Oct. 13 Jim Leyland pregame interview
Q. What time did you guys leave the ballpark last night? What time did you get to the hotel?
JIM LEYLAND: Got to the hotel about 20 to 1:00.
Q. When you guys on the committee considered putting in the wildcard this year, did you realize the implications of the hectic travel this year?
JIM LEYLAND: I don't worry about the small stuff. That's small stuff to me. At this time of the year if you are playing and you are complaining, there is something wrong with you. We are still playing and we are in the final four, it is what it is.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Austin Jackson and the way he's emerged gradually each year you had him? I guess he had a little bit of an adjustment in the swing over the winter.
JIM LEYLAND: He did. Lloyd and him worked this winter and took the big leg kick away from him. And I think it's just a matter of playing and experience. He was really a good, young player a couple of years ago when he broke in. He had almost 200 hits. Then reality set in and people start making adjustments. And you make them back, and he is a good player.
Q. In terms of how your whole offense works, how important is he for you?
JIM LEYLAND: He is a key for us and everybody knows that. They have a pretty good key for them leading off, and we think we have one, too. And he makes us go. He excites everybody on our team, on the bench when he gets going. With he leads off the game with a double or triple, I think it pumps everybody up. He is learning to knock in runs as a young player, which is usually the last thing to come when you get to the Big Leagues. So he's on schedule to be a good ballplayer. He has some things to learn, get better stealing bases. He is not a total finished product but he is a good player.
Q. Jim, with Sanchez, compared to the first couple of starts with you guys, it seems he really settled in over the last eight or nine. What have you seen? What has been the biggest difference?
JIM LEYLAND: I just think he got to know the manager, the pitching coach, he got to know his teammates. His wife was pregnant and going to have a baby, they just had a child here recently. There's a lot of stress and things that go along with moving to another team, particularly a team in a pennant race with a lot of responsibility. I think he even got to know the league a little bit, so to speak. So I think it's just the matter of the combinations of a lot of things. It takes a little time to get acclimated to your new surroundings and he has done that very well.
Q. You have been in a bunch of the winner take all game or Game 7s in your career, and some turn out to be classics like last night in the Washington game. How much different is the atmosphere in one of those games opposed to anything else you've played? And have you enjoyed watching some of the others?
JIM LEYLAND: I think normally the atmosphere for all playoff games is pretty good. I think difference in Game 5 or 7 is you know there is no tomorrow for one of the teams. If you saw Oakland the other night, it was as loud and energetic as you would ever want to see. I mean, they were really into it, and to their credit. I give their fans a lot of credit, it was a miracle season for those guys, and you know, their crowd was into it and everything, and I think that's why we are professionals. I see a guy in the back of the room, Jack Morris, he concentrated pretty about good in Minnesota in the Metrodome, and the loudest place I have been. And that's when they do for a living and Verlander did. I am talking about myself personally, Jack's game would be in that category, and a little bit more because it was the magnitude of the World Series. I am talking about me as a manager, I never had anybody pitch a Game 5 or 7 more flawlessly than Verlander the other night. He was totally dominant. I think it has to do with maturity. You handle things and make adjustments, and two years ago he was a little more fidgety I think. The atmosphere is tremendous. You are not playing anymore if you don't win that game.
Players know what they're doing, you know. They know how to go out and give it their all, and I don't think you do anything different. I mean, you play the game. You do what you get paid to do what you have been doing all your life. And I think the happening around the game and everything, there's more magnitude to it. But for the players and the manager, you're at work, you know. And a lot of times you don't even hear those crowds when they are as loud as they are. You know it's there, but you don't really pay any attention to it.
Q. Jim, Delmon Young had a big series against the Yankees last year. How much are you expecting and how much do you need him to do the same this year? And also, are you concerned at all about maybe the reaction he might get from the crowd here?If that might affect him?
JIM LEYLAND: No, I am not worried about that, but I will say's big key for us, particularly against left handed pitching. It would be really good if he steps it up a little bit. And, you know, he is a run producer and particularly with our lineup against left handed pitching, he is a big key for us. We need to get him going.
I don't pay attention to the other stuff, no. That's yesterday's breakfast.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.