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October 27, 2001

Randy Johnson


Q. What do you think the managerial switch did for the team? People say the team is more relaxed this year; do you find that to be the case?

RANDY JOHNSON: I don't know about the managerial change, but I do know that it's a clubhouse filled with veteran players. So I think being a veteran player, even though it is the World Series, I think, you know, maybe caught up in the moment, but you can fall back on situations you maybe went through during the course of your career; we'll be able to handle those situations as if it's a regular game.

Q. How important was the '95 series with the Yankees? What do you recall from it? What place does it play in your career?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, we just had a one-game playoff with Anaheim the night before. Traveled from Seattle all the way to New York and played the following day. We lost the first two games there. My experience in Yankee Stadium, the two games that we played there, were, it was pretty electric there. Mattingly hit a post-season home run and the crowd went crazy and Lou had to take our players off the field for fear someone might get hurt. Traveled back home after being down two games to the Yankees. Nobody with the Mariners team felt it was over. We were going back and we knew what fans meant to the Mariners in '95. I pitched Game 3; won that. Game 4 was obviously won. Game 5, everybody was available, and you saw both starting pitchers from Game 3, I think Jack McDowell and myself both came out of the bullpen. It was for Seattle, being the first time in post-season, it was pretty electric, playing the New York Yankees. For me, it's still a highlight of my career, coming back, being down two games to the Yankees, coming back and winning.

Q. Can you please talk about the level of anticipation that you feel in your first World Series start of your career tomorrow?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, obviously, I'll be extremely excited about being out there. Every post-season game that I've pitched this year, I've probably been nervous for the first batter and been able to settle in and get going. The NLCS series, I took my time a little bit more in between pitches and I felt that helped. At times, I felt like I wanted to throw the ball a little bit harder, and I found in certain cases that that would make my location be off, and so, taking my time in between pitches and concentrating on where the location is, more so than velocity. So I will do the things that I've learned that have helped me in my last two games against the Braves.

Q. Such a fear factor of opposing hitters and managers facing you, how does that play into your hand?

RANDY JOHNSON: You have to go out and execute them. It's not coming from me it's coming from you, the fear factor, in order for hitters to continue to have that fear of facing me, I have to go out there and continue to come to the plate and put the fear in them and that means getting them out. If I show that they can get a hit off me, then that shows I'm vulnerable and it's no big deal. I'm going to go out and probably get some hits, but hopefully no runs and I'll just continuing to out there with the mentality that I've had all year long.

Q. Curt Schilling said yesterday that he would prefer to pitch with the roof closed. What are your feelings?

RANDY JOHNSON: I don't really have any, to be honest with you. It's not really in my control, anyway.

Q. The few times that you've been hurt in the playoffs, it seems like some pitches away, will you concentrate more tomorrow on pitching inside?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, like I just said, concentrate more on location than velocity. The two-run home run that I gave Pujols was a fastball I was trying to overthrow. I lost my location. I predominantly pitch inside, and will make a conscious effort of doing that tomorrow, as well. When I come out of my mechanics, when I try to overthrow, the ball is usually up and away. I've hit some left-handed hitters because the easiest pitch for me to throw is up and away as opposed to down and in. So I will make a conscious effort, facing a right-handed lineup tomorrow, throwing in like I have all year long.

Q. Joe Torre said that he will have an all-right-handed lineup tomorrow against you except for Pettitte how does that make you feel?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I'm looking forward to facing Andy Pettitte. (Laughter.) Over the last three or four years, I don't think it's any secret that I predominantly have faced right-handed lineups. I think managers feel like that's their best chance. I've given up my share to left-handed hitters this year, I just haven't faced very many. When I do face a left-handed hitter, I'm supposed to have the advantage, being left-handed, having a fastball and a breaking ball. But that's not always the case. It's about executing. If I face left-handed hitters I try to bare down a little bit more on them because I should have the advantage, but that's not necessarily the case. You know, I've predominantly, like I said, faced right-handed lineups all year long and pretty much the last two or three years, so it will be no shock tomorrow to find a right-handed lineup in there, other than maybe Andy Pettitte.

Q. Brenly said that both you and Curt volunteered to go on short rest if necessary, what are your feelings on that?

RANDY JOHNSON: My feelings are that I have done it in the past. I think I did it five times in '95 for the Mariners and prior to that, I had done it a total of eight or nine times. It's something I have done in the past. In '95 I did it. I pitched Game 3 and came back and threw three innings on a day's rest, so it's just the post-season. This is the World Series. You've got four months to rest. I don't think anybody will fool you by saying that -- everybody will be running on a little bit of adrenaline out there, and I do to begin with anyway so it's just that much month more. I may have to back off a little bit and try to not be over throwing and not have too much adrenaline out there.

Q. What is it about Velarde that has made him such a tough out for you in the past?

RANDY JOHNSON: There's no rhyme or reason. It would be like the same -- why is there certain people I get out? I have no reason for that. He's a professional hitter. I've faced him several times when I was with Seattle and he was in New York and Texas, I think the last time I faced him may have been five or six years ago. All of the numbers you see with me and the Yankees was five years ago, and I'm a completely different pitcher now than I was five, six years ago. That was the last time I pitched against the Yankees so I anticipate going out there and pitching my game.

Q. Fairly or not, you and Curt have been portrayed as a two-man show here in the post-season, are you comfortable with that portrayal?

RANDY JOHNSON: When I was in Seattle and when I went to Houston in a trade and I was here prior to Curt being here, that was the situation. Now that Curt is here, I think, you know he does not shy away from it. I don't really care to make a big deal about it because it's been a situation that followed me everywhere I went. The responsibility that me and Curt have on this team is what we have done all year long, but it's not a two-man show here, nor has it ever been. Without Bobby Witt and Miguel Batista, they won a combined 15 games and we only won the division by two games, so everybody in the clubhouse has played a role and everybody has probably won a game for us throughout the 162 games we played this year. Obviously, when Curt goes out there, there's an expectations, along with myself, but there will be an expectation by everybody in our lineup to produce offensively, as well.

Q. You said you are a completely different pitcher now than you were five years ago. In what ways are you different and what things happened that caused you to change?

RANDY JOHNSON: I think I'm more of a pitcher now. I'm able to throw my pitches for strikes both sides of the plate and make adjustments and I'm looking for hitters that have made adjustments out there. And look at my numbers. When I first came to the League and the last five years, I think it is safe to say something is different and that's because of the hard work I've put in and analyzing hitters. Tonight, I will watch, from the dugout and probably from the video room to see where the right-handed hitters are at the plate. Granted not the same lineup I will be facing but those are the adjustments hitters and pitchers make when they are out there. It's very much like a chess game.

Q. Can you talk about in terms of legacy, the difference between somebody known as a great pitcher, a great pitcher who happens to be on a winning team in the World Series? What do you think that distinction is when people are analyzing your career?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, from what I've gleaned from your question it would be like any great athlete and I'm not saying that I'm a great athlete, but from what you're saying, it would be if you're a great player at the profession that you do, if you are not at the pinnacle, which would be a Super Bowl, NBA Championship, World Series, you kind of fell short on your career, having gotten to the very top and I kind of felt that way, last year when I received my Cy Young Award I still felt like I was not a complete player because I had not been to the World Series, and I meant that in a positive way. I had done some individual accomplishments, but this is a team game, and it takes 25 guys or more to get to the World Series. So win, lose or draw tomorrow, this team has been where everybody wants to be and when I'm done with my career, I'll have some nice things to fall back on, but the biggest thing and the most important thing as a baseball player is that I've been to a World Series.

Q. Can you tell me about how you guys communicate with BK?

RANDY JOHNSON: Flash Cards. (Laughter.)

Q. And how your confidence has grown in him as a closer?

RANDY JOHNSON: He has come a long way since he first joined with this team. Obviously, when he first got here he may have been about 20 years old. And coming from Korea, there's a lot of different things that he had to adjust to: The language, umpires, hitters, ballparks, cities, just everything. And at that early of an age, he's away from his family. No one on our team speaks Korean. There's a communication gap there, and it's hard for him. I mean, if anybody here as ever been to Japan or anywhere, it's a bit of a culture shock. And to visit a place is one thing, but to be here for six months and be on the job is completely different. He's matured. He's grown up considerably in the last two or three years since he's been here. We depend on him a great deal. A lot of people have taken him under their wing to try to kind of try to teach him things, the customs, the way that baseball is played over here. But he's come a long ways and we would not be here without our bullpen and without BK -- because Curt finished so many game this is year, I have three complete games, there was not that many games finished by the starting pitching staff. So the bullpen played a big role in the success this year, and then BK would finish it up. He's a real electric pitcher to watch. There's not many people like him in the League that throw side-arm like he does, and he's got names for all of his pitches and stuff like that, which is interesting, the "Upshoot" and pitches like that. I think the biggest thing I noticed this year and last year, primarily this year, was he was not phased by the magnitude of the games and the situations that he was in. He went out and he doesn't show a lot of emotion, and that may be because of from where he's from, his culture and whatever. But he's handled everything very professionally and he's only going to get better as time goes on.

End of FastScripts....

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