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July 15, 2003

Roger Clemens


Q. Could you just take us through the last 24 hours, when you got the call, how you had to facilitate getting here? I noticed you had your sons here, and I heard you had some travel issues, all you've done?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, most definitely. I think it was about 10:00 yesterday, I was at our lake property about an hour north of Houston and got a phone call from Mr. Cashman. He said that basically, somebody went down and they needed an arm, and that was the phone call. I had to call him back. He had left a message. At one point, they started trying to find me. I didn't get a chance to get back to him until about 10:00 and he needed an answer in 45 minutes and I told him it was going to take every bit of that. Then just sat down with my family and told them what was going on, what had happened. I had not heard the details at that point and they just said they needed somebody to pitch, looked like they were short or somebody went down was what they just said. My phone just kept ringing, so we made the decision to come. Everybody was all for it, except for my littlest one, he sighed about it, but once I told him we were not leaving until the morning, because obviously we had a lot of family stuff planned -- it kind of caught us by surprise. Got back to my main house there in Houston late last night and got everybody unpackedm and then grabbed some stuff and had planned on getting in here about noon, but I don't know if you saw the weather at home, the hurricane made for bad weather. About 8:00 or 9:00 this morning, it was off. I didn't think we were coming, just for the fact that we couldn't get a plane through that weather. The winds were very heavy, they still may be. I haven't been able to check. I don't know if I'll be able to get back home this evening. That was the drill of what happened. It was off and back on. And at noon today they said if I could drive an hour and a half to College Station, they could get a jet in there and get us up here. That's how it happened. We had our fingers crossed and good weather. The pilots were great and I'm here.

Q. What does it mean to you to have one more chance to pitch an All-Star Game?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, just to have the opportunity to work, to get a call, and once I found out what had happened, I was relieved that no one -- I thought somebody got hurt and just to know -- now I know that Barry, I guess, pitched a lot of innings. I guess it's in question whether Doc is going to work or not, Roy Halladay. Just to have the opportunity to help out, I don't know if I was the first call or what part of the chain I was in, but it was very gratifying, but I want to get my body ready to work now and try to help out. It is important, even though I've been hearing every unlikely scenario, for the American League it's important to kind of steal one. I think it's really the National League's turn to have the home field, so we can really swipe it from under their feet if we have a good game tonight.

Q. Who came along with your family and friends?

ROGER CLEMENS: My wife, four buys, my brother-in-law and mother-in-law. Everybody was at the lake house and then at the main house -- I left my coach behind. We did heavy legs yesterday and he was going to work me through these three days so I don't get caught in the second half. We are going to continue to work in the morning. We were able to get some work done and we left him behind, just because of the size of the jet and how quickly everything unfolded.

Q. How certain are you that this will, indeed, likely be your last All-Star Game, and can you speak of being here this year, how fitting it is because of the milestones that you've already accomplished this season?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I will have -- I'm going to try to enjoy it as much as I can. When you have to work and get ready, obviously you want to stay away from -- get your body ready to perform. That's the most important thing. Once I leave this conference room, that will be the first thing on my mind. You know, it will be my last All-Star Game and this is my last year, so I'll try and enjoy it as much as I can. I want my family to enjoy it. It was their decision that I'm here. And along with -- went through the process to get another arm here -- and being my last year, it's been a great year so far, it's been a good first half and I'm excited about it, a lot of work this second half that it doesn't matter if my accomplishments are what they are, but I'm still looking for the lead and that goes for all the other players in the clubhouse. I feel my age looking around the clubhouse, but it's really nice that we have some older veterans in there that hopefully these guys can appreciate down the road once they accumulate a few more All-Star appearances.

Q. Whose jet was it that you came on and how shaky was the weather on take off?

ROGER CLEMENS: It was good. We beat it. It was our jet. It was just that they couldn't get into Houston. They are stationed out at Dallas, and they just said, "You've got to get to College Station by noon or it's a no-go." We were able to get there about 12:20, and the storm, it was hitting quick there, too. The winds were extremely heavy driving, and the rain, and everything to get to College Station, so I'm just really happy that it all worked out.

Q. Barry Zito said that he obviously was disappointed that he was not going to be able to pitch, but just proud of the fact that you would be taking his spot and he's looking forward to meeting you. Tributes like that, from all of the other players; is this a very gratifying feeling, knowing that these guys are glad to see you pitching in your last year even though you did not get chosen to the squad originally?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, I've met, I think, Barry before. And again, I didn't get the logistics until late last night, what was going on; that he was not available to pitch. I don't know, really, the exact breakdown. I talked to Bud Black just a little bit, and just trying to find out what's going to happen, if and when we are going to be used. We went over that a little bit and I think they are going to talk about it some more here within the next hour. We'll have an idea what we are going to do. It's great. Again, I appreciate the fact that they had me come here to work, and if that's the case, I'll be ready to go.

Q. Again, on the logistics, what time did you get to the ballpark and the family and people that came in, did they have time to do anything other than just be at the ballpark and catch the flight tonight and go home?

ROGER CLEMENS: That's the game plan. My littlest one, I think he was ragging the most. We didn't get our fishing trip in and we're going to do some more tomorrow. He kind of sighed and took a deep breath and looked at me and said, "Dad, why can't they get Andy Pettitte?" (Laughter.) He said, "I want to get on the jet ski with you and mess around." We're going to have a good day tomorrow. The other boys were pumped up and once he got to the stadium here he was pretty excited. Cody is 7 so hopefully he will remember some of it. I've got some nice shots of the boys, as you all know; they have shared in these All-Star things with me. The neatest thing about this, is, again, I take a back seat and I'm dad and they get to see all of the other neat names. My older boys were commenting about who you are lockering next to. It's fun. We got in here at 3:00 and were able to get through the traffic. Phyllis was a big help as usual getting us over here. So it all worked out. The reason we are all here is obviously, the guys that made the call for me to come work, and the decision by my family. That's the first and foremost reason why I'm here.

Q. With all of the logistical problems of getting here, the fact that this is the last one, was that a factor in making you more determined?

ROGER CLEMENS: Not at all. They needed an arm. They needed somebody to work in case one of these other guys don't get in the game and I think, what I'm hearing, I'm not quite sure but what I'm hearing is there are some guys that may not want to get in there. I would think that all of the young guys would want to participate in this, depending on what it does, positioning how they are going to come out of the gate the second half. I still want to come out and make my start Friday for the second half. That's the most important thing. That's why I was doing the work, heavy legs yesterday at 7:00 with my guy there. I went back and forth this morning. I was -- the only thing I was worried about was going against my word after I told them I could make it here and it didn't look like I was going to put somebody in a stressful position. And it's somewhat stressful this morning getting a phone call that you can't go because obviously it's too dangerous. I don't know what the weather is at home right now, so I don't know if we are going to spend the night or not. But, yeah, my boys are running around the stadium now. and my wife and mother-in-law are back at the hotel getting over here, getting ready to watch the festivities. They will enjoy it as best they can.

Q. Those of us not from Texas how long did it take to drive from Houston to College Station?

ROGER CLEMENS: About an hour and a half.

Q. And how fast were you going?

ROGER CLEMENS: Fast. (Laughter.) About as fast as I throw hopefully tonight. Hopefully I can get it in there.

Q. This is your ninth All-Star appearance, the fact that you breezed in here this afternoon, leaving tonight after the game, will it feel like an All-Star experience, not being here yesterday?

ROGER CLEMENS: In my All-Star appearances, I was very blessed my first one being at my hometown in Houston and pitching well and winning an award there and the team winning. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that. I was able to get a lot of friends and family into the Astrodome, and for everything to work out just like it did, it was really, really nice. Obviously, I was young and as green as the grass, so going through the first time, I can always relate to the wide eyes of the guys; I think we have a lot of first-timers. But, yeah, I'll enjoy this just as much. Again, you'd have to ask a hitter or a fielding player, other than a pitcher's position, but for me you have to get ready. I have to get in here and get my body ready to go in case you're called upon in whatever situation it might be. This is kind of like the unknown, unlike when you're starting a ballgame. A little bit more familiar when I had to start in Seattle. I knew I was going two innings, how much time I had to prepare, what was going to happen. Take that against the game, I think it was '91, I think in Toronto if I am not mistaken. I was in my birthday suit, just some sliding shorts and talking to the president and next thing you know I think Jack Morris got hit with a ball and they told me get to the bullpen and warm up quickly; so I'm running down the back of the stadium. Things can happen; you just have to be ready.

Q. The way the numbers are falling together there's a chance you might wind up a strikeout or two behind Steve Carlton; that would not bring you back for next year?

ROGER CLEMENS: No. I have basically accomplished everything else. I've talked to most of our guys, our media that follows our team, and just to be compared to those guys, it's wonderful. And if I get there, it's great, but again, having accomplished a lot of things in this game, I'm very thankful for that. I can sit here and tell you that, like I just did, and I have a lot of work ready for this next three months. So I am not going to cut myself short, and my career, the career that I've had, it has not happened by accident. I've done a lot of work and my work's not done and it won't be done until I've pitched my final game. And at that point, I will be sad, I will be happy, I'll have a lot of emotions at that point, knowing that this will be it for me.

Q. Did the home field format play any role; you obviously went through a lot to get here?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it does for me. When somebody calls you and asks you, that they need arms and they want you to come work, it's hard to say no. And that situation, again, when I got word that somebody went down and somebody threw too much and probably is not going to get to perform, I think it was me at my age, I threw eighth innings on a Sunday, they will still run me out because I'm an old goat. But in Barry's situation, I can see why the A's or whoever is involved in that is sensitive to that because he has a career ahead of him. But I think you can go out and pitch in that situation because down the road it might be his team having an opportunity to get to that seventh game. So, it did have a little bit of -- it did have a little bit of weight on my mind a little bit.

Q. Talking about the first timers, do you have any words of advice for Matsui?

ROGER CLEMENS: He'll play hard. It's great to see our guys, familiar faces in the locker room. It always is. And, you know, you're excited for these guys. I think the story has not been written yet until the game is over, and I'll be interested just like anyone else in this room to hear what the guys have to say about their first time and their experience that they had, really, for these entire three days, there's a lot going on. Hopefully they can take it in. I know my first one, everything went by in a blur, it went by so quick. I've been able to enjoy the other ones I've participated in.

End of FastScripts...

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