We got our chance to celebrate a good season as a team a few days ago. It was great. We played a good game here, almost had a great comeback and lost, but then had to wait and see what Texas did out in Anaheim. Once they lost, the party was on.
Even though we lost that night, what matters is that we played well through the year, so that’s why we were celebrating. It’s
not all about one game. It’s about all the 162 games that you play to be the one of the teams celebrating going to the playoffs.
Of course, you’d rather win and clinch it yourself, but when it happens, you have to take it, no matter what. Everybody on the team, pretty much, was there. It was great.
Now, it’s almost time for the playoffs. The whole world is watching you. When you have everyone watching you, there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of adrenaline going on. You want to get the best out of it.
You talk about the pressure of the playoffs and all that, but I don’t really think about it, because that’s when you start getting nervous and putting pressure on yourself.
We’re playing the Angels. Man, it seems like we play them every year, but whatever it takes. That’s how it is. They played the best in their division, and we had a tough fight for ours, but we’ll go in as the Wild Card. We won the World Series before as the Wild Card, so the key is just getting there.
It’s funny that we keep playing the Angels because Vladimir Guerrero is one of my best friends. I’d love to see him move on in the playoffs and play in the next round, but I can’t feel that way when he’s playing against us. You’re trying to win as many games as you can, as fast as you can, and I feel bad for him because he’s my friend, and we beat him the last couple of years, but that’s how it goes. I’ve got not just him, but Torii Hunter is another great friend. That’s my boy right there. We go way back to when we were in Minnesota together. It’s crazy.
Our team — we’re faced with a really good situation. We had some rough series with the Yankees and the Blue Jays lately, but things happen, and guys know how to figure things out. Now, we’re coming up to the biggest time of year.
I think we go through a lot of things during the year, but this is the time of year you love. You want to play in October. I was talking to Melvin Mora when we were playing Baltimore, and he told me, “You guys look like you’re ready go to go the playoffs.” He told me he would like to have that feeling.
It’s just a different feeling you have this time of year. You can feel the cool breeze, and you know October is on the way. A lot of people at this time of year, they’re worn out, they’re ready for vacation. I’ve been in the postseason tons of times, and it’s fun. This time, I’m thinking about postseason. I’m planning my vacation for the end of November or December. Deep down inside, I don’t want my vacation to start before that.
I remember in 2006, we didn’t make it to the playoffs, and I felt like I had too much time off. It was like, “Jeez, what should I do now? I’m supposed to be playing now.” Then, I watched the games on TV, and it wasn’t a good feeling. Not everybody gets prepared to be playing in October, but this ballclub gets prepared to be playing in October.
We’ve made some moves the last couple of months that are going to help us get where we want to go. Alex Gonzalez played here before; he knows what our goals are. Victor Martinez, this is his first time playing here, but he faced us in 2007 in the playoffs. He knows what this team is capable of doing. Their mentalityis just easy for them to make the adjustment here. They have an idea of what’s up.
Those guys, they bring a lot of energy and that hunger. They’re ready to play. Victor said to me, “I was so close to getting a ring, and you guys just kicked my butt. But now, when you can’t beat the enemy, you join them, so that’s why I’m here.”
Victor keeps me going during the game. Oh, yeah. He’ll be screaming at me, he will punch me. He’ll do whatever it takes.
By the way, everyone should check out my new restaurant in Framingham, Mass., Big Papi’s Grille. I go there when I can, and it seems like people have fun, people like the food. Man, I’m telling you, it’s really good. We have everything over there: seafood, steaks, all kinds of salads and appetizers. We’re adding things every couple of weeks, and people love it. Stop by!
Last time I was there, I hung out with some friends for three or four hours, and it was a good time. You might bump into me and my friends any time.