Phil Coke in his element
Dana WakijiFOX Sports Detroit
DETROIT -- The world just got a glimpse of the character that is Tigers reliever Phil Coke.
The Tigers brought Coke into the interview room before Game 4 and Coke was clearly having a good time.
I guess that's what two saves against your former team will do for you.
Coke had several interesting things to say.
First, on the three-team trade that brought him to Detroit from the Yankees:
"Correct me if I am wrong, but Ian Kennedy had a ridiculous year last year and pitched his team into the playoffs, a former teammate as well. Edwin Jackson, right, with the Nationals, he was just in the playoffs recently. Myself, (Max) Scherzer, (Austin) Jackson, Daniel Schlereth, and forgive me whoever I am forgetting in the deal. But it seems that each team has benefited greatly by the trade that was made. So I don't see there being anybody getting the short straw in any of the deal."
On his oft-criticized manager, Jim Leyland:
"He handles me very well. I am definitely the type that isn't very forgiving when it comes to small things, like walking around with your shoes off or something like that. I will get on you. And he handles it pretty good. Honestly, he's phenomenal dealing with the pitching staff as far as making sure there's days off when they're needed. And letting you go, if he is watching you, he is paying attention to your pitch count and everything like that. If he has a decent feel for what's going on with you, he's either going to let you go or going to pull you out. He does a really good job of managing the game for us and making the right call on a regular basis as to how he's feeling and how he sees guys performing and so on and so forth. I don't think he's earned the need to be questioned so much."
Then there was this amusing exchange. A reporter prefaced his question by saying, "Phil, I know you're a professional athlete, so your mindset is going to be ..."
Coke interrupted, saying, "Thank you, man." (laughs all around).
The question was whether Coke had been nervous in the situation he was in with the game on the line in Game 3.
"No, I was extremely excited. I was very pumped up. And when the stands erupted in absolute craziness, probably was the most fired up -- I was really excited. And they went crazy, and I got really, really excited. And then I gave up a hit or two, and then I got really, really, really more excited when I went 3-2 and got the punch-out. And it was really cool. I didn't know there were that many levels of adrenaline or excitement that you can go through, but I have done it."
On his way out of the interview room, a gleeful Coke looked at the assembled media and said, "You guys are so friggin' dead! Pick it up!"
Ah, yes, the excitable Coke. Never a dull moment with that one.