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A big win

CelebrateThat was a big, exciting win for us. We put a lot of energy into that one and came out on top.
 
We had a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning, but the Diamondbacks fought back and
tied it against our closer, Manny Corpas. There was no sinking feeling on our
part. We just knew we had more work to do. You want to win the game right there,
but Corpas has done a great job for us. He just let one pitch get away, and it
hit Chris Young. Then a broken-bat hit by Stephen Drew, and those guys for the
Diamondbacks, they did their job, too. Overall, we just had to get out of that
inning, get back in the dugout and regroup.
 
Then we had some really good at-bats against Jose Valverde in the 11th —
some great at-bats — to get a big win. It shows a lot, not only the hitters,
but Corpas keeping his head right there and still making big pitches to get us
out of that.
 
There hasn’t been a whole lot of hitting, but it is different. The playoffs
are different. From what I’ve watched on TV and what I’ve experienced, every run
is big.
 
Remember my at-bat against Valverde in the 10th? I took a third strike and
thought at first it was away. But after I looked at it on tape, it was too close
for me to take. You’re going to get the guy’s best stuff, his best pitch every
time.

Thoughts on Chase Field

As I get ready for Game 2 at Chase Field, I think about all the games I?ve played in this ballpark. It?s a pretty good hitters’ park.

Chasefield
They say there?s a difference whether the roof is open or closed. I don?t see it that much. The thing I like most about it is you can always see the ball. You pretty much know what you?re hitting. Some people say it looks like it could be hard to see, but it?s not. It?s a great, dark background, a good place to see the baseball. That?s all you can ask for. If you see it, you have a chance.

The other thing is you don?t have a wind. If you have a wind blowing in your face, it?s tough. It?s like if you?re playing golf and there?s a stiff breeze, it makes it tougher mentally.

People saw what happened with the fans in the seventh inning last night. They didn?t like a call at second base, and some people threw things out onto the field. Let me tell you something: I never thought that would happen here. But you can?t paint everybody because of the actions of a few. They?ve got really good fans here. Hey, Cubs fans did it twice when we were there, and they?ve got the best fans in the world. The Diamondbacks have every reason to be proud of their fans.

Posted courtesy of MLB.com during the game.

Back in the saddle

Highfive_1We?ve won Game 1, but there?s still a ways to go. We can?t get ahead of ourselves. The hardest thing about tonight was just the wait. We had four days off, and it makes you anxious. You just want to get out there. You want to go.

It?s almost like you?re too rested. It was about the eighth or ninth inning, when I felt my body was hurting just as much as usual. Then I was ready to go.

Not a lot of teams have a lot of success against the Diamondbacks? Brandon Webb. I think we just battle. If you notice, we didn?t go out tonight and just crush the ball all over the field. We just got some timely hits and we were able to string some good at-bats together.

That?s the thing about playoff baseball. You watch them every year. Every run is big in the playoffs.

The next generation of fans

Thinking of the playoffs makes me think back to when I was a kid. I think the first World Series I could remember was in 1981. I would come back from football practice and go to a friend?s house to watch on his TV. It was the Dodgers and Yankees. I can remember watching it on a small, black-and-white TV. We didn?t get the station at my house, so I had to go over to my friend?s house to watch it.

KidsYou know, I don?t remember any players or anything like that. It was just the teams, the Dodgers and the Yankees. It was exciting. I had already decided that I wanted to grow up to be a baseball player, so it wasn?t because of that. My dad was a baseball player in the Twins organization, but he came home when my older brother, Rodney, was born.

Of course, the playoff games start pretty late and kids might not be able to stay up and watch them. As a player, you think back to when you were a kid and you think about the kids and hope they can enjoy the game the way you did. Believe it or not, we?re kind of worried about the actual game, but you?re always conscious of the kids. You want to make a good impression so they?ll grow up loving the game, too.

Posted courtesy of MLB.com during the game.

Whole new ballgame

Batting_1 Hitting-wise, I felt I was seeing the ball well at the end of the regular season. As for now, we?ll see.

We?re still facing some really good pitchers. I?m not concerned with my numbers or any of the stats right now.

Actually, I could care less. It?s all about wins and losses. If I had gone 1-for-12 against the Phillies and we?d have lost those games, that would have been an issue.

Now I can wipe that slate clean and think about the games coming up.

Never stop working

I take a lot of pride in my defense at first base, doing all the little things right and hopefully helping the team win. Was this my best season with the glove?

Fielding
Well, it was as good as I have had. I?m not tooting my own horn or anything like that. I don?t like to do that. But I felt I?ve been adequate.

You can work every day on defense and still find something more to work on. You never stop working because you can always get better. Especially when you?re struggling with the bat, to me the best thing you can do is go out and focus on your defense. That?s what I?ve done.

There aren?t any stats for it. We don?t sit there and count how many games we?ve won with our defense. It?s true that we led baseball in fielding, but we don?t care how we win. As long as we win, it doesn?t matter how. When you lose, that?s how you get into a bunch of trouble — everybody starts analyzing why you lost. But when you win, you?re just happy. Just go enjoy the win.

Bring on the Snakes

Heltonblog A lot of people may feel we?re going to lose some momentum because of the four-day layoff between beating the Phillies in the Division Series and the start of the National League Championship Series on Thursday.

But I think it?s cool. It?s nice to get a little break, nice to relax and heal up all the nicks and bruises.

You know, one day off, like we get during the regular season, really doesn?t help your body heal. Two days makes a big difference.

When it gets into three or four days, the question is our momentum. But the Diamondbacks have the same momentum. We?ve played the same number of games in the playoffs, so we?ll see how it affects each team.

You couldn?t get a more familiar opponent than the Diamondbacks. We see them a lot every year in Spring Training in Tucson. We play those guys so much during the regular season. We play a lot of games in that park.

Heck, with half the guys, we?re out there talking about hunting. We know where one another are going after the season. We play so much. That?s a good group of guys that wants to win just as badly as we do. It?s going to be a good challenge for us.

Wont be watching the NLCS, well be there!

Helton250_1 Wow. A 2-1 win and we?re going on to meet Arizona in the National League Championship Series.

To get where we?ve always wanted to go, I knew we had to win at least one of these close, low-scoring games. I?ve watched the playoffs on TV for years. You always have close games like this in the postseason.

When we weren?t going on, that?s one of the things I always liked to do, watch the postseason on television. I wouldn?t say I played along with the players in my mind. I didn?t manage along with the manager and second-guess moves. I watched just for the excitement.

You can tell how everybody?s into each pitch, the intensity of it. I?ve always dreamed of doing it myself, with the Colorado Rockies.

Now, I don?t have to watch the NLCS on TV.

No, sir.

Getting ready for Game 3

Playoff games are a little different. During the regular season, the clubhouse is open to the media 3 hours before the game. It?s part of the normal routine. But in the playoffs the clubhouse is closed during the pregame.Mnzfdlhs

So how is that time leading up to the game? In high school, you might have speeches from coaches or teammates screaming and getting fired up. Here?

It?s guys sitting in their underwear watching college football, getting ready to play or listening to music. It?s as relaxed as it gets in there.

Come an hour before the game, you start getting focused, thinking about what you?ve going to do. We always have the opposing pitcher, in this case it?s Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer, on the TV, a DVD of what he?s done in the past.

I?m relaxed before the game and like to have fun. But there?s a time when the game starts getting close that I really get focused. People don?t realize that there?s always something going on, people wanting to talk to you about something. But there comes a point where you?ve got to be selfish about it and say, ?Hey, I?ve got to focus on the main thing, which is getting ready to play the ballgame.?

Even right before we go out, there are no last words from the manager or teammates. Nothing. We?re just ready to play.

Just being me

Look I?m asked about the fact that every time I?m at the park, before and after every game, the reporters gather around me and the cameras are on me. So what are my thoughts? What image am I trying to project?

I?m just trying to get it over with. No, I don?t use it as a vehicle or anything like that. Look at me. I?d actually shave or get a haircut if I was trying to portray something.

I?m just trying to tell the truth.

I am what I am. I spent a large part of my life trying to please other people. But then you come to realize that people are going to dislike you no matter what you do or like you no matter what you do.