home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 21, 2003

Roger Clemens


THE MODERATOR: First question for Roger Clemens.

Q. For the last couple days, we've had a succession of young pitchers come in here and say how much they idolized you as kids. How do you feel about that? Do you reflect when you hear kids say something like that?

ROGER CLEMENS: First of all, it makes me feel old, to answer your question. I haven't had a chance to see all the neat articles that you all have been able to put out. I hope to do that once this is over. I've been hearing things, what their starting pitcher was saying tonight, Josh Beckett. Our paths have crossed indirectly through family members. I talked about that story the other day, I don't know how much of it came out. Then just have heard a little bit of what their guys have been saying, so that's great. I mean, I've always said that when I was young I had guys that I looked up to and really admired and really, it gave me encouragement to be better and do great things. Over my 20 years now, just hearing a few comments from some of the younger guys, to me, it makes it all worthwhile that I've been able to do some good things and maybe leave something back, behind, for these younger players.

Q. 75, 100 years from now when baseball fans who never saw you pitch read about what you did, what would you like them to remember you for having done?

ROGER CLEMENS: I really don't know. I would think that when one of these young guys we just got done talking about, if they are able to have a career similar to mine or even better, that once they pass me on these lists, I hope they have a smile or feel some kind of warmth, like I did passing these guys. I mean, in the middle of a game when they put up on the score board you passed a Walter Johnson for strikeouts in American League, it really doesn't set in until I'm driving home after that game. It's hard to let something like that sink in in the middle of a game. It's just been a pleasure for me. I feel very blessed as an individual that I've been able to pass and put my name alongside of some of these other great pitchers, great players. I'm happy with that. I know that tomorrow will be my last start in the Major Leagues. It started a long time ago here in Florida, in this state, as my first professional start in the Minor Leagues, and this will be my last start. I'll be happy, but yet I'll be sad. I'm just grateful for this opportunity to be able to go out there again on the grandest stage and have an opportunity to work. But, again, I think that just the comments that some of these guys are saying, it's good enough.

Q. What are your expectations about hitting tomorrow night, being at the plate in a World Series game? What do you expect out of yourself?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't like hitting because I'm not good at it, is the bottom line. I don't get to practice enough. I like to practice things. I like to work on my fielding, my pitches, the way I throw the ball in between with Mel. It's things that you practice. We don't get to practice it, that's the bottom line. It's not something that we do. If I'm able to get a bunt down to help my team get a guy over or if I happen to run into one of these pitches and get a base hit, which I have in the past, that's fine. I have no problem going to the plate and trying to get comfortable with trying to see the pitch and run the base paths. You just alter your workouts and stuff. I came out here, did some sprints, tried to get up on my toes. Last week, we been doing little quicker movements, if you happen to get on base. You want to try and be somewhat stingy if you're up there. You don't want to be an easy at-bat for the other guy. But yet, you know, I'm a realist. If I'm asked to bunt, I'll bunt. If I'm asked to swing, I'll try and get the bat on the ball.

Q. What do you remember from that very first pro start? I know we're going way back. Where was it? How did you do? What were you feeling? Just any specific memories of that game?

ROGER CLEMENS: I know it was in Winter Haven, Florida. I know that I was extremely -- I was 21 years old, I believe. I was pretty nervous getting ready to walk into the professional clubhouse to see a bunch of other guys that were already pros and already had their time in the league. It was pretty intimidating. Even though I was the No. 1 pick, everything I brought with me to the table out of the University of Texas, it was still pretty nerve-wracking. I found out very fast, of course once I made it to the Majors in '84, they were expecting a lot from me. So that's really it.

Q. Is there one reason that stands above the rest as to why you're walking away even though you're still playing the game at such a high level? Is it a desire to spend time with family? You've accomplished everything you can?

ROGER CLEMENS: I think just like you've said, I've been there and done that. I've been very blessed in all those situations. My body's held up great. It's been by no means by an accident whatsoever. I know the reason why I'm able to do the things I'm able to do at my age and when I was 30 years old. It's the time that I put in and the respect I have for myself and the game and the guys around me. So I can only tell you that everyone that's coming in here tonight and tomorrow from the State of Texas and from around different states, you know, former teammates and people like that, to watch my last go-around, they've made a lot of sacrifices. My family has made a lot of sacrifices to share me with everyone. They've basically stood in the background while I've had all this success. My family that I'm with now, in that clubhouse, is the guys that, over the years, and the guys right now that are in that clubhouse have really made me look good, they've made me shine. I've had a lot of great teammates, a lot of guys that work as hard as I do, my workouts and things the last few years have been documented pretty well. But there's guys in that clubhouse that work as hard, they meet me at night after dinner during spring training and do the work, too. You can only feel good inside about that as a teammate, that a guy is really treating himself like a professional and really taking the game serious and not wasting his time. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to come back and 300 fell in such a way, on the same night to get 4,000. Everything, it just seemed, to work out perfectly. So it would be nice to cap that off with another ring because I think that's what still drives me at this point, I know there's guys in there that don't have an opportunity to look down on their hand and see that World Championship ring and know all the work that goes into it. That's what we're trying to attain right now for them.

Q. There's been some speculation about whether you will actually retire. Some people think you might come back at some point. Are there any circumstances which would convince you that maybe it would be right to return? Or are you completely ruling out coming back to the Major Leagues?

ROGER CLEMENS: I'm not -- I'm dead serious on what I'm doing. I'm pretty set on it. There's some other neat stuff that's been brought to my attention as far as the Olympics and things like that. It's stuff that's just gonna have to wait. What's gonna happen here tonight and tomorrow and the next day is the most important thing right now. It's what our focus is on as a team. At the point that next summer rolls around, I don't know how my body's gonna feel. I don't know if I'm gonna feel that I want to get up off that couch and do the arm exercises, the running, the lifting that I need to do to be a power pitcher. All I know is right now I still enjoy competing, and I'm gonna try and make the most of it tomorrow, tomorrow night.

Q. I'm sure it will be hard for you to ignore the fact that it's your last start tomorrow. It will be on your mind. Yet, at the same time, you have a very important game for your team, a World Series game. How will you separate those two and keep your focus on the game as much as possible?

ROGER CLEMENS: It's just being a creature of habit. I won't change anything I do pregame or anything like that. I don't really think after , once I step, get here to the stadium, that's going to enter my mind. I think the people that have watched the years go by that are the closest to me, I think they will be sitting on that more than I will. I think they'll be thinking about that more than I will. Because once I hit that mound, I'm not gonna have to look any further than the other dugout to know what I'm up against and what I have to do. So I just don't really feel that that's gonna enter in my mind. Maybe afterwards, reflect a little bit. But not at that point.

Q. You talked about the first start in Sarasota. Do you remember your first Major League start? What do you remember about it? A lot of us have been asking you for weeks, this might be your last start and could be your last start. What does it feel like to know, "This is it, there is nothing else"?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, my first Major League start was in Cleveland. I remember it being cold. I remember the manager there, I think it was Corales, if I'm not mistaken. They did everything to me as a rookie. I think they hit and ran, they bunted and ran. If I'm not mistaken, I think Brett Butler was my first Major League hitter. I think I walked him on four or five pitches. Then I believe I picked him off. My first strikeout was Mike Hargrove. You guys have known that. The guys that have followed me around, I've been reading the tidbits, you helped me remember a lot of stuff over the years, which has been great, too, for down the road. I believe I had a no-decision in the game. I don't know that I pitched well or, by my standards, even as a young pitcher. But that's what I remember. And, again, my final start, this is it. We're at that point now; I'm glad I'm able to say that. I didn't have to say that's my last start or the one prior to that in Minnesota or prior to that in Boston, whatever it was. So we know what it is now. It is what it is. Again, my emotions will be happy and sad. Happy that I know it's over and I'm healthy. I pretty much touched on every aspect of the game that I could. I did it right. I put the time in to be successful at this level. I'll be sad because it's my last game and that to go out there and compete will be -- I won't have that. I won't be able to do that. So my emotions will range both ways.

Q. The Yankees have limited the Marlins to four runs over a couple of games. What is the biggest challenge their line-up presents?

ROGER CLEMENS: I have the same challenge Boomer and Andy had and Moose will have tonight. You're gonna have to keep the top guys off, one or two guys off the base pads. It's no secret they showed right out of the gate in Game 1 what this team is about. Then they got some guys that have power right behind them. So it's, to me, it's the same situation like in Minnesota or Boston. They have a combination of both. In Minnesota that's a fast team. When you pitch against Minnesota in Minnesota, they have a team that can do a lot of things to beat you. Defensively, they're very strong. When I pitched on turf in Minnesota, the game's very fast. These guys are very fast. So you have to make some decisions pretty quick once the ball's put in play. Then you get down in their line-up, they got some guys that can hit the ball and hurt you hitting the ball a long ways, like the team in Boston. So I'll be watching a little bit tonight. I'll be able to draw off little things with the line-up, what Mussina does tonight, and then I'll go after them tomorrow with the stuff I have. After I warm up, I'll know how I feel and I'll take that to the mound.

Q. Besides your cap, your jersey and a handful of dirt, what are you going to keep as mementos from the game? Second, how many tickets?

ROGER CLEMENS: I probably got upwards of 50 people gonna be here. Just like you said, I'll probably keep a little bit of everything that you said to keep my hands on a little bit of that? Major League Baseball has been great grabbing some extra special things like bases and pitching rubbers from the games and things like that for keepsakes for down the road. The Hall of Fame has been calling. Our PR guys inside have been great about getting pieces for them. Just trying to spread it out and do the best you can so everybody has a little something from it.

Q. How strange is it for you to go up against another pitcher as a batter, and will you ask Joe for the line-up card no matter what happens tomorrow?

ROGER CLEMENS: I'm not really sure I understand how strange it is. Like I said, to go up and to hit, it's something we don't practice. I don't have, like I said -- if I was in this league and had to do it, it would be great because I'd practice it more. I think every day, the pitchers in the National League get to go out and hit and bunt and practice their -- practice that aspect of their game. We don't practice it. So, again, I don't like doing things that I don't get to practice at because I'm not good at it. Joe, as far as Joe goes, I mean our Skipper knows pretty much every game, it's been well-documented on my road to 300, if you will, and a few of the other stops. He comes in, after he shakes my hand, gives me a hug and hands me the line-up card most of the time.

Q. You're personable, articulate, you have great insight into the game. Can you see yourself next year at the World Series, being on this side of the table, asking questions of the starting pitcher?

ROGER CLEMENS: (Laughing), yeah, I've been listening to some of the guys. I do, I find it intriguing to ask some of the guys that I don't know, and hitters for that means. I get to maybe talk to a few more hitters and maybe ask them for a couple things for my collection that I really don't want to ask them, I don't want to get too closse to them just yet (smiling) I think I'm the opposite of what Ted Williams used to say or something like that, he used to get all over us pitchers. I've got to hold up the other end. But, yeah, I think it's great. I thought it was pretty neat the times that I'm actually in the clubhouse when the game's going on and I get to hear with Booney and Leiter doing the games. That sounds fun. Really, I've always enjoyed in this time of year, when the playoffs come, to watch how interesting it gets, how many of you all are around and work different angles to bring out certain stories that, when I see them or I read them, it's something I didn't know about a person or a player. So that's pretty interesting to, I would think, to us. It is to me. I would hope it is to some of the other guys in the clubhouse.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297