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July 10, 2001

Randy Johnson


Q. Can you talk about racing Ichiro and the speed he showed hustling down to first base there?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I mean it didn't help falling towards third base, and that's pretty much what I do. And when you are facing someone of his speed, falling off toward third base and he's already out of the box three steps, he's got a head start out of me. Helton, I thought made a great play and I was just late getting over there. He got to the base so fast.

Q. Can you comment on coming back to Seattle and just this whole All-Star experience, the emotion starting the game, the last couple of days?

RANDY JOHNSON: I've been really blessed throughout my career. I started off my career in Montreal, and then coming here and getting the opportunity to pitch every fifth day, and I think as a young power pitcher, that's what I needed. I needed an opportunity to pitch every fifth day, take my lumps, as you will, and work things out, and eventually, the whole team -- because when I got here it, was a very young team. A young Junior, a young Edgar and Buhner and all of them, and that's when we all came here, '95. That's when a lot of magic happened for this whole town.

Q. What do you think of the reception that you got here?

RANDY JOHNSON: It was very nice. The fans here are just unbelievable. They have got something real special here and they have had it ever since '95. It's a city that's just been waiting for this to happen, I think, and they got a taste of that starting in '95 and the fans here started coming out and reaching out to the players and vice versa. You know, now you have a new stadium and excitement here, and international players playing here with Ichiro and Sasaki and a team that -- the fans should be really proud of what they have here. When I first got here, a young player, the Seahawks and Sonics were popular, a team that was struggling to get to .500 -- the baseball team, and finally did that. Since '95, the city has really reached out to the ball team.

Q. Ichiro said the scouting report was that if you threw a slider to him, he was dead. What was your scouting report on him?

RANDY JOHNSON: That I probably should have thrown a slider. I was one pitch too late. It was a lot of fun. You can't put something like, this and then I'm watching as a fan. You know, the next inning Cal comes up sees one pitch and hits a home run off a pitcher he has probably never seen before. That's the kind of magic that Cal brings to the field, that he's brought to the field for 20 years or however long he's played. It's very fitting that this may end up being -- I guess it's 2-0 now, but it would have been very fitting if it ended up being a 1-0 ballgame and he got the Game winning home run.

Q. In a game like this, how many innings do you think you could truly be effective against an All-Star lineup like that.

RANDY JOHNSON: (Pauses) nine. What do you want me to say, two? (Laughter.) I'm just kidding. See, I do have a sense of humor. (Laughter.) I would really like to face Ichiro again, in all honesty. When you get run out there, you throw a couple innings, and as a power pitcher, it is hard to get in a groove right away. You're trying to get your mechanics down and find the strike zone and you've got adrenaline and all that. But you make a mistake to that lineup, it's going to be a home run derby out there. So I do feel very fortunate that I got out of there pitching two innings and it was a 0-0 ballgame.

Q. When and how did you learn you were going to start?

RANDY JOHNSON: I learned as soon as I walked into the clubhouse today. There was some speculation that Curt may not be able to start the game. I was hoping that he would be able to, but he had pitched on Sunday, I believe it was, and had a day and a half basically rest. Went out and played catch yesterday. I think the second half of the season means more to him than starting in an All-Star Game.

Q. I saw you talking to Lou out there before the game. How important has Lou been to the whole franchise?

RANDY JOHNSON: He's been here since -- I don't know what year he got here, '94, '95. But he's been here, he's been the backbone to this organization. He's been able to orchestrate a winning organization and he brings leadership and, you know, he's probably been one of the funnest managers that I've ever played for. He's laid back, let's you go out and play and he's had a veteran ballclub since I was there, until when I left. So it was a lot of fun. They were taking a team photo of all their All-Stars and Lou and I hopped out there and got in the photograph, so that was my opportunity to say hello to him and congratulate all of the other guys on the Mariners that made it.

End of FastScripts�.

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