This is the ninth in a series of outtakes done for Feeding the Monster, available in stores now. This interview with Tim Wakefield was conducted in the Red Sox clubhouse on May 10, 2005, and is being printed here to help get Wakefield fans through these next few weeks.
On the difference between the current ownership group and the Yawkey Trust: In my opinion, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s been a 180-degree turn since theyâ€šÃ„Ã´ve taken over, as far as the clubhouse, the field, the fans’ perspective of it. Theyâ€šÃ„Ã´ve really did a good job of bringing it all together. The ballpark is more fan friendly or being more convenient for the fans to watch the team play, and theyâ€šÃ„Ã´ve also made it more convenient for the player to work here. Considering the conditions that we used to come to work to everyday before, it’s a lot nicer since they redid the clubhouse.
On Fenway: Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s not that the clubhouse was bad before. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s just that itâ€šÃ„Ã´s such an old ballpark, it was hard to do things. Just like you, you go to your desk everyday, if it’s cluttered, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s depressing to go to work everyday. They did a good job coming in here and making the changes that they made, not only from a team standpoint, but everything that surrounds the team. That helps us perform better.
On communication between ownership and players: We have roundtables and they want the playerâ€šÃ„Ã´s opinion and perspective on things. In years past, it was never like that. [When the team fired Dr. Bill Morgan], at least they gave us a chance to voice our opinion, and ultimately they make their decision and you have to respect that.
On the concept of team chemistry: I really feel that the organization has a good sense on what chemistry is. You know, even though we had great chemistry last year, they went out and got guys who could fill those holes and keep the chemistry together. You could have 24 great guys, and it’s one bad guy who could ruin the whole team. I think theyâ€šÃ„Ã´re aware of it. Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m a big believer and I think the organization is aware of that too that talent can only take you so far. There’s that little extra team concept of chemistry and character of the ballclubâ€šÃ„Ã®weâ€šÃ„Ã´re all a family in here. We spend more time with our teammates for nine months than we do with our family. All of these guys are like brothers to all of us. [If you have bad chemistry] it effects peopleâ€šÃ„Ã´s emotions on the field. If you get one guy thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s a bad apple or has a bad attitude or is always complaining about something or stuffâ€šÃ„Ã´s not right, it makes it depressing because you hear it all the time. And you just donâ€šÃ„Ã´t want to hear it. Youâ€šÃ„Ã´re happy with the way things are and then you hear somebody else whoâ€šÃ„Ã´s not happy, who badmouths the organization or stuff like that. We donâ€šÃ„Ã´t need that. We donâ€šÃ„Ã´t need that one negative person amongst 24 positive people because itâ€šÃ„Ã´s easier to pull somebody down than it is to pull somebody up.
On having a veteran clubhouse: I just think it makes it a lot easier for all of us to go out and, everybody on this team knows what their role is, and I think it comes from the manager first. We’ve got a lot of guys on this team that could be everyday players somewhere else. Doug Mirabelli, for example, he could be an everyday player, but heâ€šÃ„Ã´s content with his job and understands what it is. Ramon Vazquez could play somewhere else. Jay Payton could play somewhere else, but they know their roles and theyâ€šÃ„Ã´re very important roles in the success of this team. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s not just the David Ortizes, the Mannys, the Pedros, or the Curt Schillings that win ballgames. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s the 25 of us that are here. Like Dave Roberts. When I said this last year when we went to the ALCS after we beat Anaheim, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s gonna take 25 of us to win. And we did it.
On signing a contract that will keep him in Boston through the end of his career: Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m a big fan of the tradition here. Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m a big fan of the passion that the fans have for the team. Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ve been a part of it for so long that Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ve grown accustomed to it. I like it here. Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m comfortable here. I canâ€šÃ„Ã´t see myself wearing another uniform. Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ve worn this one for so long that when it came time to get something done, it wasnâ€šÃ„Ã´t about the money, it was to stay on a team that I want to be apart of. Thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s a lot of history here.
On the atmosphere in Boston: Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s great to play in a market thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s this big and gets this much attention because every game feels like a playoff game. Iâ€šÃ„Ã´d rather it be this way then playing in San Diego or Pittsburgh where there are two or three beat writers that are around and thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s it. I actually played in Pittsburgh when were good and it was fun and we got a lot of attention and we were winning, but now itâ€šÃ„Ã´s, you know, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s tough for those guys to win sometimes. They come to the ballpark everyday and thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s no excitement. Thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s electricity in this ballpark every night.