Hall of Famer John Schuerholz: Players recognized Braves’ potential before executives

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Hall of Famer John Schuerholz discusses Braves' 2018 NLDS run

KELSEY WINGERT: Well, we have made it. We are here in Dodger Stadium. Hard to believe the NLDS is about to begin. Mr. John Schuerholz is joining me.

And, you know, we've been talking the last 12 days about clinching the NL East, how exciting it is. How much more has it sunk in for you now that we're sitting here in the dugout here at Dodger Stadium, you're watching your guys warm up?

- Well, it's always a fun topic to talk about. So, you know, it's-- it's-- these guys are all fired up. And we are, too. And just watched the Dodgers work out in their early pre-game workout, in their pre-series workout, and our guys are out there now.

So it's fun. Everybody's excited. This is a great venue. Two legendary organizations matching up in this-- in this first division series, and it's going to be fun.

- We talked about this. Well, the last time we talked about this, you and I were both covered in champagne.

- Yeah.

- Now-- now we are not, which is good. But when you look at what this team has done this season, and-- and everything you guys have gone through the last five years, I mean, how much more special has it made this-- this pennant chase and winning the pennant this year?

- Well, we fought hard to get back here. We knew we had to change some things up. We did that. We got the organization back in a groove.

Alex Anthopoulos, now leading the way as the general manager, and-- and the player mix that we have that he's created, and the guys that have come through our system, blended well under Brian Snitker's leadership, has worked so well. And they-- and you could see it grow and get better throughout the year. And the competitive spirit grew and became real throughout the year. And these guys went on to win the division. And no one expected that to happen.

KELSEY WINGERT: Yeah.

- And they did it because they were determined, they had good leadership, they had good commitment, and they're winners. And that's why we're here getting ready for this series.

- You said no one expected this to happen. And it seems like almost all season, nobody besides you guys and the team had bought in. It just felt like constant questions about, well, the Braves got to get through this road trip or the Braves got to win this series. Well, now you're sitting here, like we mentioned, getting ready for the NLDS. But was there a point in this season where you really and truly realized, all right, this team is-- is special?

- Well, I first have to admit before I answer that question that I, myself, didn't know, or wondered, whether these guys would have this ability and-- and cohesiveness and ability to win games until about midway through the season. But they said, the heck with that. At spring training, they were looking at each other, saying, hey, we got a good team here.

KELSEY WINGERT: Yeah.

- We've got a chance to go after this thing from the very beginning. As it turned out, their energy, their-- their commitment, and their ability to play got us to where we are.

- Yeah. Mike Foltynewicz taking the mound--

- Ah.

- --for you guys tomorrow. And you know, we were speaking of Brian Snitker yesterday before you guys left SunTrust Park. And he was saying, Folty is our guy. He's been our guy. We have believed in him.

And now you're going to get to see him take the mound in game one. And we have seen this unexplainable growth from him this year. He's-- he's turned into an ace. How excited are you to see him take the mound after the year he's had?

- Well, I can remember when we made the deal. And we made some tough deals. And in one of those deals, we acquired Folty from the Houston Astros. And we believe that he had that capability and that prospective ability in him to be the ace of a staff.

And so-- and he's shown that in his growth and development. He's taken that job, he's taken that responsibility, he's handled it like a true champion. And he's going to take the mound tomorrow night and get us that first win at Dodger Stadium.

- Heck yes. And you know, with these young guys, we've been-- we've been hearing the term all year. They're-- they have this blind confidence. They don't care who's on the mound. They don't care who they're playing. They're going to go out there and they're going to play their game. How excited are you to see the guys, like Albies, and Acuña, and Camargo, play in October and see how they respond to that?

- Well, they have high confidence in their-- in their selves and their ability. And having blind confidence is probably a good thing, not worried about the peripheral elements that are being talked about. Just do your job. Concentrate on winning the game. Be champions. And I think they will be.

- Well, Mr. Schuerholz, thank you so much for your time. I'm going to let you take in all of this right now. Beautiful night here in LA. We're looking forward to game one tomorrow. Thank you so much.

- Thank you.