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 9, 2001

Roger Clemens


Q. Do you sense there will be any difference in the atmosphere because of the global situation?

ROGER CLEMENS: That's a good question. I don't know, you know, what to expect as far as that. I think there will still be a lot of excitement I think the comments in the clubhouse are that guys are going to get here extremely -- probably to the ballpark a lot earlier than they normally would. I'm sure there's going to be checkpoints, and not only the magnitude of the game, but like you said, what's going on in our country, it's probably going to take a little more time to get in, so the guys are trying to figure out when they are going to leave and things of that nature. I would expect it to be just, you know, just as loud and the excitement to be quite a bit the same as it has been the last couple years that I've been here.

Q. Anything you could point to your last couple starts that you struggled a little bit?

ROGER CLEMENS: Not really. I think the one before the last was a 1-1 game. I through a slider and the guy hit it out and the game went on. My last start was really a tune-up. So, I mean, I gave up a lot of hits on some -- I think three or four of the hits were all on splits that were just fat. They come in and look and present themselves as fastballs, and I want to keep those down in the zone and keep those forkballs moving around. If not, they are very hittable.

Q. You've had good success in your starts against Oakland this year. Will you approach things the same way?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, again, Jorge and myself, we'll go out there and attack and go with our game plan. We spent quite a bit of time in there in the pitcher's meeting, and we'll review it again today and look at tapes. Having said all that, once you go out and warm up, find out how you are feeling, I expect, again -- I expect with all of the excitement, your adrenaline, it won't take much to get that going in this type of game. And again, my last start I was very pleased, because when I was warming up, I had good extension and my elbow and shoulder felt great and that's what I was looking for, so I expect that to be the same. Looking at the scouting report, there are certain guys we want to work certain ways and we'll go with that. In some ways, I'm the outcast in there because everybody is a great first-ball, fastball hitter. I look at Mel saying, "What are we doing?" But, we'll pitch to my strengths.

Q. Do you think your performance against Seattle and the Mets last year answered some questions about your performance in the post-season?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I don't really worry about the questions. I've pitched in a number of post-seasons and only pitched poorly a couple times. Again, I've pitched great and the record -- I could care less if I get the win. The ballgame, if it's a 1-1 game or a 4-4 game, you want to give your team a chance to win once you leave them out.

Q. Did you alter anything between last year's playoffs and this year's success with Oakland?

ROGER CLEMENS: Not really. Again, I threw one pitch -- I think I made the comment last year, I threw one pitch to draw information from one guy and I didn't get it high enough and tried to figure the guy out a little bit, had not faced him and he flipped the ball in the stands. So it was 3-0 and it was time to shut them down from that point. Again, you make one mistake there, you hope no one is honest on, but there were two guys on, and you want to stay away from that situation, that's for sure, but once you do, once that situatio occurs, you have to keep them at bay from that point on and try and win the ballgame.

Q. How impressed are you by Oakland's pitching staff?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, they are great. Again, to see, especially the left-handed pitchers that are coming up, not only with the A's around the League, there are some nice left-handed starters, it's nice to see. It's good for our game. It's been said many times that the quickest way to the big leagues is a left-handed starter or maybe a catching position. We always tease the left-handers, that is we see that if you are left-handed and you are up right and have a pulse, you can do pretty well in that game, and throw a strike every now again. (Laughter.) But they have some great pitchers. It's going to be fun to match up with them, but I'll let our hitters take care of those guys. On the occasions that I have faced the A's and we have played the A's and I have not been out there on the mound working, get a chance to really watch their guys and they are pretty impressive.

Q. You've had about five seasons this good or better statistically, but because you did it at the age you did it, do you take more pride in this season than any other?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it was enjoyable in the -- I guess somewhat in the beginning months of this year and throughout the middle, because, you know, we were afforded -- I was not afforded a lot of mistakes. I had to put the pedal to the metal, if you will, and buy some time when El Duque and the other guys were struggling a little bit. In that sense, it was nice, when you are able to get it done when your other starters are struggling a little bit. That's when you want to do it. As far as comparing it to the seasons and just the fact of my age, it will be something I look back on once we are done with this second season here. I just appreciate the opportunity. I expect to do well. I put the time in to do that. I expect it and, again, when we start to work in December, I expect to do well, and that's the bottom line, trying to excel in every area. It was a fun year, for sure.

Q. When you pitched the first game after the break, due to the terrorist attack, you spoke about the visit you made to the fire station. What has been your connection since then, and will you have any special emotions connected to that when you start tomorrow night?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I think there is a connection there. I have seen the guys on three our four different occasions after the fact. Again, you hear their stories, and it was a privilege for me to have the opportunity to talk to them. There's been -- wow, maybe three, maybe four benefits in the city for the guys, not only our local guys, but I met -- just two gay days ago when we got home, I met probably ten guys from the Chicago area fire departments that are here to help their guys in their brotherhood there. Yeah, there's been some really emotional times, especially at these functions, because you meet the families of the guys that have passed away. The jacket that I wore the other day on the field, I gave it back and they wanted me to keep it, but we donated it for their auction. It went really well -- started to go well, but then I met a gal and she broke down in front of me, I guess it was her brother and she wanted the jacket. It was great. Firemen ran back to their station and got another jacket and signed it and auctioned it off. Nothing we could have done at that point, but it was shocking and emotional to see some of the families that are really affected by everything that went on.

Q. Given what's went on in the last few weeks and the spotlight that will be on this building the next few days, do you feel 100% save yourself, and what would you say to the fans about it?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, do I feel safe, and from what I understand from our security personnel, what they are telling us, the concerns that the guys are having, and they are definitely valid questions that the guys have asked about the safety and what's going on. Yeah, I think I'm going to feel safe. Yeah, I'm going to feel -- you're going to feel right at home. Obviously we're here at home, and with our fans and the type of excitement that's going to be here it's going to make it even more comfortable for the players to get out in that environment. But you trust what everyone tells you.

Q. You got the ball last year in Game 1 of the playoffs, but can you talk about the responsibility and the opportunity when you are given the ball to start the post-season for your club?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, there's a responsibility that definitely goes with it. But I look at it as it's an honor. Again, at this stage of my career, to have an opportunity to lead our staff and this team, it's pretty exciting for me. Again, it's a pleasure. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity, and I'm going to try to make the most of it. Again, you know, make adjustments according to how the game goes along. But in a short series, everything is magnified. You hate to say it but it could come down to one pitch, so you have to really -- your focus and your concentration is going to have to be there. I've had a lot of games, even close games, that have been decided by one or two pitches that, you know, you wish you had back that you could change the outcome of the game. So, we'll see what happens.

Q. Oakland led the American League in on-base percentage this year, can you talk about the pressure that they will put on pitchers?

ROGER CLEMENS: Again, you know, you can look at all of the numbers and you know that it's there. It hits you right in the face. I'll be aggressive when I have to. Again, I've got to face their lineup, which is going to be tough, and I'll just have to see what's going on. I expect to -- I expect the stuff that I take out there will be there. I'll know warming up, and if it is, as you guys have seen in the past, if I feel somebody is covering both sides of the plate -- this is a different time of year. This isn't regular season. So if -- again, I know why I'm here, and I know what I need to do, so if -- we'll just see what happens. I'm not going to sit here and tell you how I'm going to dissect guys, but I'll sit back and watch. I know they will come after me and I know I'll probably be in a couple jams that I have to get out of. That's why I'm fortunate Skip is giving me the opportunity to get out of some problems and I'm able to come through in that manner, too. Just see how guys react to certain pitches and we'll go from there.

Q. You talked about the on-base percentage of Oakland and how good their staff is, but you have won three in a row and have for a reason, do you still feel like this is the team that people have to go through to get to the World Series?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't think it's lost at all as far as we're concerned. It's something we're proud of -- at this stage of our goal, Mr. Tore talks about every spring training, just the fact that everybody comes after us, we know that. We know everybody is shooting for us. That's in a regular season on a Wednesday night game they are coming after us. So if we are not ready, you can get embarrassed. So we know guys are gunning for us. That's why I have the greatest appreciation for our every day lineup and our everyday guys, because, again, I don't care if it's the No. 1 starter or the No. 5 guy, that guy has got his rest and he knows he's facing the Yankees and he's going to come out with his best fastball and I know when I was young, the older guys, the Hall of Famers, they would always teasing me later on, you threw 92, 93 the whole game and I get up there and I see 97, 98 so you get your excitement facing guys like George Brett. You can say that from No. 1 through No. 9 to our lineup, they are going to see the best stuff every pitcher has to offer and to do what they have done and what we have done over the years, that's why it's even more special.

Q. Facing three guys, an infielder that has over 30 home runs, that's unusual; talk about how they can hit?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, they all hit, and again, they hit with power. You see other teams that can do it and you see what Seattle can do, you can see what Cleveland can do, also. You don't see it much here, except maybe a big home run here from Tino that we have, so when you think of power hitters, you think of those home runs from two or three different guys, you'll have to be careful in certain situations. You'll see how the game starts to unfold right in front of you and you know that maybe you'll have to stay away from a guy that you don't want to come near, especially in a situation where they can cheat on you and how small right field is here. Again, if I'm throwing hard -- what's great, most of the guys, it usually starts with Derek, he'll come by me in the training room and say something about positioning and it's great as a starting pitcher that guys care enough to come by and ask you, guys trying to play in the same position, you can move them around. Paul and Bernie. The game is breaking down, you have to give them a pretty good pitch to hit to maybe back up and be on your horse and it's saved me a number of times when I turn around and look at them and they move back and look around and they are able to chase a ball down when I am going to give a guy a better look at a pitch than I would like to when you are forced in a corner. I don't have any problem challenging a guy, but that's definitely a time to challenge a guy and there's definitely a time not to.

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