10/23/05 7:02 PM ET
Jermaine Dye pregame interview
Outfielder discusses decision to join the White Sox
By / MLB.com
JERMAINE DYE: Actually I didn't know where it went. I just knew it was somewhere over the fence. Our clubhouse guy got it for me. I guess a security guard got it and he traded out another World Series ball for it.
Throughout the playoffs your pitchers have come up with big pitches in tough situations. I know you're not involved in the pitch selection or execution, but what are your thoughts about what they do under pressure? Are you amazed how they handle the pressure situations?
DYE: Not at all. They've been doing that the whole year. I think our starting pitching is experienced enough to go out there and understand what they need to do as a staff. This team is built around pitching and defense. In order for us to win, our pitching needs to be on. And these guys have been doing it the whole year. Bullpen has been doing a great job. Guys have been coming up with big hits here and there and our pitchers have been hunting them down, and that's just been our whole thing the whole year. That's what this team is all about.
As a veteran of a lot of playoff games, how would you say the atmosphere stacked up last night compared to past games you've been at?
DYE: It's probably been one of the best games I've ever been in. The atmosphere has been great. I've been in a few playoff games. I can remember St. Louis when I was in Atlanta playing, the atmosphere there was pretty good, pretty electric. Last night just from the first pitch on, it was exciting. I mean for us to score runs early really got the crowd really into the game and they stayed in it the whole way. When that happens you get a lot of -- a lot more adrenaline. It's more exciting and it just makes you want to play that much better for the fans and for the city.
What were your first impressions of this ballclub and of Ozzie and how far into Spring Training was it before you realized what this team was going to be capable of?
DYE: Well, this whole off season I had a choice to make of what team I'd to go to and where I thought I was going to best fit. I just sat down and looked at first of all what kind of pitching staff we had, because in order to win and get to the playoffs you need to have pitchers. Pitching always beats good hitting. I just felt like this situation here in Chicago, the organization, the players, the staff -- they have a great staff that's been around the game a long time, played the game and understood what it took to win ballgames. I just felt like the situation was good for me. It didn't take long.
It seemed like Texas was interested in you and they have the great hitter's ballpark. Did that play into it at all? Did the White Sox come up with a better contract?
DYE: No, there were a couple of teams that had a better contract. I just felt like , I mean Texas, yes, it's a great ballpark. Me playing the West with Oakland, didn't really want to go back to the West. I mean a lot of things played a factor; traveling, scheduling, the other teams you're going to be facing in our division. I just felt that -- I played in Kansas City before, so I knew that the travel in the Midwest was a lot easier than going from the west all the way across to the east. You don't really have off days. You're spending your off days traveling. So a lot of things weighed my decision.
There were a couple of teams that came in at the last minute that kind of blew Chicago out of the water, which a lot of people wouldn't have turned down. But my heart was already set and gave my word to Kenny Williams that I was coming to Chicago.
It's been mentioned that this team doesn't have a lot of World Series experience. It seems like the team's pretty loose, though. Can you address that, if you think that's true. And also if it is, why do guys seem oblivious to the pressure right now?
DYE: Well, if you look at it, not a lot of teams have that experience, like the Yankees, and that's about it, really. It's tough to get to the World Series, let alone get to the playoffs. Every team that gets to the playoffs you're only going to have maybe at the most three or four guys, maybe even if that, that has that experience of a World Series. I think just from the chemistry we have in the clubhouse, Ozzie's been doing a good job the whole year of keeping guys loose and just telling us to go out there and have fun and enjoy it. There's no pressure, just go out there and have fun and this is what you dream about your whole life, getting to the playoffs, getting to the World Series and just enjoy it. Take everything in and play it like it's your last game.
The deeper you go into the playoffs are you finding that playing in the American League Central helped you guys this year, because of the level of guys in that division are better than people think, maybe?
DYE: I don't know. I think our division was pretty good. It's always been good. It's always been Minnesota and Cleveland now has come a long way, they have a good ballclub. Detroit has always been a sleeper team. I just think everybody says that like the AL East and the AL West, they have tough divisions, but I think our division is pretty tough, too. It helps I think this year we were just under the radar, everybody we played well the first half, nobody expected us to do the things we did the first half and we kind of liked it that way. We kind of liked being the underdog and not proving -- we wanted to keep proving everybody wrong. And guys just liked just being under the radar, just not having that much pressure on you, just go out there and play and hopefully sooner or later teams and the outside people start believing in you and I think we did that.
Your young closer, does he remind you of any other pitchers, and also are you glad you don't have to hit off him on a rainy, 40 degree night?
DYE: You know, he's one of a kind. I haven't seen too many people come out and just especially in this kind of weather and throw a hundred miles an hour with some cut on it. I had a chance to face him the other day in a simulated game and I'm just glad he's on my team. He looks mean out there and he comes right at you. He's like, here, if you can hit it, hit it. And I think last night he may have threw one strike in warm ups. And I know we were out in center field like, what's going to happen here. And he came out pumping fastballs and got out.
So I think he's pitching way better than any rookie should be doing right now. Hopefully he just keeps his mind where it is right now and keeps going out there under control and not trying to do too much and just let whatever stuff he has that night work for him.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.