Oct. 24 Barry Zito, Pablo Sandoval postgame interview
Q. Pablo, can you put into words what it means to join a club that's now Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols and you?
PABLO SANDOVAL: Man, I still can't believe it. When you're a little kid, you dream of being in the World Series, but I was thinking of being in this situation, three homers in one game. You have to keep focused, keep focused and playing your game. You don't have to be too excited. The series is not over. You have to keep playing your game.
Q. Pablo, could you talk about what you see from Verlander? You had the big hit against him in the All‑Star Game and now two homers tonight off of him. Are you just reading him really well? You don't seem to treat him like he's the best pitcher on the planet.
PABLO SANDOVAL: You have to give him credit. He's one of the best pitchers in the Big Leagues. In this situation you're going to face the best. For me I just go in there and don't thinking too much or try to do too much, get a pitch you can hit, take advantage of the mistakes he be making. That's a part of my game.
Q. Pablo, I think in your third at‑bat you broke your bat. Was that the same one you had used for the first two home runs and were you at all nervous for a superstition that maybe you had lost your luck there?
PABLO SANDOVAL: Yeah, man. I use that bat all my post season. I don't get too much superstition. There's more bats in there to swing the bat. It's not the bat. It's you. It's everything you've got inside you. If you have faith, you have to believe in yourself.
Q. Where is that bat now?
PABLO SANDOVAL: They guy from Cooperstown take it (laughter).
Q. Pablo, I talked to you yesterday, the idea of facing Verlander. You said it's great to go up against the best. When you know that your name is now connected forever with Babe Ruth, with Pujols, with Reggie Jackson, your bat goes to Cooperstown, what does this mean to you?
PABLO SANDOVAL: It means a lot. 2010 I was part of the World Series. I didn't get a chance to play too much. I'm enjoying this World Series. I'm enjoying all my moments. You never know when it's going to happen again. You have to enjoy this moment; it means a lot for my family, my friends, my teammates, they pull together to be here. For all these guys we wouldn't be here. It's part of your life you have to enjoy. It's not every day.
Q. Barry, as an observer and a participant, talk about what you saw tonight from this man to your left.
BARRY ZITO: Just going up against Verlander, I was coming out here expecting a game that was going to be 1‑0, 2‑0. I mean, if we were going to win, it was probably going to be 1‑0 or 2‑0. To go up early in the game like that, get first blood, get the momentum going and then to just cap it off with a couple more and a single, as well, it was just awesome, man. Just a pleasure to be a part of it.
Q. Can you talk about pregame nerves and assess your performance?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, I mean, this game, like Pablo said, you can't get too excited. When we're nice and calm, we always play our best baseball. Our talent is able to come out.
But when you start kind of buying into all the hype and everything, you lose yourself a little bit; and so I was just very adamant on keeping everything slow pretty much from when I got up today.
I was able to do that pretty well out there. I still had a couple battles, fell behind to too many guys. But was able to get out of it with some outstanding defense.
Q. Barry, of all the things that you've been through in your career and pitched well and accomplished, this is your first World Series game. Was it difficult to kind of dial back and control that stuff?
BARRY ZITO: I mean, you know, I battled in September to make the postseason roster. The last thing I would have expected at that point was to be starting Game 1. Just the opportunity was just magical. To be able to go up against Verlander and give our team a chance to go up 1‑0, and the fact that we won, it's just kind of surreal. It's just a pleasure to be a part of it all.
Q. Pablo, obviously Barry had the same problem; he didn't get on the roster. You had a difficult World Series two years ago. What was it like sitting there and hoping? Were you upset? Were you disappointed? What was it like?
PABLO SANDOVAL: I was happy, man. It's part of my job. You know, so many guys don't get a chance to be in the World Series. That was my second year I got the opportunity to be in the World Series, especially we won.
I was so excited. Games, keep your mindset for the next season. They teach me how to keep my feet on the ground, how to keep my head up. You have to keep working. I've never lost faith to be here.
Q. Barry, how much does it mean to you to have a left fielder like Blanco behind you playing and making catches like he has been?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, I mean, it's just incredible. I've been a bit spoiled this year with the defense. Pablo gets probably more action than anyone, when I'm pitching, at third, and he's been just unreal all year. The whole left side is going to get action because I'm obviously throwing a lot of off speed.
That second one that Prince hit, I had some funky spin on it, and that was so impressive because not only did he dive, but he had to stay with the path of that ball. Blanco is just ‑‑ he's such a huge part of this team in every way.
Q. Pablo, when you went up for your fourth at‑bat, were you thinking about hitting the fourth home run? And Barry, what was it like in the dugout when he was up there?
PABLO SANDOVAL: To tell you the truth, I just try to put the pitch on the barrel. I don't try to hit a home run. I just go in there and try to help my team score runs.
I'm happy it was this way, but I don't try too much up there. I don't try to get excited because when you get excited, that's when you get in trouble.
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, when he hit his third, man, we were just going nuts in there. We were going nuts. We didn't know at that point if it even had ever been done; and we're just like, oh, my gosh.
We've seen a lot of stuff from Pablo. I can remember a couple sliders that he hit in the water that were just ridiculous, so it's kind of hard to impress us with what we've seen, but we were all very impressed tonight.
Q. Pablo, two home runs to center field, one to left field. Talk about your approach, where your head is at, your calm at the plate.
PABLO SANDOVAL: I just try to follow the pitch; where the pitch is going, I'm just going to swing that way. It's an approach you have to make at home plate. You have to make adjustments in mechanics.
I watch a lot of video right now, when I was struggling, see what the difference when I was struggling and when I'm doing well, so I see a lot of things. But I've been seeing a lot of video in the post season with Bam‑Bam (Hensley Meulens), the hitting coach. He's a big part of the success I've been having.
Q. Both of you, two pitches, the pitch after they came out to talk to Verlander, next pitch, home run to left field, were you looking for something? And Barry, first inning, two on and two out, fielder, first pitch, big pitch, biggest pitch of the game for you, left field. How about those two pitches?
PABLO SANDOVAL: You know, I just don't try to look for nothing there, I just go and swing the ball. Wherever the ball is, I'm just going to swing. I'm not going to try to do too much right now, especially at this time of the season, everybody is tired; all the things you feel slow. But you have to keep focused on that. I just go in there and get a pitch I can hit.
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, I mean, hitting and pitching are essentially the same. Hitters got to trust their hands and just try to hit it hard, and what I did with Prince was I threw him a first pitch cutter, and you've just got to trust it and be loose and let it go. I was able to have some late movement on it and missed the barrel; and it was huge, because then we had two outs with Delmon up, and I was able to get a ground ball to Pablo.
Q. Lincecum just mentioned how special it was that you two guys were in this game together. How special was it for you two guys to combine? You're obviously friendly, and to win a World Series game.
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, it was huge. Timmy and I have always been close, ever since the day he came up. But I think we got a little closer this year because I just tried to be there for him and help him out sometimes if he needed it this year.
To have him in the bullpen, it's just like ridiculous. It's such a tool in our pocket that we can bust out at any time a guy that has made history with his two Cy Youngs. It was just really special personally, too, to watch Timmy carve them up and just do what he does. It was great.
Q. Barry, you mentioned that you slowed things down at the beginning just when you got up in the morning. What were you doing? What did you do specifically?
BARRY ZITO: Well, you can't let your nerves get to you. You can't go out and try to make things happen. You can't go try to strike guys out or get ground balls. You just have to take every pitch one at a time and give everything you've got to each pitch and let baseball play out from there.
Q. Did you mean you were calming yourself through the day before you got to the park?
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, you don't want to focus on the hype and the World Series and how important it might be for so many people in a certain way. For me it's just another game, the stakes are much higher, but at the end of the day we've been playing baseball our whole lives. To eliminate everything and just go out and play baseball and have fun is so important.
Q. Pablo and Barry, are there any parallels to maybe the struggles you guys had two years ago and how far you've both come, and look where you both are right now after a tough 2010 World Series.
PABLO SANDOVAL: You know, we got ups and downs in our career. It's not every year is going to be up. At that point you have to keep your head up and keep focusing and keep working hard. You never know what's going to happen one year.
So I see my teammate Barry, and I'm very happy for him. He started the first game of the World Series. We were sitting down on the bench in 2010. So I'm happy for him to see the work he put in there, all the pieces together to win his first game.
BARRY ZITO: Yeah, I mean, Pablo came out in '09 and had just an incredible year, and in 2010 he was working just as hard and doing everything the same as he was doing. Like he said, baseball is just a very difficult sport. There's a lot of ups and downs, and you have to be professional on the downs and you have to stay even keel on the ups. It's definitely kind of a cool thing that we're both sitting up here after 2010.
Q. Pablo, earlier in the playoffs the bats as a team were a little bit quiet. In the last four games you've really broken out and putting up a lot of runs. What's changed? Any adjustments?
PABLO SANDOVAL: I think we're having fun. We're having fun right now. The first series, second series, and now in the World Series, we're having fun. In the first couple games we were not having fun; we had too much pressure.
So we enjoy the moments right now. You never know, we're going day by day. I want to see Barry every single day here. That's what we say to each other; tomorrow is another day, I want to see you tomorrow. All the guys say that. You see when you got that mindset, everything is going your way.
Q. Pablo, speaking of fun, Bruce Bochy said you still have fun, but you handle it a little differently. You're more mature in your approach and your preparation and more serious about it. Do you feel that's right?
PABLO SANDOVAL: Yeah, it is what it is. You have to learn. You have to be mature right now. It's part of my job. You have to learn. You have to enjoy the moments by not getting too excited.
That's one of my things. I have to keep focused in that way. Today was the first game, tomorrow we come here and try to do the same, win the game. That's the thing I've got inside me. That's my mindset.
Q. Pablo, how much has it helped to have Marco Scutaro around?
PABLO SANDOVAL: You know, it helps a lot. It helps a lot. You see Pagan, Marco, Hunter, Buster, being in the lineup where all those guys, I think it's exciting for me to see those guys do some damage out there because always when I see those guys on base I'm going to get more focused to drive them in.
Marco brings a lot of energy to the team. That's one of the things when you've got a guy like that, he's never been in the World Series, his first game in the World Series, all the things he's been through in his life, in his career. But I'm happy all the things he's been doing for the team.