believe I can contribute, help your team, and I'll do whatever you need me to do. And the Royals said, Okay, we'd love to have you.
Now to have this opportunity, I just can't thank the organization enough for believing in me, whether it was in the beginning of the season or here now in the Postseason.
Q. Your career is a study in perseverance. Do you love the game that much or are you just a stubborn guy?
CHRIS YOUNG: Probably a combination of both. But ultimately I do, I love the game. It's just the element of competition, being out there. As I said, there's nothing that I found that I love more to do for a living than playing baseball. And I'm just grateful for everything the game has given me and the opportunity to continue to play.
Certainly there have been some challenges, it's not the way you'd script a career, by any means, but hopefully the best is yet to come.
Q. As a fly ball pitcher in a hitter's park, do you have to make adjustments or do you approach it the same you would in any other ballpark?
CHRIS YOUNG: Well, as I've said before, you have to make good pitches, no matter where you are. And I've had bad games in pitcher's parks and good games in hitter's parks. The challenge is to make good pitches, execute pitches, choose the right pitches and if you do that more often than not you're successful, no matter where you are.
So certainly it's a great lineup. I've got my work cut out for me. But I'm excited for the challenge and the opportunity and it will be a great environment. I saw the games against Texas and it just looked awesome. Fans here are tremendous. And it's going to be a great experience.
Q. You may not have been a fan of your use in the second half of the year, where they seemed to really monitor your innings, based on last year's results, I don't know. Can you talk about how that went and if it's having any benefit in this part of the season?
CHRIS YOUNG: I feel great physically, whether that's because I had the limited innings in the second half or all the training and the offseason I had to strengthen and condition myself as compared to the last few years, where I've been rehabbing. I think it's all a combination.
But ultimately I don't think there's a way to say it's one thing or another. Certainly I am where I am. I feel good and excited to take the ball and help the team any way I can.
Q. Along the same lines, those last two starts you had in the regular season and the relief appearance in the playoffs, you're throwing a ton of strikes, you're down in the zone. Is there anything that you did physically or mentally that got you in the right place?
CHRIS YOUNG: No, again, it comes back to just trying to make good pitches. Be aggressive, make good pitches and execute a game plan. As a pitcher there's really two things you can control: Pitch selection and pitch execution. And I felt like those games I did a pretty good job of both.
Salvy behind the plate was tremendous, Butera caught me in Minnesota, he was tremendous that night, too. Ultimately it comes down to execution. Like I said, if you make enough good pitches, normally the results are pretty good.
Q. What do you think of your former team, the Mets and Daniel Murphy?
CHRIS YOUNG: I'm so happy for him. He's a tremendous guy. Tremendous person, first and foremost. I think one of the most underrated players in the game. And to watch him have the success he's having is just -- I'm so excited for him. It couldn't happen to a better guy.
Q. How do you look back on those two years you spent with the Nationals? Only two years of your career you weren't in the Majors starting and what didn't quite go right? There's health concerns, but just overall how do you view those times?
CHRIS YOUNG: First and foremost, they had five studs in their rotation. But secondly, I was still chasing an injury diagnosis, which I was yet to receive at that point. And really, without that opportunity with the Nationals I'm not sure if I would be here, given that they helped me find the right medical staff to diagnose my thoracic outlet syndrome. And then had surgery. They rehabbed me and then brought me into camp the next year and allowed me to compete and showcase that I was healthy.
So I'm extremely grateful to the Nationals for that. Mike Rizzo was just tremendous. He even made calls to teams at the end of camp, when he said, You're not going to make our staff, but you belong in the Big Leagues. And it led to the opportunity in Seattle. Like I said, I don't know if I'd be here without that. It was tremendous of them to do that.
Q. How much is the Patrick family represented in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Have you been over there, are you conscious of that being a few blocks away?
CHRIS YOUNG: I took my wife this morning, my wife and youngest son. There are four Patrick members in the Hall of Fame. I gave her a hard time, because I think in the past she told me five. She stood corrected this morning.
It was a wonderful experience, it's an amazing place, the tradition, the family history for her. It was fun for both of us to experience. I had been in the past before, she had been as a child. But for her to go back today and she was able to take a picture next to the statue of her great-grandfather, she saw her grandfather's name etched on the Stanley Cup.
So it was a great experience for all of us and certainly I appreciate the hockey heritage that much more.
Q. Do you think you might get any support here, because of that, because of how much people love hockey?
CHRIS YOUNG: Oh, it didn't cross my mind. I think the fact that I'll be wearing a Royals uniform probably means the support will be limited. But it's a great sport. I love watching hockey. We'll make it back to DC this offseason to see some games. It's a tremendous sport.
Q. What did you take away from you playing with R.A. with the Mets?
CHRIS YOUNG: Oh, his perseverance is remarkable, as well. I played with R.A. at two different points; one early in my career with Texas and then again with the Mets years later. And really, he had gone through a complete transformation.
And so I played with him the year he won the Cy Young. He was tremendous every game, gave the team a chance to win, was out there, really dominant, and it was really special to see somebody up at the top of their game like that. I've been fortunate to play with a few guys who have won Cy Youngs, R.A., Jake Peavy, Felix Hernandez in Seattle next year, who was runner-up.
But when you see players like that at the top of their game competing against the best players in the world, it's pretty special to see it day-in and day-out, and certainly I had great appreciation for that playing with R.A. that year.
Q. Somebody asked R.A. this, I'll ask you, who reads the most? And who reads the most significant things?
CHRIS YOUNG: Oh, I don't know how to answer that. I mean, we've never sat down and compared reading lists or book club lists.
But I think we both appreciate our education and the intellectual aspects of the game of baseball. It's a great game, just everything that -- the thinking man's game, everything that you have to process in a short period of time.
As I say, most nights after I pitch I leave with a headache because there's so much information being processed in a short period of time. And I don't sleep well after I pitch, either. And I'm sure R.A. is probably the same way. You're physically exhausted but mentally your mind doesn't switch off.
Q. In your only other start in the Postseason you beat the Cardinals with the Padres nine years ago, could you talk a little bit about the difference between that Chris Young and this Chris Young. Did you ever imagine with the ups and downs you had that you would be at this stage, especially in Game 4?
CHRIS YOUNG: To answer your second question, yeah, I think moments like this are what I dreamed about and aspired to achieve going through surgeries and rehabs, times where I'm in Florida rehabbing by myself, away from my family, putting in all the sweat and hard work, it was for moments like this. And so certainly there's great appreciation for this. I'm cherishing it.
Like you said, it's been nine years since I've been in the Postseason, and now to have this opportunity and help this club who has, one, lifted me up, and secondly, given me an opportunity, just be more grateful.
Comparing myself to nine years ago, I guess at the time I thought there would be a lot more playoff opportunities going through it. My third full season in the Major Leagues that year. And it was just such a special time. Such a special day. I remember it was just a beautiful fall afternoon in St. Louis, and we were so excited. We were down 0-2 at that point, but are facing a great Cardinal lineup, and similar to tomorrow. I had my work cut out for me then, I have my work cut out for me now. Maybe have lost a few miles an hour on the fastball, but hope I can make up for it with a little bit more between the ears.