10/06/2004 2:34 AM ET
Q&A with Gary Sheffield
Yankees RF talks about first playoff game in pinstripes
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Gary Sheffield played his first postseason game in pinstripes on Tuesday, going 0-for-2 with two walks in New York's 2-0 loss to Minnesota in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
|Before Tuesday's game, Gary Sheffield watched his wife sing the national anthem. During the game, he went 0-for-2. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
Before the game, Sheffield had the pleasure of watching his wife, DeLeon, sing the national anthem in front of a capacity crowd of 55,749 at Yankee Stadium.
After the game, Sheffield talked with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand and discussed his first Yankees' playoff game experience, Twins starter Johan Santana and what the Bronx Bombers have to do to even the series up on Wednesday.
MLB.com: You've said all season that playing a postseason game in pinstripes would feel different than previous postseason games. Did it?
Sheffield: It was the most fun I've ever had. It's something I'll never forget, and I'll take it to my grave. It was so intense. Seeing the people coming in, watching the crowd build up, I was just looking around, trying to take it all in. Once the stands were filled up, it got so loud, you felt like it was the playoffs.
MLB.com: Your wife, DeLeon, sang the national anthem before the game. What did that mean to you?
Sheffield: That was the most special thing I've ever been a part of. To have my wife sing the anthem in New York, where I always wanted to play and win a World Series, it was a moment we'll always remember.
MLB.com: There was a lot of talk before the game about your comments regarding steroid use. Are you worried that it could become a distraction?
Sheffield: Not at all. Anybody that knows me knows that I'm going to tell the truth about anything. I've been honest since Spring Training, when people hit me with questions on the first day and tried to spoil it. The same thing happened here, but I'm not letting it bother me.
MLB.com: You guys got to Santana for nine hits and had some chances. Were you impressed with the way he got out of jams when he needed to?
Sheffield: I don't think anybody all season made him work as hard as we made him work today. We worked the count, tried to get ahead, and when we got guys on, he made his pitches. You have to tip your cap to a pitcher who battles like he does.
MLB.com: It looked like a lot of guys were swinging at the first pitch. Was that in the scouting report, to try to get to him early?
Sheffield: You have to look for a fastball, recognize it and try to attack it. If you let him get ahead in the count, he has so many weapons he can go to, so it's hard to get good swings against him.
MLB.com: They turned five double plays to kill several rallies. Does that get frustrating as the game goes along?
Sheffield: It's not frustrating, because on our side, we kept thinking that one hit was going to get through and change the ballgame. It just didn't happen.
MLB.com: What did you think of Mike Mussina's performance tonight?
Sheffield: He was awesome. He pitched a great game, which is what we expected. We didn't come through offensively for him, but he was outstanding.
MLB.com: Torii Hunter made two great plays for them, and their defense played a mistake-free game. How rare is it to see a team make every single play they needed to make?
Sheffield: That was a perfect ballgame they played. Guys got ground balls and turned two behind Santana, we hit balls in the gap and they ran them down. And A-Rod's ball [which Hunter caught with a leaping grab at the wall], well, you never want to hit it to that guy.
MLB.com: What are your thoughts on Game 2, facing Brad Radke?
Sheffield: We have to make him work like we did with Santana. Hopefully he won't pitch as well. We have to think we'll play a better game tomorrow, not worry about tonight.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.