Q. Do you feel that the way the schedule has worked out with the Mets going the distance and you having a couple days will play to your advantage at all?
JOE MADDON: We're going to find out. You know, that's also -- there is something to be said for playing those kind of games and getting that within your system like the Mets have done. They did a great job against the Dodgers. I really don't know. I mean, everybody always looks for the advantages or what team would you rather play and all that kind of good stuff. For me, it really doesn't matter. What matters the most is that we play our game, and we play our game well. If we do that, I mean, all these other considerations, I really don't try to analyze them too much because they're so nebulous, and there is no real reason, other than just trying to contrive a reason.
So for me, the Mets did a great job. I want to congratulate them. T-C and I go way back. I think that's great. It's going to be fun. It's a great series, and I think it's a great series for baseball as well. Cubs and Mets getting together. We're really excited about it.
Q. Do you think we're looking at the next two young power houses, one with great pitching coming along, and the other a slugger that nobody else has? Could that be what the series boils down to?
JOE MADDON: I tell you, I think in general from what I've seen this year being my first trip to the National League, you look at our division, the Pirates aren't going away, the Cardinals are not going away. We've kind of ascended. The Mets showed their muscle the latter part of the year like we did. The Dodgers, I mean, there are really a lot of good young baseball players out there all of a sudden.
I know for the last several years we've been kind of concerned about drawing more youth into the game, even youthful fans. But right now, if we can't do it with these guys playing, I don't know how you can possibly do it. With our group, the group with the Mets, the pitchers, the Pirates are still young, the Cardinals demonstrated some really good rookie players that played well against us. So, I mean, that's been my take on this whole thing.
I want to believe that we're going to be pertinent for the next several years and I know the Mets are. But I think there are other teams that are really ascending. The Astros, I mean, it's a really kind of like a renaissance going on right now with the youth in baseball. I'm enjoying it. I really like the level of competition. I think it's great.
Of course it's easier to say that once you've won 97 games to get to this particular moment. But I think in general terms baseball's looking pretty good right now.
Q. You mentioned your relationship with Terry. Can you take us through how long you guys have known each other and how it all started and where you worked and all that sort of thing?
JOE MADDON: Well, T.C. was with the /TKOERPBLs back in the day when he was managing and I was a young manager, scouting coach. So I've known him from like the '80s at some point. But we didn't really get together until the Angels. That was '97, I think, 1997. I think we both interviewed for the job, and I know he obviously got the job.
I remember going to a hotel in Phoenix, the Biltmore. I think that's where it was at. We had an interview out there, and that is the first time I really had an in-depth conversation with T.C.
And from that conversation, he kept me on as his bench coach, which believe me, man, was a big moment for me, otherwise I could have been sent out into the Minor Leagues again, and then who knows what would have happened. So I was always grateful for T.C. for giving me that opportunity.
Had a great time with him. We had a really good relationship on the bench, really good. I remember specifically you talk about shifting today and all the stuff that's going on, I had this more Neanderthal method of doing things at that point, but it was still one of the first computers utilized. And I went in with him one day, and he's in there talking to Sparky Anderson, and Sparky was doing some of the games for the Angels. I showed him this graphic sheet or schematic of Ken Griffey Jr., and I said, T.C., would you mind if we shifted him tonight? And I told him what I thought, and he was all for it. He was good.
He always gave me a lot of latitude, permitted me to work. The thing about being a bench coach for him that I was always impressed with was, if I had a bunch of information, I would just stand there and I would read it to him, I'd talk to him about it before the game, and he would never forget anything. He's got a really great mind. So we laughed together, we worked together. I'm really happy for his success.
Q. I know you grew up a Cardinals fan, but also growing up in Hazleton within WOR, I'm wondering what you remember as a teenager of the 1969 season, of the '69 Mets and Cubs? And the other side of that is since taking over as manager, how many fans have approached you about '69 and how much of that do you feel like is still there?
JOE MADDON: I've not been approached about that actually. That's really kind of awkward. But the '69 Mets, Connor's Corner, and the sign holder really stands out. Tug McGraw was on that team, and Tug eventually came and did a speech at one of our banquets when I was playing like Peter's Ball or whatever. He was a hilarious guy, did a great job.
But I remember the sign guy. I was a big part of that. I remember in New York we followed every professional sport for the championships. I remember all that stuff. I was kind of a Knick fan a little bit. I was a St. Louis Hawk fan, Atlanta Hawk fan, and I was a Knick guy too because of Frasor and the boys. But specifically you remember a lot of that.
And Cleon Jones was one of my favorite players growing up too. So all that stuff, I remember clearly. WOR, I love Connor, man, I really think something like that should be brought back in black and white. Don't, turn the color off the TV, bring it back in black and white. Whoever the host is, permit him to have a cigarette and just sit there and make it that. I think it would be very popular.
But I remember very clearly. It was quite a time, man, the way they came back. It was a pretty special moment for the Mets just as a young baseball fan. I was in 9th grade I think, something like that. Tenth grade.
Q. You guys won 7-0 against the Mets. Does any of that matter in this series?
JOE MADDON: I really don't believe it does. The only thing that matters is we know we can beat them. They know they can beat us because based on what they've gone through through this particular moment. So I don't think there is any real weight to be attached to that whatsoever. They're an entirely different team. We're pretty different too compared to that particular moment, but they are really different.
Believe me, I don't even take any -- I take zero stock in that whatsoever, honestly. Those are some really close games, too, that we played against them. We won some close games. Things just happened to work in our favor in those moments. Their offense wasn't nearly what it is right now, so I -- I'm not even looking at that as being pertinent.
Q. With the Giants success with their World Series titles the last few years, a lot of folks have theorized that in the playoffs one of the best ways to generate offense is to string together hits and rallies. Your club is a bit more of a true outcome group. Do you think there is any merit to a proven post-season formula for offense?
JOE MADDON: I've always liked a formula where you can do a little bit of everything. We work on a lot of different things. We have hit home runs and that's what we do our best work, I cannot deny that. We work on the other factions of the game consistently, whether it's -- everybody does. It's not just us. It's just a matter of execution during the course of the game.
We're a high-strikeout team, and that really kind of tends to lead you away from good situational hitting in general because of the swing and miss. But we work on it. We work on it, and then you get to this particular moment and you don't know what level or at what level the mental acute is going to be at, whereas a guy may be able to do some things he hasn't done to this point. I believe in that. I do believe in that because you keep talking, you keep talking, you keep talking, eventually it kind of settles in at some point.
But you've got power pitching versus guys who get the ball out of the ballpark. But they've got guys that get the ball out of the ballpark too. I agree with what you're saying, it's just a matter of us trying to execute a little bit better.
But I really want us to be able to play a more complete game in the future too, and that's something we're really striving and working towards.
Q. What do some of the challenges in facing a guy like Matt Harvey who is scheduled to go tomorrow?
JOE MADDON: One of the biggest challenges is we haven't seen him a whole lot. I've only seen him pitch once outside of TV. And I'm really into scouting reports and video and all that stuff, but I really prefer the eyeball test, when you really get to match-up information with the actual performance looks like.
So, again, we've just gone through a whole bunch of really good pitchers. The Mets have done the same thing. When you get to this time of the year, everybody's pretty good. If you're going to face a pitcher, he's going to be pretty good. So honestly I would be making stuff up. I don't know what the particular challenges are, because I know he's good, but I just haven't seen him with my eyeballs enough to know exactly what I think.
Q. I was wondering if you could go back and give us a little idea of what Theo's sales pitch to you was like last year? And given what he accomplished in Boston, how much did that factor into your ultimate decision with your track record in Tampa, what you guys could accomplish together?
JOE MADDON: Well, I mean, I did interview with him for the Boston job. Was that '03? I don't remember. Again, that was in that same hotel I talked to T.C. at. Pretty good hotel in Phoenix there. But I didn't get the job, but when I did not get the job I told him that they chose the right guy.
I thought Tito was more prepared for that moment than I was. And I thought, again, Theo made a good decision. But I got to know him and Jed at that particular time. And we didn't talk a lot in the interim, but we've always said hello and always been -- actually adversaries, because going to Tampa Bay and going to Boston, it was a real healthy baseball game that was being played versus those two groups.
Last year when this all came down, we had a chance to eventually get together and talk. Philosophically -- my point is it goes back to the original discussion with the Red Sox situation. I didn't expect them to have changed a whole lot, and he did not, so I felt very comfortable with the conversation.
I thought philosophically we'd be in line regarding how this is supposed to be done, and it is and it was and it is. So it was kind of an easy conversation, man. Him and Jed showed up. Had the R.V. parked in Pensacola, and Miller Lite got the whole thing started, big 16 ouncer. We sat out in the back and just talked about it.
So it was really one of the coolest interviews I've had in my life. It was pretty much just talking. Like we're talking right now. So philosophically, very much aligned, so it was an easy kind of thing. When you get there and you get to Mesa and you start really sitting down and going over the nuts and bolts, again, you're reminded of what you thought was appropriate, and the fact that we were aligned so well philosophically. Honestly, it's been an easy transition.
Coming from Tampa Bay, I think that also made it somewhat easier, because it's similar the way things are done down there and the way things are being done in Chicago right now with the group that was in place down there. They gave me that opportunity to go to Chicago really almost like a seamless transition for me. I don't want to be selfish, but I'm talking about from my perspective.
I was pretty fortunate I was given this opportunity. I came in, all the heavy lifting had been done by these guys. Applying some of the things I've learned over the last several years and I'm really enjoying myself.