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October 10, 2003

Roger Clemens


Q. I was wondering, can you explain the phenomena that Trot Nixon has had success against you, is that a fluky thing, that some guys match up with some pitchers?

ROGER CLEMENS: I think Trot has had good success. I think he's hit some balls that were for power that I've left in the middle that he's hit well. Over my career, I'm sure there's guys that have numbers like that. When you play as long as I have that's bound to happen. You try and pay a little more attention to a guy like Trot in certain situations. And I'm a fastball pitcher; he likes the fastball. It's pretty simple, too.

Q. Are there going to be any emotions with you tomorrow in the last start, or did the last regular season start and the ovation get a lot of that out of the way?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't know. I think I'll be as excited as I was warming up in Minnesota. I'm trying to enjoy all of this, but once you hit the field, I've trained myself over the years that it all comes down to getting on the mound, seeing how my body feels and executing and making good pitches. If I don't have a little adrenaline rush early, I would be as surprised as anyone. I expect to be excited about it. I know as we march through these playoffs that my starts are coming towards an end. You just don't want it to be the next one. You want to be able to continue.

Q. How moved were you by the ovation you got here the last time you pitched here August 31?

ROGER CLEMENS: It was great. I think I reflected on it after that start, but again, it's no different than today. Going out to lunch today, getting up, the fans that were my fans when I was here were great. I understand, and they understand, the situation now; that I'm pitching against the Red Sox. So that's totally understandable. Other than what I guess people have read or what they have assumed without hearing the true story or whatever's been said, I've kind of distanced myself from it. It's been great for the most part. It's been great. It's not too overwhelming and it's not really a big concern of mine. I have to go out and pitch well and pitch against a good lineup and try and get guys out. But bottom line, the fans have been great to me when I worked here, and even since I've come back.

Q. Is it possible for you to put yourself in the position of those people who are so excited and have anticipated this match up and are building it up, and to say, you can see why they feel that way?

ROGER CLEMENS: Feel what way?

Q. Why they are so looking forward to seeing you match up against Pedro?

ROGER CLEMENS: I think it's a great match-up. This is what playoff baseball is about. You're going to have great matchups. Like they talk about, if Pedro is on and I'm on, then it's going to be exciting. If one with of us doesn't make pitches it's not going to be that great of a game. It will be great for one team or the other. I think it's just the way you play. That's why you get up in December to work, to do my work, for these moments to come back after 20 years and the manager hand me a ball and telling me to go get 'em. That's what I've done my entire career and what I look forward to.

Q. Does it mean more to you because it's the Red Sox?

ROGER CLEMENS: I'm not sure what he'll say tomorrow. He'll probably have a little meeting like he's done before. Somebody will say something but I don't know what will be said.

Q. As much as this game obviously means to this series, do you ever allow yourself even for a moment to think, "This is me against Pedro" one on one?

ROGER CLEMENS: No. Because we are not in a boxing ring. I have got nine or 12 or 14 guys that have to go to the plate against Pedro and they will try to break him down and execute. I will have my own game plan as far as how I'm going to try to break down this lineup that the Red Sox have, which is a very good lineup. Again, try and keep it as simple as possible. It's all about making pitches, and that's what I'll have to do. I don't really get into that part of it. When I'm not working or facing Pedro, I enjoy to watch him work. I enjoy watching him when he faces Moose or Andy or anyone on our staff, because you're not actually out there doing the work, and then having to come inside and concentrate on the next three hitters or what you're going to do the next inning, see how deep you can get into the game. Pedro is no different than when I get the opportunity to watch Maddux or Randy or any of these guys. I enjoy watching these guys work.

Q. When you were going for 300, I remember you saying that Rick was putting some photos of the pitchers you were approaching in your locker so you could keep up with them. I know you did it then, but when did you start following some of the great pitchers in history and can you talk about some of your favorites?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I mean, my family, my mother, I made -- when you talk about tradition and history, I came from a university that's very rich in tradition. And by the way, there's two big games on Saturday, forget that, and it's not 1 and 2, it's 1 and 1, with Oklahoma and Texas. (Laughter.) I think I've been lucky to pitch in a ballpark like Fenway where they have had a lot of great players come through here, rich in tradition here, just because of the history of the franchise, and then the same thing with being part of the New York Yankees' history and everything that goes along with it, the great names that have come through that stadium and being part of a championship team. There's nothing greater than once you win and you have that ring and you have the parade and everything that goes along with that, but yeah, my mother started way back when. She wrote me a couple of poems and they really pushed me out there, if you will, as far as learning a little bit about the history of some of these clubs when I was 21 years old. And then you get to see it firsthand. You have these old-timer games. You have these games where you meet Ted Williams and Johnny Peske and Joe Wood, who was in a wheelchair at one point in time. And then you meet Yogi and Whitey and Reggie and it's on and on. I've gotten to meet a lot of the guy guys that I've watched from the pitching aspect of it. I had the opportunity to meet Nolan after watching him when I was young; having Seaver as a teammate here. It just goes on and on. Before Big D passed away on his radio show I got to talk to him, once he turned it off and put the mic down we got to talk baseball and that was fun hearing what he had to say about the game and how he approached the game and how the game has changed and how it will change. So I've been able to track down and run down a lot of great men with some really cool nicknames in their own right. It's been fun.

Q. Have you had a hitter in your career who is the equivalent of what Enrique Wilson is to Pedro Martinez is and what could a pitcher do when a guy who should seemingly be overmatched become such a pest?

ROGER CLEMENS: With a lineup this deep, you can overlook a guy sometimes. They can lay in the weeds real quiet and come up in certain situations to hurt you. Over the years I've had guys that were just tough outs for me, guys that are either good situational hitters or just good contact hitters that you are not going to strike out and you just have to approach it that way. I've said many times, I'm hard-headed, you have to do it twice to make me believe it and then I'll change. Once they do that you tip your cap and start trying to find adjustments, try to find another way to break a guy down. So, yeah, you'd have to talk to Enrique about that. He's a good player. He's a great player to have on the bench. He's a great player to fill in when some of our guys need a break and you have to have those role players, being this is such a team game, you have to have those type of players.

Q. Joe Torre said you're a different pitcher now than you were when you pitched here in '99 in the ALCS; what was different then?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I don't really think there's much difference, except I'm fortunate enough to be on a power pitchers -- when I go out there on the days when I don't have my overpowering fastball I can still pitch. I learned how to pitch long before I had a fastball. So I was lucky that since there were some power pitchers that come up and throw the heck out of the ball and they can't find the plate and they are just basically worried about strikeouts. It was the other way around; that I had great control when I was young and decent curveball. I added the split late. I don't think much has changed in that aspect. Joe has made the comment two or three times, I seem much more relaxed, this being my final year, and it may seem that way, but my approach has not changed. I still like to have a plan. I pay real close attention to detail. I've always done that. I just think some of the other guys have gotten to take a little more time. I don't know if it's the urgency because I'm leaving but I'm getting a lot of questions asked by younger pitchers, younger players and getting phone calls from different pitchers. Maybe people are trying to draw some information and a lot of them are telling me thanks and good luck down the road whatever you choose to do. I don't think much has changed.

Q. Other than the final result, what do you remember most about that playoff game in '99?

ROGER CLEMENS: I haven't really -- I don't remember a lot of it. I just know when I was out of the game it got way out of hand. It was just one game. Like I told some of the other guys, Andy asked me yesterday, "You got anything for me before a big game" as far as any advice. All he has to do is be himself. I'm in a situation now where I'm kind of the winning man again here. He got us even and now I'm like a swing guy here if I can get this game tomorrow and put us in a better spot than we were yesterday. I don't remember a lot about that game, just to get it done. Simple as that. I don't really dwell on those situations. I've had bad games before. So I don't really dwell on that.

Q. Are you better now at controlling your emotions pitching here at Fenway than right after you first left the Red Sox?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't know, really, how to break that down as far as pitching, it is a lot of things. Physically I'm going to beat you, mentally I can beat you, and emotionally I'm going to beat you if my game is not up where it needs to be. You can take that any way you want it. I use all three of those to try and elevate my game. I hope it's not changed, but if it's changed, I need to walk away now because I would not be the pitcher that I am.

Q. When you have so many big factors, like you'll be having tomorrow, playoff environment, facing the other team, do you need to block those things out or can you use those things to feed off?

ROGER CLEMENS: It's experience. I've had it -- I've had playoff experience when I was extremely young and I've been fortunate to experience it a lot of late. I know what to expect. As long as my body feels great, as long as I feel healthy, you just deal with what comes your way. I don't know any other way to approach that. I want to get the guys -- these games, you don't really have to fire guys up. Like I said sometimes during the regular season, you have to go out there and strike a couple of guys out there real quick and get your fans into it and get the crowd into it, get your teammates into it. But in the playoffs, if you can't get fired up and ready to go for these situations, then again, you shouldn't be out there.

Q. Guys like you and Pedro are intimidating on the mound to a lot of hitters. What intimidates you when you're on the mound; does anything intimidate you when you're out will?

ROGER CLEMENS: I hope not, not on this level. Again, intimidation, it goes with winning. You can't be intimidating if you're not a winner and you have to be able to win and you have to be able to get the job done. Again, I find it pretty comical when people talk and make comments that they shouldn't be making comments on because they have never played our game and have no idea what they are talking about. But when you pitch inside, you don't pitch inside to hit guys. You pitch inside to make a 17-inch plate a 24-inch plate and you have to do that more so now because it's on national TV, our guys back there behind the plate, they are getting scrutinized, and it's tight. So you have to deal with it. You seal it from game-to-game. Sometimes there's guys back there, they are human beings. That's my bread and butter, Jorge and the guy behind the plate; I need to know what's going on and I need to know where I can to get a crucial strike if I need it. To me that's part of intimidation. That's why you pitch inside, some of these guys are wearing stuff now that, I mean, they feel safe in Iraq. So you have to, you have to expand the strike zone as best you can. Some of these hitters are just so good. If you don't, you're going to get killed. In a sense, I'm kind of glad it's my last year. I wouldn't want to be around the way some of these guys -- if you don't have an overpowering fastball or you can't really, really be -- have a lot of trickery out there, you could be in for a long day. And when I'm not sharp I'm in for a long day. I've proven it here. Over at our place I haven't thrown too well against these guys. Who knows.

Q. This being the final go-around, how are you trying to make sure that you appreciate the little things, what are the things you're doing just to make sure you savor everything that you can?

ROGER CLEMENS: That came a long time ago. That's when I appreciated things when I was 21, 22; not when I'm 41 and on my way out the door. If I just realized that, I missed a lot. There's a lot of guys that miss a lot in this game because they sleep in, they do their thing, and miss their chance to see the world for a free ticket. I have a hard time getting guys to go see the Pentagon, go to D.C. to see the Oval Office, go to the Federal buildings up there. When we're in Baltimore you get a free ticket to see the country and when you're out seeing and meeting new people and faces or you're playing a round of golf and meeting people and seeing a lot of beautiful towns. I appreciated that a long time ago. It didn't hit me just now. And those are probably the things I'll miss. I talk about the competition but those are other things I'll miss when I step aside.

Q. 20 years from now, how do you want people to remember you?

ROGER CLEMENS: I almost would rather leave that up to my teammates. I think if you ask all of my teammates that I played with from the past, the comments I get from my peers, when I came out of the -- my last regular season start against Baltimore and seen all of their guys, clapping, tipping their hat, guys I battled against, guys I competed against, I don't have to look any further than that. That's the guys that I appreciate. I think they understand and they know it because there's some guys over there that have 15 years in and they know what they have gone through. You know, I love to compete. To my last game, I love to compete and I've never lost that. I've never lost that will and that desire to compete.

End of FastScripts...

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