Francis conference call transcript
Game 1 starter discusses his pitching style, layoff before Series
I would like to go back to the last Saturday of the regular season when Tony Gwynn Jr. got that hit against the Padres and allowed you guys to stay in the playoff race. Did you see that hit live, and if you did, could you talk about what that was like?
JEFF FRANCIS: We were watching it live in the clubhouse before our game that night. There were a lot of reporters in there watching it with us. You know, now that you think of it, it was such a big play, and there really wasn't an outbreak of cheering or any reaction at all.
It was more, you know, we saw it, they tied it, and guys kinda went along their business in preparing for our game. I think by the time their game ended, we were out on the field for ours, so we didn't see it end, but really the reaction wasn't, you know, anything -- any kind of cheering or outward reaction. It was more of, okay, let's go get ready to play our game.
Todd Helton told us when he saw Tony Gwynn Sr. at the playoffs he gave him a big hug. Did you get a chance to do that?
JEFF FRANCIS: No. I haven't met him before, but when I do, I will definitely shake his hand.
Hey, several people have noticed through this late run when you're on the mound that there seems to be this real calmness about you. You're not an overly emotional guy anyway, but where did that come from? Has that always been the way -- coming up, whenever you're pitching you don't get ruffled, and there seems to be a calm exterior there.
JEFF FRANCIS: Well, I think I've watched a lot of people play baseball, you know, as a kid and growing up, and you know, I kinda like the way people play when they go out and do their business and get off the field.
You know, not that I don't think people should show emotion on the field, but I think that's a good way for me to approach it. I need to be going in and have electric stuff on the mound, so I think it's key for me to not be going on that roller coaster during a game, so I think for me that approach is more effective.
The wedding you missed was last weekend?
JEFF FRANCIS: Yeah.
Did you send any kind of message over, did you find out how it went over there?
JEFF FRANCIS: I got to talk to my brother on his wedding day, and he was pleased. I promised him some World Series tickets, so I hope that makes up for it.
Obviously you're where you want to be. How disappointing was it, sort of, not to get there, and maybe talk about the planning. Obviously a few people didn't think you guys would make it this far into the playoffs to schedule the wedding on that date.
JEFF FRANCIS: When he first planned the wedding, which was before the season started, he had a plan A and a plan B, which was -- plan A was having it October 13th, and plan B was moving it to November. And when those plans got solidified in April and May, the Rockies weren't doing so hot, so he solidified it to October 13th, and the end of September we go on an incredible run to get into the playoffs.
So, yeah, I missed my brother's wedding, but this is a once in a lifetime thing, and my brother wants me to be here.
And you hope his wedding is not more than a once-in-a-lifetime thing?
JEFF FRANCIS: Exactly, yeah.
Earlier in the season you guys didn't have the stability in the back end of the rotation that you have now, the last month or so, guys being so steady. When guys were coming in and out, you were the constant. Did you ever feel like the responsible one, the stopper, as it was, in the rotation, making sure that things were steady there and giving your team innings at that point in time?
JEFF FRANCIS: I think things worked out for me to the point where I didn't feel any extra pressure. I go out and watch Ubaldo and Franklin pitch, and they're dynamite pitchers. They're doing things already that, you know, a lot of young players wait to do a long time.
So I think, yeah, it hurt our team when those guys went down with injuries, but these young guys like Jimenez and Morales have stepped up and did more than anyone thought they would do, and it took the pressure off me being the only guy left in the beginning starting rotation this year.
There are a lot of leadership qualities in all of us; it's not just me. Guys like Fogg, who has been around a long, long time, we share those duties among all of us.
With this layoff have you been doing anything differently, throwing sim games instead of regular side sessions or trying to be as normal as you can in your routine?
JEFF FRANCIS: We had an intersquad scrub game today on the field, and although the adrenaline isn't there of a full-fledged game, you're still out there facing hitters, and the competition is there, and you want to go out and not get embarrassed.
So I think that's a good preparation, and now I'm on my five-day schedule where I can pitch on a Wednesday.
How many innings did you throw today, or how many pitches?
JEFF FRANCIS: Threw 4 innings, 15 pitches an inning, yeah.
I wanted to ask you about this layoff and how you think it's affecting the team, if at all, if you would rather be getting back on the field right away or not?
JEFF FRANCIS: Well, you know, I think so far it's been nice. I think there is a lot of things that come along with playing in the World Series, obviously that's new to every one of us, trying to arrange for families to get out to watch the games.
If we only had a couple days to do that, that might get distracting for us, take us away from what we want to do. But as far as on-the-field stuff, I think the guys in this clubhouse are accountable and responsible enough to know what to do to get ready for Wednesday, and I'm confident with the guys we have we'll be ready to play.
I know you're pitching for Colorado and not Canada, but do you have a sense of how important this might be to the sports fans in general, and baseball fans in particular, when you take the mound? Because it is, as you know, a rarity to have a Canadian in the series.
JEFF FRANCIS: Yeah, I mean, playing in Canada -- or being from Canada and playing here is definitely something I'm proud of, and I know every Canadian here is proud of. That's nothing to speak lightly of. But right now we're representing the Colorado Rockies and the city of Denver, who has been waiting for this for a long time, and that means something to all of us.
I don't speak enough about being from Canada, and it's something to be proud of, but -- and that's important, means a lot to me as a person, but I think as a team, we're from a lot of different places all over the world, and right now we're representing the Rockies, and it's pretty special for us.
Have you had an increase in tangible support? E-mail, letters, anything?
JEFF FRANCIS: Tons. It's great. Not just making the World Series, but every step along the way. We beat the Padres, and we heard from everyone; we beat the Phillies, we heard from everyone; we beat the Diamondbacks, and now everyone wants tickets, and they're doing everything they can to get to those games now.
I was wondering, is there any way to even describe what you guys have done here in the last month? Can you even explain how hot you guys have been here for a month now?
JEFF FRANCIS: I think there's a lot of words you could use to describe it. I don't know if it's unprecedented, unbelievable, I've thrown out ridiculous before. If you tell someone they have to win 21 out of 22 games to get to the World Series, you would probably count yourself out right at the beginning.
But it's a testament to what we have in the clubhouse, and we have a group of guys who fight for each other every day. Not that we expect to win 21 out of 22 games, but I know when we show up to the park every day, we expect to win, and that's a special thing about the guys we have in our clubhouse.
When you guys were in Pittsburgh after the All-Star break, you talked about a special bond that you guys have in that clubhouse. Was that really showing at a time like this when your backs were against the wall and you had to win out for the last two weeks of the season?
JEFF FRANCIS: Yeah, I think it shows on the field. You know, not that we would win 13 out of 14 every time if we had to do it to get in, but at this time we had the right people in the right places and caught some breaks along the way and found ourselves in the playoffs.
The guys in this clubhouse haven't just played together in the major leagues; a lot of us came up together in the minor leagues and know each other really well. We have guys who can rip on other guys in the clubhouse, but I think the most important thing is the guys can handle being ripped on and laugh at themselves, as well as laughing at other guys.
A moment ago you were talking about when you were watching baseball growing up, there were certain -- you said players you watched and you liked how they went about their business on the field. Who would some of those players have been, please?
JEFF FRANCIS: Well, one of my favorite pitchers, you know, from when I was a kid was a guy, Jimmy Key, who pitched for Toronto in the early '90s. You watch people play, and I don't know if I identified with him because he was left-handed, and I would have loved to have had the pick-off move he had, but I loved watching him throw, and I think there's some similarities in the way that I throw with the way he threw.
We're not overpowering guys; we have to think ourselves through the game, and I don't remember him getting overly anxious at a lot of things.
Have you ever had a chance to meet him?
JEFF FRANCIS: No.
You each have the World Series in common now.
JEFF FRANCIS: Yes, we do, yeah.
Anybody else in that group you would name?
JEFF FRANCIS: Not only pitchers, but I like -- like I said, I liked the guys who -- you can't tell if they're having a bad day, John Olerud or guys to that affect where you can't really tell if they're 4-for-4 or 0-for-4.
Living in Canada were the Blue Jays the team you saw the most, then?
JEFF FRANCIS: Yeah, yeah.
You mentioned today's scrub game, intersquad. Obviously there wasn't the intensity, but you wanted to be competitive. Did your team win?
JEFF FRANCIS: We didn't have teams, per se. I was just out there taking on our lineup with the infielders behind me, and any ball hit was probably going to be a home run. It was just for the hitters to see the ball at full speed and for the pitchers to see the hitters. That was the main focus.
Who familywise is coming to the opener in Cleveland or Boston, wherever it's going to be on Wednesday?
JEFF FRANCIS: My brother and his wife and my wife will be there.
Mom and dad aren't coming?
JEFF FRANCIS: They will be coming to Denver.
Tell us what it's like sitting in the dugout between innings and what you are seeing in different hitters on your team, talking about on the field, someone hitting .300. It must give you great confidence and take the pressure off of you.
JEFF FRANCIS: Yeah. Our offense has carried the team throughout the year, and I don't win 17 games without those guys behind me. And the amount of runs we have scored in certain games have provided our team with more chances to win than if we didn't have those. The way we swing the bat is comforting, as a pitcher, going out and having the bats behind us, no matter who is facing us.
And also if you could tell us the challenge that will be facing you against an American League team?
JEFF FRANCIS: Yeah, facing an American League team, you don't see them as much. Boston we faced this year and Cleveland in 2005, so we've hardly seen either of those teams. A little more homework to be done, a little more preparation, but, you know, it's the same on their side. Again, it will come down to execution and minimizing mistakes.
For all of those going baseball crazy, Denver is known for the Broncos, and now you're getting the headlines above them. What does that mean to you and for long-term baseball in the city?
JEFF FRANCIS: You know, I think Denver fans are sports fans. Obviously the Broncos have had a lot of success in the past, and this country as a whole is football crazy as it is. But I think the fans here are pure sports fans, and they're going to be coming; they've shown it.
The Rockies as an organization has had a lot of bad years, and here we are finding ourselves winning, and they're showing up. I think that's a testament to them and the kind of sports fans they are.
I was just wondering, Jeff, with that intersquad game, was it fun facing your own guys? Do they like facing, you, not facing you, anybody hit you particularly hard? How it went?
JEFF FRANCIS: It's not fun, because you don't want to be the brunt of a lot of trash talk. You try to just execute. Jamey Carroll and Troy Tulowitzki hit me hard a couple of times, and other than that I was able to get some ground balls and get some guys out front.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.