10/03/06 7:50 PM ET
David Wells pregame interview
Padres pitcher is excited to be starting playoff game
By / MLB.com
DAVID WELLS: Just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Fortunate to have good players, good teams, you know, behind me. So giving me the opportunity to pitch in post-season. It's what we play for all year and personally I love it. I think it's the greatest time of the year, because you're out there. Everything is on the line. Everybody is pouring their hearts out, trying to get to the next level, to the big game. And personally, the grind that you go through the whole season to get here and then when you finally do it, it pays off and kind of wipes the slate clean if you had a bad year, good year. More so than the bad year, but you have an opportunity to redeem yourself.
You mentioned coming off a tough season. When you're in the post-season do all the aches and pains diminish or do they hurt more?
DAVID WELLS: They never diminish there, but you find a way to alleviate the pain and, you know, try to really, because, I mean, this is where it counts. And if -- I've been the type of player, I'll do whatever it takes to go out, whatever, make a difference. But if it's going to -- if it's going to alter the way the rest of my life would be, I wouldn't go out there and jeopardize my health for it. But the aches and pains that we usually get are pretty treatable and all that stuff. And just depends on how high your pain tolerance is. But for me, you kind of put that aside and you just go out there and grind it out. When you get in this type of atmosphere, especially playoff mode, it's -- they kind of go away for a bit and you don't think about that. You think about the game.
David, your thoughts on starting playoff game in your hometown?
DAVID WELLS: I couldn't be happier. This is like a dream come true. I've been going to Padres games at an early age, supported them all my life. Even though I was in the American League, it was my favorite team, San Diego. It's nice to represent your hometown and be a part of, you know, something big. And like I said I, this couldn't be a better time for me. It's my last year, and going out on top would be a nice way to go, especially in your hometown. So hopefully, you know, we get the support of everybody out here and they come in and just -- and really back us up, because crowd can play a favor in the game of baseball. They can get on the other team. Trust me, when I went into Cleveland a few years ago, it was pretty hard, because they just -- they got down and dirty and hit below the belt. I don't wish that upon anybody, but I think a crowd, in the crowd sense, it could help a home team out, without being disrespectful and hitting below the belt but just getting loud and pumping us up.
Now, is this really the last year and what are you going to do when you're not playing?
DAVID WELLS: Going to Disneyland. (Laughter) I don't know. I've said that, you know, this is going to be my last year. Unless some stupid offer came along, then -- an offer you couldn't refuse, I don't know who would turn something down like that. It's just been a long time. Being away from the family is pretty tough, being on the East Coast when you're living out on the West Coast. I think his film is running out.
What are you going to do next when you do retire?
DAVID WELLS: I have no idea. I'm going to do a lot of hunting. Kirk Gibson and I, we own a ranch in Michigan and just do a lot of guiding there. I enjoy being in the outdoors. Going to Africa at the end of the month or whenever this is over. Just stuff like that. Surfing every day. Just enjoying my -- taking my kids to school. Being a dad, being a full-time dad, that, to me, would be -- it's the ultimate goal right now. Unless, you know, I played in San Diego, I'm at home all the time. That would be another story. But there's been no offers, and I'm kind of liking the sounds of retirement. It's pretty good. I've played a long time. Unless my body holds up -- I mean I'm going to go into the off season and try to get in the best shape as I can. This year has been pretty tough with knee injury and being limited with what I can do. So like I said, I'm going to go out there, try to get in the best shape I can and maybe go to Spring Training to help people out, help the young guys out. Throw BP a little bit. Still got a good arm.
Chasing Pujols and your thoughts on that and if Bruce asked you to walk him, would you go for that?
DAVID WELLS: I don't look at their lineup because of Albert. I look at the lineup that can do some damage. So I've never been a guy to shy away from anybody. I love challenging. I mean Albert's a great hitter. He's very respectable and he can be a one man show at times. But to me, that's, you know, that's where I get recognition too is by getting guys like him out. If there's anybody on that one ball club to beat you, that's Albert. I would fight Bruce on the situation. You know, just like I'd fight any other manager. But you know, he's calling the game from the dugout and the situation, but I'm just going to go out there and pitch. It would look bad if I'm out there yelling at Bruce because he's doing this, and I'm out there going no. So I don't know. I love pitching to guys like Albert. I get a big thrill out of it. And get the opportunity to get them out, then you got bragging rights. But then again he can change a game with one swing. And that's what you don't want to happen, especially if it's a situation like that. So you just gotta be smart and know what's behind him and what's out there on the bases.
Boomer, can't resist asking you this: What did Mick Jagger know that we didn't know last fall: If the Stones didn't take care of the sacred dirt at Echo Park, they wouldn't be back?
DAVID WELLS: I guess Mick was right. I guess just his wish, his wish came true as well as mine. Just keep the field sacred for the return, as he said. So I'm just going on what Mick said.
What's your connection with him?
DAVID WELLS: I've met Mick a few years back. So it's something that -- he's probably one of the greatest rock and rollers that ever played. He was a gentleman and a scholar. Very nice to talk to. Pleasant. He's not -- at least the time I spoke with him, he really wasn't stuck up. He was very adamant about things, wanted to know about baseball and stuff like that. So that was pretty neat. I could tell my grandkids that: Mick and I hung out for a bit.
How, if at all, would pitching in the National League playoffs be from all the AL post-season springs you've had?
DAVID WELLS: Well, obviously it's different, because your pitchers are going to get hit for earlier in the game, unless you're flat out dealing. The double switches that go along in the National League a lot more than the American League. There's no DH in the National League, obviously. So I mean it is a different ball game. In the American League, you got -- especially, you know, the teams that are in the playoffs right now, pretty solid. And a lot of people think that the American League is a little more dominating than the National League. I've been on both sides. And certain teams are dominating, but, you know, I think if you got good pitching, you're going to be good hitting. I feel that our team has got some really good pitching. These young guys are fearless and hit pitches and have fun and don't get caught up in the moment. They want to win. And I think that's going to be a difference between the Padres and any team you face, because of the fact that the pitching is good. If our offense provides, it's going to be a lot of fun. But anything can happen in playoffs. But everybody writes off every team out there except for Yankees and Boston when Boston was in it. And that's just what you have to deal with, all the analysts out there that always pick New York and Boston, all the East Coast teams. But hopefully we can change that and keep it out on the West Coast now.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.