10/19/2004 12:53 AM ET
Jeff Kent postgame quotes
Second baseman talks about his game-winning homer
Q. The commentators on TV said that you really hate when people are intentionally walked in front of you; that it made you a better hitter. Is this true or what?
JEFF KENT: (Laughing). No, sir, it doesn't frustrate me, nor do I hate that. I think it's unfair for the broadcasters to color games for you and not ask the player straight up.
I hit behind Barry (Bonds) for five and a half, close to six years. That happened to me many, many times. I was grateful for it, for the opportunities. Grateful for the learning experience, because you have to be able to control your emotions in that situation. You can't try to do too much. You can't try to get mad at the opposing manager for doing something like that. You just have to accept the challenge and give it your best shot.
Q. Is there any way to describe the emotion that goes through you once you know it's gone and you're circling the bases, the magnitude of the moment?
JEFF KENT: Well, this isn't the biggest game I've ever played in. Maybe when I play in the biggest game of my life, it might overwhelm me.
But when we were in St. Louis, I watched Albert Pujols hit the game winning home run against us and saw the excitement in his body language. I wanted to feel like that. I felt pretty down at that time.
So this was just a turn of the tables for us tonight in the same situation.
But I've played the game a long time. I've struggled with my emotions at times to try to control them while I played this ballgame. I think I've been able to do that better now through the latter of my career. I'm just trying to continue to do that.
I let my parents and my kids get overly excited, but I try to keep an even keel.
Q. All that said, at the end, about five feet from home plate, you threw your hat off. What was going through your head then? What were you thinking?
JEFF KENT: (Laughing). I took this whole scenario out of the bag of watching Pujols hit his home run and Ortiz hit his home run. I thought you guys knew where that was coming from.
But I want to feel like that. Watching those guys do what they're doing, knowing the emotions that they probably are going through, I wanted to be those guys. That's the kid in me that loves to play this game. I want to be the other guy who's having a great time, and that's where that came from. I didn't mean that to show anybody up, I was just trying to have a good time in our last ballgame here before we head off to St. Louis.
Q. Can you talk about your thought process stepping to the plate, runner on second.
JEFF KENT: I was counting down prior to that situation. I learned to do that, when I played with San Francisco, when Barry was coming up, knowing, "If this guy gets on, they're in a pinch, or he steals the base, there's a good chance they'll walk you." So I was prepared about two batters before that for that situation.
Once I got up there, I was trying to block the crowd out, trying not to be overanxious, trying not to do what I did, hit the ball deep. I just wanted to get a little chanker somewhere. Isringhausen throws a great cutter, and a phenomenal curveball. We all weren't swinging the bat very well. I just wanted to put something in play.
Q. Can you talk about the pitchers' duel tonight and what Brandon (Backe) gave you during this contest.
JEFF KENT: The pitchers' duel is very, very frustrating for an offensive player. He's working quick if you're on defense to get you back in the dugout, but then you have to face Woody (Williams) and he's doing the same thing. You're pulling your hair out.
Lucky I broke a bat today, almost broke my helmet trying to throw that, too, in frustration.
Frustrating, but when they're matching and you're going in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning, you get really nervous because one play, one hit's going to determine the ballgame in that situation because those guys did a phenomenal job to push it to the end. You're putting in two great closers. One little mistake is going to affect the ballgame.
For our side, Backe did a phenomenal job. He's able to keep himself focused. He's not caught up in all the hype of the playoffs, the crowd. The kid has done a phenomenal job.
Q. Were you going up there with the first pitch attitude if it was there?
JEFF KENT: About 95 percent of my at bats I go up there with a first pitch attitude. I'm swinging. I hack. I know Izzy, I faced him a lot. I know he's got a good cutter. He's got a runner on second base; he doesn't want to put another runner on.
Yeah, I was up there looking to hack right away. I didn't want to get cheated at all. I wasn't going to take three swings.
Q. Your line drive in the seventh that Reggie (Sanders) caught, did you think that was going to be a gaper, and did you think you were getting in the groove at the plate?
JEFF KENT: I was starting to feel a little better. Woody was starting to get tired, but we were playing against each other. Beltran made a great stop for a possible double, triple. Reggie makes a play on me, too.
You know at that point that whatever you're going to do, it's just not going to work, because the game was in the pitchers' hands at that time.
Q. Did you see the ball before you hit it? Were you actually tracking that ball?
JEFF KENT: There are many, many times I'm closing my eyes and swinging from the back side (laughter). But not that one, no, sir.
I didn't want that to be an excuse of swinging at nothing.
No, I saw it all the way (smiling).
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.