Nov. 1 Eric Hosmer pregame interview
Q. How do your teammates keep your feet planted firmly on the ground with this lead, knowing tonight you can clinch? I know you don't want to think about what's happening after tonight. Your thoughts on that?
ERIC HOSMER: We just have to keep our same approach, and try and treat this just like a normal day. Obviously we're pretty excited to get the game started. Especially after coming back with an emotional win like last night, you want to get off to a good start. You want to try to put some pressure on them as soon as possible.
We know it's still a tough assignment because they have Harvey. If they win tonight they have a guy like deGrom to follow it up. We know there's still a lot of work to do, and we have to keep our foot on the gas and try to push it to one more game.
Q. How much of the tremendous popularity you guys have gained the last couple of years in Kansas City do you think is just you're winning after so long of not winning? And how much is the way you play, people like the style of Royals baseball?
ERIC HOSMER: Yeah, we really -- we play with a lot of emotion as a team. We play with I think -- it's a lot of energy we play with, and I think a lot of people like to watch that. Obviously a lot of our games, especially this postseason in general has been really exciting. And I think the resiliency of this team and the way we can come back and the way we just count ourselves in every single game, I think it makes for a fun team to watch. It's definitely a fun team to play for.
So like I said, I think our fan base and our team share a real special bond. I think that's grown throughout the whole entire world, I think as the fans have watched us compete throughout this postseason.
Q. To follow up on that, I was wondering if you had any anecdotes or instances, interactions with a fan or somebody or a long-time member of the organization that would speak to how long the city and the organization have waited for a championship, that would give you a sense of what kind of joy and relief there would be in Kansas City if you won?
ERIC HOSMER: Just being George and being around a lot of the veteran guys, Mayberry, Willie Wilson, a lot of those guys come and spend Spring Training with us, and we see them throughout fan test and throughout the winters and doing things throughout the community. You always hear how much fun they've had during their run.
Obviously it's pretty special. You take a guy like George Brett, he's lived in California his whole life and he's moved on to Kansas City and made that his home. And he's continued to stick with the organization in his front-office role. And has tried to put this organization back to being a powerhouse and competing for a world championship every year.
So I think that just speaks volumes itself, when you have a Hall of Famer and guy that's arguably one of the best baseball players of all time continue to stick around the organization, and it's a special bond that George has with a lot of guys on this team. Obviously he took over as the hitting coach in 2013 for a little bit, and just from hearing some of the stories and some of the vacations that George gets to go on, you wouldn't think that he would with certainly spend his summer being a hitting coach for us.
I just think it's really special. We all have realized how our fan base, how much they support their baseball team, and just I think the biggest difference is on the road we see the following that we've had, and not just in the postseason but throughout the regular season as well.
Q. How much of this team's ability to come back is based on just talent in the first place, but also the collective individual approach that we're gonna do whatever it takes to make this happen?
ERIC HOSMER: Yeah, it's just guys that trust in each other and believe in their teammates. We all realize that when you're down four or five runs late in the game there, that not one person can get you back in with one swing. So you try to work a walk, you try to work the count, you try to do whatever you can to get on base.
I think a big benefit for us is knowing that if we're late in the game and even if we tie the game, we still have an advantage because of how good our bullpen is. I think that's one thing mentally that we all use that kind of just makes a comeback -- it doesn't seem that farfetched when you have a bullpen, and you realize all you've got to do is tie the game and you still have a really good chance of winning it.
Q. I wanted to ask you, when you talk to us you come across as a pretty level-headed guy, and I believe you are that way. I'm curious, you are potentially a few hours away from achieving a goal you've had probably since you were growing up. How excited are you right now? I know you don't want to get too excited because you know you still have to win the game. What's going through your heart and mind right now?
ERIC HOSMER: Just a lot of excitement. You're really excited. You want to get the game going. But at the same time we've had this feeling before, we've been one game away from winning the world championship and it didn't happen. So we all know how bad that felt. So I think we can always relate to that, and we always have been or we have been relating to that throughout the course of the year when stuff is not going our way, because that feeling we had last year wasn't a very good one.
I think that's something that we always relate to, to realize that you can't let up and you've got to continue to try and go out there and play our game and stay aggressive as a team.
Q. You mentioned the bullpen, specifically with Wade Davis, you saw him as a starter, both for you and for Tampa. How is he different? Really what's the most impressive or amazing thing he's done for you guys?
ERIC HOSMER: Well, if you look at a lot of the situations he's been in this postseason, just the one against Toronto alone, to give up a couple of walks or hits or whatever it was and have second and third with no outs and end up locking it down in that one was quite impressive.
But also the game before that we have an hour-long rain delay. And most pitchers don't go out after that hour mark. But just knowing the type of competitor he is and him just leaving no doubt with Ned that he's going back out there, I think just fires you up as a team. Having a guy like that on the back end of your bullpen just shortens the game for you, and it really just as an offense just gives you that confidence that if you do have the lead or late in the game -- there's a tie game, you have guys like him and Herrera coming out of that pen, it always as an offense just makes your job easier, because you feel like you've always have a chance, and you just have to figure out a way to scratch one across.
Q. You mentioned the '70s and '80s Royals. You ever sit with your core group and think about what your place is in Royals history? You're the all-time RBI guy for the Royals. Do you think what your place will be in 10, 15, 20 years in Kansas City?
ERIC HOSMER: No, that's kind of the crazy thing about this whole entire process that we've been through. It seemed like last year all the talk was, We're finally just happy to be back in the postseason. It's been 29 years. And you fast forward to this point in time this year, and you see Salvador breaking records. Lorenzo Cain doing that. So it's crazy to think of how fast the whole entire process has been, that we're in the second World Series already as a team.
I think it's something that we'll all definitely sit back and look at and realize what we've done and realize how special it all is. But we still feel like we're still in the heart of this whole thing. We have a lot of guys that came up in the same years, and we still have a lot of years left with the team. So we realize that we're doing something special, but we still feel like we're still right in the heart of all of it.
Q. What are your thoughts on Edinson coming back to pitch this game tonight so soon after the tragic news?
ERIC HOSMER: Just tells you the type of teammate he is, the type of competitor he is. We certainly did not expect him to come back and be ready to pitch in a World Series game. This game is obviously important. This game has taken a majority of our lives; eight months out of the year we all spend with each other, and we all do everything -- our day is always based around baseball. So when you mix family in there and something as crazy as that happens, you don't even want to think about baseball. You don't even want to -- you want to be with your family. You don't even want to think about going out there and throwing a baseball.
But the fact that he came back and he's ready to take the ball for this team, as a teammate and one of his defenders tonight, I couldn't be more excited to go back out there and have his back.
Q. During the course of this postseason, not as directly but just offhand during the course of answers, players have said phrases like, "We don't know how long we're going to be together." Obviously Alex is a free agent and other things. Was there a tangible thought that there was a clock ticking for this core group or this particular group that you've got to win now because you don't know how long this group will be together?
ERIC HOSMER: Yeah, I think we all know the reality of the business side of the game. And we all realize that these opportunities don't come often. And I think that's one thing that we all really focused in on in Spring Training was the fact that we came so close to winning a World Series. But we have that same core group of guys, the majority group that can come back and have another opportunity to get back to this stage and then finally, hopefully, get over that hump.
I think we all realized how special it is to have another chance of accomplishing this goal, because there's plenty of teams in the past that have came close to winning the World Series, and the next year you just don't get those same group of guys back. That's something we've all realized that's a big opportunity for us, and something we don't want to let slip away.
Q. Did you watch the Giants today?
ERIC HOSMER: Yeah, I did. Thanks for bringing that up.
Q. Sorry. How often during the season do you think about Game 7?
ERIC HOSMER: I think we think about it quite often. I've said before and I'll say it again, I think that's kind of something that we all turn to mentally to kind of -- when there's points in time during the season where your team is not going too well, you look in September there and we started to slide a little bit. But I just think everyone kind of relates back to that and relates to how much that hurt.
When you have such a good opportunity with the position we were in in the middle of the season and especially in September, I think that's something that just mentally just clicks it on for you to realize that we have another opportunity to get back to the World Series, and we have another opportunity to win a championship because of how much talent we have surrounding us.
So that's something that I think we've all kept relating back to throughout the year, and it mentally just triggers you and tries to get you back on point.
Q. You already spoke to this a little bit with Edinson, but you're obviously very close to Mike Moustakas and he also lost his father. Is there any way to get your arms around the impact in the clubhouse of these kind of losses in the last couple of months, and just whatever that means among you guys that care about each other so much?
ERIC HOSMER: Yeah, as a teammate you just want to be there for them. Personally I can't relate to what they've gone through. I've never lost any of my parent, fortunately. But I know from past experience I lost my grandmother a couple of years back in Spring Training, and I lost my grandfather last year, and obviously I was really close with them, had really close relationships, and I can tell you I was not mentally in a place to go out there and play a baseball game, let alone a postseason game.
It's something that as a teammate you just want to be there for them. I can't relate to what they're going through; it's a tough situation. But you know just seeing them back in the locker room and seeing those guys around everybody throughout the course of the day, you know it helps to try and keep their mind off it. Like I said, the main thing as a teammate you just want to be there for them whenever you can.
Q. Already you've had turn over: Aoki is not here, Butler, Shields of last year's team. It's kind of a different form. And back to the Game 7, how much of a motivation is it for coming into Spring Training and all the way through was just that image of being on the field, Perez popping out and Sandoval make that catch with the tying run 90 feet away?
ERIC HOSMER: I think if you look at the way we started our season, you can just tell that we were all fired up and we couldn't wait to get the next year started with, because you hear it from your family, friends, and talking with media throughout Spring Training, and that's the common question was about Game 7 or anything about that game in particular.
So I think just for us all it was good to start this season and just try and put that behind us and continue -- or start our next journey on trying to get back on that stage.
So we started out the season really, really hot. And I think that a big part of it was because we finally got to somewhat flush it away and try and move on and just get the next season started with.