Oct. 16 Dexter Fowler pregame interview

October 16th, 2016

Q. Any time during this season or postseason do you ever look back and say, man, I almost missed this, I almost went somewhere else as a free agent?

DEXTER FOWLER: I prayed on it, I prayed on it and at the end of the day this is where I wanted to be. And I came back, and I'm definitely grateful for that.

Q. What, if at all, did you do differently in the off-season to better yourself defensively? Two spectacular defensive plays last night. Obviously you did it with the at-bat, but I know you took exception to the critique of your defense.

DEXTER FOWLER: I just moved back a few steps. I didn't really do anything too different. I think that playing in Colorado, obviously, you want to play shallow and try to take away some hits, but here, it's more -- I was getting crushed with the defense. They said I was a bad outfielder, and I kind of took offense to that. So I just moved back a few steps and played where everybody else was playing.

Q. Jason told me earlier in the season you guys will be in the outfield talking kind of debating how you're pitching guys and moves like that. What were the conversations like in the 8th last night with all the moves?

DEXTER FOWLER: That's between me and J. But you can see us out there looking at each other and trying to decipher what they're going to throw. But sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't. But at the same time we got to just go out there and defend the way we do.

Q. What's it like playing together with him this season? How much fun is that?

DEXTER FOWLER: It's awesome. That's the one guy you don't have to worry about. It's more just seeing where he's playing and he sees where I'm playing and we got a good understanding of if he is shaded over, I'm going to go with him or he knows that I'm going to stay there. So, when a ball goes up in the air, we know who has it already.

Q. Last night did you take more pride in those two catches that you made than your home run?

DEXTER FOWLER: Oh, for sure. For sure. That's what I like doing. I love playing defense. And like you said, I take pride in my defense. So that's always been an important part of my game.

Q. Along the lines of playing with -- alongside Heyward, does that allow you to play a little bit more to left field and for the whole group to cover ground out there, and does it seem like as fielders and the whole team you're getting better defensively the longer you play?

DEXTER FOWLER: Oh, for sure. We got a great defensive team. Even the young guys coming up, they're great. Being there with J just makes, like you said, my job easier. I can play, I can shift a little bit more because of his range in right field, but it's -- this is a tough outfield with the wind and all that. So being here with him is definitely good to have him here of the.

Q. I know you said you made a decision about coming back. I wonder how hard did you have to work to come back, to push the conversation along and make sure it was going to be an option? And then, secondly, what museum did you send the belt to?

DEXTER FOWLER: Well, I'm still wearing the belt. I had to go fix it because I was making sick catches like that. But no, the decision was -- I mean, really didn't have too many out there, to be honest with you. They were few and far between. My agent, Casey, was talking to everybody, and I felt like this was the best fit to come back here, and it definitely worked out.

Q. When you're watching the 8th inning unfold and you see the two intentional walks and you see that they're trying to get Chapman out of the game and you see Miggy come up to the plate, from a player perspective, what's going through your mind when you're seeing those moves evolve?

DEXTER FOWLER: I try not to analyze too much, because we still have a job to do. Those guys coming in, they -- we lean on each other. So if one guy doesn't do it, the next guy will. And that's how we have been playing all year, and it's been working out.

Q. You just mentioned like it's only a couple more steps that you're playing back. But like does that -- is that a big major change for you at all, or do you feel like you're the same outfielder, just positioned slightly differently?

DEXTER FOWLER: I mean, it took some getting used to. It took some getting used to. I felt like I was playing no doubles all the time. But looking at it, I've always challenged myself, even in batting practice, to play even shallower than everybody else, just so I can challenge myself. And moving back to where everybody else is playing it, like I said, it took some getting used to. But I think I'm doing all right.

Q. Back to the defense, when did the revelation occur, and how did it -- who brought it your attention maybe that was a good idea for you to make that adjustment?

DEXTER FOWLER: I was thinking about it during the off-season. I was still getting crushed for my defense, and I came into Spring Training with Joe and them, and I walked in -- actually walked into Joe's office, and Davey was in there as well, and I said, I got something for you guys. I said, I'm going to play a little deeper this year. I want to play where everybody -- I look where everybody else is playing, and I think that will help me out. And they were actually like, We were actually going to talk to you about that. So, it was kind of a mutual decision and they were cool with it, and the rest is history.

Q. You have a chance to watch your replay last night of your reaction when Miggy hit that home run?

DEXTER FOWLER: I did. I did. I didn't want to make it too obvious, but when it came off the bat I knew it was a homer. So that was my bat flip, I guess.

Q. Do you worry at all about being in the same situation again this next winter and not having a long-term contract to let you know you're part of this team for the future?

DEXTER FOWLER: Not at all, man. You pray on it and you go at it from there. That's all you can do. God has a plan for me, I feel like, and I just go out and do my best and see where it takes me. If it's not in the cards to have a long-term deal, then it's not in the cards. But, obviously, that's what you want and that's what you play for.

Q. Joe's been fond of that saying "as you go, we go," about you. Do you you appreciate that? Do you get bashful about it when he keeps saying it?

DEXTER FOWLER: It's funny, it's funny. Now he says -- he doesn't even have to say it. Now he goes: It's true. So, no, I definitely take pride in it, and I've been a leadoff guy my whole career, so it's funny how that happens. But I definitely take pride in what I do.