10/05/05 7:02 PM ET
Pregame interview with Rowand
Center fielder talks about team's excitement
By / MLB.com
AARON ROWAND: It depends. I really didn't notice too much out there right now. I know it's windy, but it's tough in this field, you really can't try to predict where the ball is going. You have to keep your eyes on it.
Normally it swirls out here, so you can throw grass up in the air and see how it's blowing next to you. It will be different up in the air. You try to not take your eye off the ball.
Why on earth would you crash into the wall the way you did with such a big lead? How close were you to getting hurt?
ROWAND: I only play one way. I felt I could catch the ball and I should have. I'm not going to go out there and try to play careful and try to go out at 80 percent. When I go out there, if I feel like I have a chance to catch the ball, whether it's 30-0 or 6-6, I'll try to catch it. I overshot it yesterday, it came up a little too long.
A.J. mentioned yesterday that some of the guys were a little nervous starting out the game yesterday. Was it a question of guys not being in the playoffs, getting the first game jitters out of the way?
ROWAND: I don't know if it was nervous or jitters or anything like that. I think it was more excitement. I know, for myself, I was fine until going out there on the field to stretch. Then you see the electricity in the crowd and the stands.
It's more anticipation to get it going and get the ball rolling. When we ran on to the field when they introduced us, I got goosebumps and had butterflies in my stomach and stuff. Once the first pitch was thrown and the game got under way, it was all fine. It was more excitement and anticipation to get this thing going because everybody was excited we're here.
Can you describe a little bit about what Ozzie's got going on that, you know, makes him the right kind of manager for you guys, what he does that brings out, you know, a winning performance from you guys?
ROWAND: Those of you that have been around and in the clubhouse this season, he's loose, he likes to joke around. He likes to spend more time with the players in the locker room than in his office hibernating. He brings a lot of energy in the dugout and clubhouse, keeps things loose by joking.
He's not afraid to come down on you if you don't put forth the effort, or if you screw up, he'll let you know. There's a definite boundary there between manager and player, but he keeps it loose and does a good job with the players.
Aaron, is this homestand a little more fun for you guys than the last time you were here, when you were playing Cleveland and Minnesota, trying to hold on to that lead that you had for so long?
ROWAND: We're in the playoffs, so it's a lot funner than a regular season. We were going through a tough stretch and guys were putting too much pressure on themselves because Cleveland was playing so well. I don't think it was us playing tight at that point, but I think it was us trying to do a little too much, and guys really didn't feel it in the clubhouse and stuff like that.
We were all having a good time as normal, but when we were in situations of runners in scoring position, everybody was trying a little too hard to push the run across.
We were lucky enough to clinch when we did and go to Cleveland. When we went there, the pressure was off, the tension was off, and we got to having fun and playing loose like we did earlier on in the year, and we looked across the field and saw Cleveland was playing like we were down the stretch, and we could definitely tell the difference between the two attitudes. We got that fresh feeling back in your head of where we were and we were playing loose, and I think we took that into yesterday.
Aaron, can you describe what Paul Konerko does for you guys in the clubhouse.
ROWAND: You don't see him get too excited anywhere other than on the baseball field. He doesn't get excited in or outside the clubhouse. He's definitely very even keeled, but stay out of his way if he has a rough game. He'll blow up a little bit.
He's definitely a leader on this team. He's been here probably, outside of Frank, the longest on the team. He knows this organization, and most of us have played together for quite some time now. Everybody looks up to Paul as a leader and team captain, whatever you want to call him.
Right now, with Frank being out, he's probably the face of this organization. He does a good job with it and brings guys along for the ride.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.