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Scott Spiezio pregame interview

Scott Spiezio pregame interview

How do you balance the obvious excitement of getting a chance to be in there with the fact that Scott Rolen is slumping and you're filling in for him tonight?

SCOTT SPIEZIO: Well, I mean, I've kind of been filling in all year for him when he needs a break. He came back from surgery pretty early. He's a battler and he's an amazing player. You know, every once in awhile, I've got to jump in there and do my best, and you know, it's exciting to play. It's an opportunity for me to go out and try to help my team win. And you know, I've been through this before with the Angels in 2002. It's what every kid dreams of as far as being able to play in postseason games. I'm just going to go out there and take it like any normal game and just do whatever I can, try to have good at-bats, try to play solid defense. And Rolen might be in there tomorrow. That's the way I feel. He's a great player, he's a great defender, and whatever Tony puts on the wall when I walk in is fine with me, as long as we have a good chance to win.

You referenced Anaheim, can you talk a little bit about what that experience taught you in terms of playing at this time of year, and how that helps when you're thrown into the fire tonight?

SCOTT SPIEZIO: It's always good to have some experience. You know, one of the things I learned is, it's just like any other game, you have more fans screaming and things like that, but you really have to try to block everything out and just go out and play your game and make it simple. Look for your pitch and put your swing on it. That's the main thing I learned out there is try not to put any added pressure on yourself.

After what you did in 2002, and I know obviously things can change and circumstances and teams, kind of strange to you that you are in a position where you are getting a postseason start like this, (inaudible). Tony did say without the right mindset that could have been a demise for you.

SCOTT SPIEZIO: Are you talking about this year?

Yeah.

SCOTT SPIEZIO: There was a noise. After 2002, I had a great year the next year with the Angels. Ended up signing with Seattle and had a couple injury-filled years. This year to come to a team like this after those two years was incredible for me. I was real excited, the history of the organization, the fact that my father played for them in the '60s and won two World Series rings with them was just really exciting, the thought of being on the Cardinals. You know, Tony gave me a great opportunity in the spring to make the club, and after signing a Minor League contract, and to make the club and to be put in a position like this is incredible. So anything that -- any opportunity that I get is a welcome one. From the start, I told Tony, whatever he wants me to do, I'll do. If you want me to play center or catch, I'll try. This is great for me.

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Is this possibly one of those springboards, this postseason, you get in, you play well, and the idea that 2007, you get to be that guy again?

SCOTT SPIEZIO: I don't really care about any of that right now. Whatever happens next year happens. The one thing I say that makes me happy is winning, and the best feeling I've ever had in baseball was when the last out was made in 2002 and we were World Champions. That's what I've been talking about this whole year and to have a chance at that now is incredible. I'll focus on each at-bat tonight, and that's as far as I'll take it. You know, when tomorrow comes, if I'm in the lineup, great. If I'm not, you know, I'll be ready to pinch-hit or double-switch whenever he's ready for me to go in there. So 2007 is too far away for me.

From your experience in the American League, I'm sure you've seen a lot of Delgado, can you just talk about from what you see, what can he do for a personality of a team, and of the game.

SCOTT SPIEZIO: Personality-wise, I don't know Carlos that well. But, I mean, as far as his ability to come up in big situations and get big hits, drive in a lot of runs; he's an incredible player to have. I've seen his defense go from suspect to very good. You know, he's one of those guys that comes up in big situations and you want to make sure you don't throw him anything over the plate. He's amazing. He can hit balls that really don't look like strikes. He's got that much power to all fields.

Could you describe how you found out that you were starting today, did you have a clue? And also, this is the second time filling in for Rolen here recently, this is the second time you're filling in for what the Cardinals call their core guys. Talk about that situation. And I know you mentioned you want to stay within the game you can play, but it's odd for a team to call upon a backup player at this time of year?

SCOTT SPIEZIO: Well, the way I found out was I walked in and looked at the lineup when I got off the bus. As a player, my situation, you always are prepared to start every game. And then once you come in and see that you're not in the lineup, you start preparing for when you may get in the lineup, and that could be anywhere from the second inning on. As far as me filling in for Rolen, you know, it's one of those situations that's not a normal situation. I mean, he's been battling for the last month, and all of us have seen it. He's really been -- he's been really battling all year. He doesn't quite have the flexibility that he had in the past, but it got better there for a while, and then you could see where he's just starting to get fatigued and it was affecting his swing. But he still was battling, he still was getting doubles, he still was hitting home runs, and he plays unbelievable defense. He's the best third baseman I've ever played with or seen. You know, this was one of those situations where his shoulder has gotten real fatigued lately, and, you know, when Tony puts him in the lineup, he's going to battle. When Tony puts me in the lineup, I'll take that start as possibly my last of the year, I don't know. I'll just go out there and give it everything I've got, and tomorrow if I'm in there, I'm in there. And if I'm not, Rolen is incredible. His defense alone is priceless.

If you look at your home run in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, in terms of the importance for a team winning, it is one of the more important home runs hit in World Series history but it's not talked about like that, you don't usually see it on Top 10 lists and people don't bring it up a lot. Why do you think that is? And second, does that bother you at all?

SCOTT SPIEZIO: No. Just the fact that I hit it is good enough for me. The biggest thing is that we won the World Series. You know, if we wouldn't have won, nobody would have remembered it at all. I guess one of the reasons is because we were still down 5-3 after I hit it. It didn't put us ahead, although it did turn the momentum around. I didn't limp around the bases (Laughter.) I guess I should have been running, doing some kind of hand gesture or something. We were still down and it wasn't like a majestic home run, a couple of rows back. But I'll take it, and I know the team will take it. You could just see everybody's eyes light up when I got in the dugout. Everybody was like, okay, we're going to come back and get this. The first guy I saw in the dugout went on to lead off the next inning and put us ahead, and after that Glaus hit the two-run double and our pitchers were unbelievable the rest of that game and Game 7.

What do you remember about being so locked in that entire post-season that year, and what kind of tips and tactics did you use for yourself?

SCOTT SPIEZIO: I used the same tactics as I did then, mental preparation, physical preparation, trying to keep everything simple. I wish I could bottle that up, you know, what I had going on that off-season. It was a nice ride. I felt that way in some of my at-bats this post-season, so hopefully I can break that out today and hopefully for the rest of the playoffs. But I don't put too much pressure on myself. I just go out there and like I said, have a game plan and try to stick to it.

We saw pictures of fans in St. Louis the other day with little red patches on their chins, and you talk about your father a lot and him playing with the Cardinals. Can you describe a little bit about what it's meant for you to be able to play in St. Louis, and have, you know, at least a little share of the notoriety that comes your way just because you're a Cardinal player?

SCOTT SPIEZIO: I wasn't born when my dad played. He played from '64 through '72. I was born September 21, 1972 so I might have had a couple of games under my belt when he retired. For me to be able to go to some of the Old Timer's games in St. Louis when I was 10 or 12 years old and meet guys like Bob Gibson, Brock, Red Schoendist, the great players in the '60s, it was incredible for me. I almost felt like part of the family then. I used to go to so many of those games, and to be able to go back now as a player and play among those fans, which are incredible, knowledgeable fans in St. Louis and to wear the same number as my father, 26, it's pretty cool. It's a pretty cool position to be in as a son following in your dad's footsteps now. We've got a couple steps here to go to be able to follow that closely. If I can get a ring with the same team, it would be incredible. And then to get two for myself like I got two, a nice little combination of father and son both having two rings, but got to take it one step at a time.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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