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A 1,030-word speech from Paul Lo Duca

After last night's game, Paul Lo Duca held court with a few reporters. You might call it an interview, but it seemed more like an impassioned monologue. I didn't have time last night on deadline to transcribe the full Lo Duca soliloquy, but I do now, and as a public service, I'll paste it below. You really don't even need the few questions that were asked... he was just rollin'. He starts, first, by talking about why he chose to address the team during the meeting yesterday afternoon.



I just felt, take pride, take pride in the game. You know, I'm in a situation here where I'm on the bench now, and I can't pout about it. The kid, Flores, has played well. I'm in a situation where, if I go to another team, I go to another team. But I'm still a National [for now]... When you are a losing team or last-place team, a lot of things get magnified; when you don't hustle balls out, or you don't do the little things to win ballgames, things get magnified. And, you know, we don't have the big boppers in our lineup, and we need to do the little things to win. And we need to take pride in that. And, not play for paychecks, but play for pride. I was just reiterating that, and trying to tell guys that, you know, you're getting opportunities. I spent nine years in the minor leagues. When I was 25 years old, I probably could have been in the big leagues for a lot of teams, but I had a guy named Mike Piazza playing. So it wasn't happening. So I was in the minor leagues. I learned in the minor leagues. And a lot of these kids are learning up here.

[Winning] is a great feeling, but Manny said it earlier. We could have won two out of three games, and this team has a great chance to go to the World Series. We need to take that same approach every day. And I told them, do you think I really want to play outfield or first base? No. But it's the way I'm going to get at bats, and I almost killed myself yesterday; I was out here at 2 p.m. taking fly balls, and I'm too old for that crap. But you know, that's what I've got to do to get at bats and get in the game and show that I can still play. And I'm going to do that. And that's the approach we need to take. Don't take it for granted. I'm 36 years old, and my career is not over. I want to keep playing, and I want to take that approach until they take the jersey off of my back. And that's what you need to do. This game is not about stats, it's about going to sleep at night. I don't care how much money you've got in the bank or whatever, I want to sleep at night with a World Series ring. I'll tell you that right now. And I'm not going to stop until I get it. If I don't get it, Hey, at least I know I gave an effort and tried. That's the way I want these guys to look at it. You know, I gave Flo (Flores) a big hug after the game. That's a professional at bat. He had four tough at bats, he's gone in a little slump; that's gonna happen. We've all done it. He comes up with a big hit when it counts. He doesn't keep his head down. I gave him a hug and that's how you do it.

We've had a lot of injuries and a lot of situations and a lot of guys playing different positions. Manny, I know, has done everything he can, and a lot of the young kids have come up. ... But listen, you're going to lose ballgames, you're going to win ballgames, but you can't lose ballgames by -- like, even myself, missing cutoff men and doing little things like that. You don't want to lose ballgames like that. You get out-hit and the guy on the mound shuts you down? So be it, you tip your cap. You'd rather lose ballgames like that than the way we've been playing -- which has been sloppy.

I hope [people listened to my message]. I'm not saying I've got a lot of wisdom, but you know, I've been through a lot of hard times in this game. The last three years of my career have been hell, off and on the field, off the field more than on. But I've straightened my life out, I'm happy, I'm gonna get married again. I went through a bad divorce. I went through all of it. You name it -- and there's not one person in this clubhouse who can say, 'Give me a sob story.' I've been there. So, that's part of life. We've all got skeletons in the closet. But when you come to the ballpark, get here early, get your crap done and get ready to play. Go to that batter's box knowing that I'm prepared. And that's what we need to do: prepare ourselves. Baseball players, preparation is everything. And if you're not prepared, that guy on the mound ain't gonna make friends with you.

Like I said, I don't know if I'm going to be here the rest of the year. I don't know. I don't know if I'm going to be with another team or what's gonna happen. But like I said, I'm still here at 2 o'clock ready to play in the game. Last night from the hospital, I texted Manny; I told him I wanted to be in the lineup today. I wanted to play. And he's like, We want to give you a couple days [off]. And that's fine. I'll be ready to play, and if I'm not in the lineup, I'll be ready to hit like I was tonight. You can't sit there and [complain] about it.

It was just something I wanted to get off of my chest, something I wanted to tell the guys from the beginning. A lot of the young kids here -- sometimes they get comfortable. And you have to realize, you're a last-place time. It's not fun to be a last-place team. We've got the worst record in the National League. And we need to do something about it, and take pride about it. I don't want to be the last-place team in the league. I don't care if I'm playing or not. I'm not going to let that happen, and that's the way I look at it.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 26, 2008; 12:10 PM ET
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