09/29/2011 5:01 PM ET
Ziegler: We're not finished yet
D-backs reliever says winning division is only the first step
The phrase, Arizona Diamondbacks: 2011 National League West division champions, has a good ring to it.
We had a great champagne party when we clinched, and it was a lot of fun. We did something a little different because we wanted to include the fans, so we went out and jumped in the pool to celebrate. We did that because our fans have been fantastic. They have really been there for us in large numbers down the stretch, and we wanted to show them that we recognized that, that we are aware that they have supported us in this economy. They have made sacrifices to come and support our club -- we had attendance marks in the 40,000s over the last weekend -- and we don't take that phenomenal support for granted. We take that support, and it really helps drive us as a team.
While we are proud of that first accomplishment, and while on a personal note I am really excited to be in this position for the first time in my career, there is a very big sense in our locker room that this is the first step. We are not done yet. We very much believe that we can win the whole thing, and now it is about playing our best baseball in October.
I think a big reason we have that belief is our collective mindset. I started this season in Oakland, and it is not like guys there didn't have a winning attitude -- many guys there had won before, including some guys who have won in Oakland before. But I think you really have to look at who Arizona has brought in recently to join this club. They are guys who not only fit a need on the ballclub and fit in the payroll scheme, but they were guys who bring a light, fun, relaxed atmosphere to the clubhouse.
In the front office, it starts with Kevin Towers sitting down and analyzing everything. He decides what kind of contract to offer a player, and he factors in how a guy's personality will fit with the rest of the team and the atmosphere in our clubhouse.
When you combine that with the coaching staff that we have and the immense experience they have as players, there is a very intense attitude, but it is also a clubhouse that knows how to win. We, as players, respect the coaches so much because of the success they had during their careers as players. We know we can feed off of them and get advice from them that will help us as we go down our own road.
The leader of the coaching staff is Kirk Gibson, and from a distance, watching his press conferences, I would think that he comes across as gruff and unapproachable. That would be what I saw before I got here and even looking back at him as a player. He played with such an attitude and an intensity.
Then you join the club, get in our locker room, and you see that he is extremely approachable. Yes, he is intense, but he also loves to joke around. He just doesn't always show that, and there is sarcasm in there. You just don't see him belly-laughing all the time, but he does joke around with us, and he says things that are funny.
Most importantly, he has an open-door policy where he will talk to you if you have a concern or if you have something on your mind. He will talk to you man-to-man. We feel we have a say in things and that lends to players respecting him even more.
Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler is getting ready for his first taste of postseason baseball. The lean right-hander joined the D-backs after a midseason trade from the A's, and he posted a 1.74 ERA in 23 relief appearances with his new club. On the year, he has a 3-2 record, a 2.16 ERA and one save in 66 games, three short of his career-high.