Oct. 28 David Ross postgame interview
Q. Where does this rank in your career highlights? And how gratifying is it after everything you went through with the concussions this season?
DAVID ROSS: Yeah, the trip I've taken this year, I never thought I'd be here. There were times I was questioning whether my career was over. But thanks to a lot of positive people, good doctors I'm here, and I've got to thank the manager for having faith in me and putting me in that position. I'm playing in the World Series, so just this whole skit is just ‑‑ I'm up here talking to you guys, this is pretty cool, right?
Q. Could you go into, for those of us who weren't around, how you got the concussion and what you had to go through with post‑concussion syndrome to get back?
DAVID ROSS: Just some foul tips. I took two foul tips straight to the mask within a matter of about ten pitches, they really dinged me up pretty good. And I got home and my wife said, "You're not right." And they did some tests and kind of concluded I wasn't right.
Then I tried to come back fast, not giving enough credit to really what a concussion is. As athletes we feel like we can get through anything, and I couldn't. I stunk for a good two weeks, three weeks, and my wife finally was like, "If you don't tell the doctors, I'm going to." So I went in and just said, "I'm still not feeling quite right." And did some more tests and they sent me to the specialist, Micky Collins in Pittsburgh, who I have tremendous respect for, and probably wouldn't be sitting here if not for him.
And then he put me through some tests to show me I wasn't right. We try to do mind over matter sometimes and the hardest part when you're going through something like that is just you don't have a cast on or you didn't have surgery. I looked fine, but I wasn't right. It's hard to look your teammates in the eye when you're going through something like that and see if you're bowing out or not, with the questions that they have. Because I used to do the same thing. Concussion, "just push through it, you're not tough enough" or something like that.
Headaches and dizziness and all the symptoms, couldn't ride in a car, couldn't be in crowded places. But did all the exercises Micky put me through and slowly came back. And thank goodness my hitting has come around, because I stunk there for a while.
Q. What was it like getting the game‑winning hit? And can you talk about Jon Lester tonight?
DAVID ROSS: Yeah, the game‑winning hit, that's nice. I always defer to my teammates. Xander Bogaerts is maybe one of the best young players I've seen, the professional at‑bats he's thrown on this stage, it boggles my mind. And what I would be doing as a 21‑year‑old in the World Series, I can't even ‑‑ I would be in awe. And that guy is having great at‑bats ‑‑ Adam Wainwright is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and what a great at‑bat he was having.
And Dirt (Drew) has been scuffling a little bit. Got a really good at‑bat from him to walk. And just I think a little back‑up curveball that I hit down the line, that felt really good.
But I knew I had a lot of work to do, and Jonny was still out there. And I don't know what else to say about Jon Lester that I haven't already said. The guy is ‑‑ he's our backbone. He's our horse when he's out there. We expect a lot out of him. He's pitching like the ace he is. I love catching him. I love catching all of these guys. We have guys with a lot of passion that pitch for us. And it's fun to go to battle with guys like that. They're going to give it their all every time out.
Q. How much attention did you pay to the 2011 series when the Cardinals came back on Texas? And how do you guys feel now up 3‑2?
DAVID ROSS: I didn't pay that much attention. I was watching, that was a great series. But as a whole, as a team, we do a really good job of focusing on the task at hand. We're really excited about this win, but we know there's a lot of work left to do. That's a really good ball team over there. They do the same thing. They're not giving up. They're not giving away at‑bats. They've got a really good pitcher that will be on the mound in two days. And we're going to have our work cut out for us.
We know how good they are; that's why they're here. They're a good fundamentally sound team. They have a good lineup, a good bullpen, and we're going to have to bring our "A" game, like we have when we've won. It's been tough baseball. If you're a baseball fan, these are great games, and to the wire and great pitching, clutch hitting. Speaking of clutch hitting with David Ortiz, what planet is that guy from? (Laughter.)
Q. Obviously not a lot of people get to come to the World Series. Even fewer have a signature World Series moment. How important is it to you have happen what happened tonight? Has it sunk in really that you're going to have this sort of moment?
DAVID ROSS: No, no, it definitely hasn't sunk in. There's no way to get too excited, because you know you have ‑‑ we still have a lot of work to do. I won't let myself get too excited, because we have a really good team that we still have to beat one more game.
The signature moment, I think that's what everybody lives for. But I'm kind of just ‑‑ I'm just in awe of being in the World Series, really. That's as signature as it gets. I'm on the podium, again, talking to you guys, with the whole World Series thing behind me, right? That's when you see people on TV. I'm stoked (laughter).
Q. You mentioned David Ortiz, and as a guy who's caught a lot of years, what's it like to sit back there and just run out of ideas? And typically it would be over a three‑game series, this could be six or seven, and just sit back and wonder what to throw a guy like that?
DAVID ROSS: Well, it's funny, as a catcher, it's funny you ask that. As a catcher, I actually have a lot of respect for Yadier Molina. I sit and watch and try to see what he's going to come up with next. I'm watching him, I wonder where he's going to go. Is he going to keep trying to find holes or just go safety off or away? I'm watching what Yadi is doing. And they've tried a lot. David's just ‑‑ he's just ‑‑ he's David Ortiz. That says enough. The guy is a postseason stud and a stud in general. Like I said in my interview the other day, that's why we call him "Cooperstown", because he does Hall of Fame stuff.
Q. Over the years you've had to fight for roster spots, to fight for bats, switching organizations, did you ever envision yourself being in a moment like this or is this a complete surprise?
DAVID ROSS: No, sir. No, sir. You always strive for this. I'm kind of more of a keep‑my‑head‑down‑and‑work‑hard kind of guy. Whatever is going to happen, just take each day ‑‑ kind of like this team, just take each day as its own. I'm not the kind of guy, I don't feel like, that I can look ahead. I've got to work on the day and bring my best that day. And either it's good enough or it's not. And then tomorrow I'm going to have to do the same thing. I'm not the type of player who can plan out all these goals. That's probably why it hadn't sunk in yet of what all this is, because I'm worried about Game 6 already. There's a pit in my stomach already.
I tell everybody it's like I have so much fun on the days I'm not playing, and then it's miserable in the dugout. And the days I am playing, I'm miserable before the game and I have so much fun playing, you know. It's the total opposite. It's awful the way my nerves and stomach get me riled up.
Q. You saw Jon pitch a really good game in Game 1. Was tonight more impressive for you, given that it was a 1‑1 game, it was tight the whole way and what he was able to do?
DAVID ROSS: He impresses me a lot. His attitude and his passion and the fire he brings on a daily basis when he's out there is second to none. He's locked in. Yeah, I mean I knew he had a good chance of doing something special today. His bullpen was phenomenal before the game. His cutter was probably as good as I've caught it this year. Really had a really good cutter and he got us out of some jams.
They hit some balls hard. It got really loud after that home run. It was really loud in here. And he gave up a couple of hard hit balls, and just barely got in on Beltran a little bit. And Yadi hit a good line drive to short that Dirt jumped up and caught.
He impresses me the way ‑‑ he has the ability to use both sides of the plate and effectively. You can't go in there with a certain plan of ‑‑ he's going to pitch into righties and he's going to establish in, but he also has a backdoor cutter or sinker away or change‑up or breaking ball that comes back door or back foot. He's a hard guy to gauge. Kind of like Adam Wainwright, he's going to mix his pitches, and he's got so many and can locate them. You just got to keep grinding, and he does that on a pitch‑to‑pitch basis. He doesn't take a pitch off.
If I could say one good thing about him, he doesn't take any pitches off. He puts the same emphasis on the first pitch he throws as the last pitch he throws, and that's what makes a really good pitcher.
Q. You talked a lot about David Ortiz, but on the other side of that the past three games, I think the 7, 8, 9 guys were hitless in the past three games. Are you cognizant of that and do you put extra pressure on yourselves?
DAVID ROSS: No, I don't put my pressure on myself. I'm in the World Series. I'm going out there laying it on the line. There's no pressure. It's go out there and do the best you can. There's a reason why we hit at the bottom of the order. There's a reason why I hit in the 8 hole and the 9 hole in the American League. I'm not very good at hitting (laughter). As opposed to the guys who hit up top.
We're facing the best pitching ‑‑ we've faced the best pitching that baseball has to offer right now. You're facing guys seven times. They're game planning, they're switching things up. It's tough. Hitting is tough, period. I know David makes it look easy, but it's work for me. I think we're all doing the best we can working on a daily basis. We talk baseball. Me and Stephen Drew talk all the time about hitting. When you are scuffling, like X is having great at‑bats, Nav. Even Jonny. Jonny gives all he can every at‑bat. That's the signature of this team. We don't have these big names at the bottom of the order. We don't have this big, huge, deep lineup of guys that are established, long, great hitting careers. But we find a way on a nightly basis to just go out there and do the best we can, and make it as hard as possible on the other team to beat us.
Q. I imagine in your career you've seen a bunch of different things thrown on the field. What did you think of the airplane when it came out there? And if Lester tried to throw it tonight what would he have done with it?
DAVID ROSS: I don't know. I don't know whether he would have thrown it. But we all, me, Yadi and the umpire were pretty impressed. That was a nice throw. That thing glided in there, pretty good direction, nice airplane, nice big one. We were all talking about that. "That's a nice throw. Where did that thing come from?" We were all kind of in awe. I don't know what Jonny thought. The home plate umpire, me and Yadi were all pretty impressed.
Q. Lester left a couple of fastballs out on the plate. It looked like he started throwing the nasty curve. Did you talk to him about not rely on the fastball, let's mix it up more?
DAVID ROSS: For me Jonny ‑‑ if you'll see, if you'll go back and look at that, he wasn't ‑‑ the thing that got him in trouble last year was he was getting underneath the ball and the ball would flatten out. And that's something they'll work hard on. And every once in a while he'll get underneath it and it will flatten out. I think that's what happened with Holliday. It was a good pitch. It wasn't a terrible pitch. It was just kind of flat. When Jon is not staying tall and front to back, if you see me, I do a lot of pull my chest on him, I just want to stay tall in his posture. That way he works downhill. I'm always talking to him about that, when he does that. Work downhill. Stay tall. When he's does that, it's almost unhittable. When it flattens out, I see the ball longer and the hitter sees the ball longer. I see him take better swings when he's about belt high than when he's down and up, changing the eye level.
So I think we talked more about ‑‑ I in the dugout talked more about the plane of the ball rather than the actual pitch. I know when his mechanics are locked in, I don't have anything to worry about.