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October 26, 1999

Roger Clemens


Q. What do you remember about your last World Series game in '86?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, not a great deal. To me, it just went by so fast. I alluded to that in some questions earlier this week. This time around it's been quite easier to absorb things and watch how things unravel and watch the guys work and so forth. My first time through in '86 it went by very fast. And looking back, you see that I was on the team that won the first two games also, so it just tells you that you have to stay focused on what's on tap here and try and get this game and move forward to myself and Smoltz is going to pitch and try and make a good showing in that.

Q. Did standing on stage Sunday night with those players give you a different perspective about your place in history or kind of a unique perspective for you about where you fit into baseball history?

ROGER CLEMENS: I enjoy those situations. It was a tremendous evening. I think I was more of a fan, you know, I enjoyed watching the old clips of the guys that weren't with us that were a part of that team. I thought it was really special to be a part of that. To me, again, what makes it for me are my friends and surrounding people, the phone calls I get from a lot of people and I enjoy it with them. I think it's special. I don't, you know, look at myself in that way by any means. But, you know, to me it's a lot of guys I watch play and really admired. It was fun talking to a lot of those guys. It was just a special evening. Every time I see Ted Williams I get choked up when I see him. And the words that Ted has for you, you know it always relates back to hitting in some way. (Laughter.) And so I told him a couple stories, I didn't know if he remembered them that he told me when I was young. And then to see Pete Rose get choked up and try and keep his composure, I had to look away from him a couple times because I started getting a feeling in my heart, you know, was just -- when you see a grown man in his situation and to be back around the guys and the fans gave him such a reception, it was very touching.

Q. What does it mean to have this opportunity again like in '86?

ROGER CLEMENS: It's special. I mean for it to happen and everybody talk about it, it's -- around here it's almost a way of life. They expect it and expect to be in this situation and it's what everybody talked about all the way back from spring training. So to finally be here in this situation, to see it happening in front of you, it's just really exciting. I think, again, I stay relatively calm about it and you just thank your lucky stars that you're here and, you know, again, all the hard work's paid off. I think everybody, again, around me, to see the excitement of the fans and the city, and, again, my family and friends that are here to partake in all of this, it's awesome. It's an awesome feeling to be back to have this chance again. Again, you know, Derek and some of these guys experienced it a lot. They almost, like I had said, they don't know the other side of it. But saying that, I've watched Derek and these guys that have had this opportunity work extremely hard to get back here again and it starts at the top. It's a slow-moving machine, like I said earlier, too. So it's, you know, I'm looking forward to it.

Q. When Joe Torre was in here a few minutes ago he said he expected you would pitch with less baggage here in Yankee Stadium than you did the other day in Boston. Can you comment on that? Is it less stressful for you?

ROGER CLEMENS: I think it -- I don't know. I don't think there's anything less stressful because I'm putting a lot of heat on myself anyway. So obviously being at home it will be different and exciting for me here. I finally drew a start where I'm pitching at home, and as stressful as it was in Boston, you feel the same situation in Texas. So you feel the same time, when I pitched in Cleveland. My emotions don't change when I take the mound just because of a certain game. The intensity's always there and the effort's always there, whether the outcome is poor or not is a different story. So it's not that you're overthrowing or underthrowing or -- makes no difference. I don't, again, I'll be as keyed up. I think you have to guard against and channel your emotions in a good way regardless if you're in a visiting park or at home. So I expect it to be no different.

Q. How important is this start for you tomorrow personally, given what happened in the circumstances under which you left Game 6 and the resulting controversy that's carried on for 13 years about that?

ROGER CLEMENS: Again, the controversy that's behind it, I talked to Peter Gammons a week ago. Until he mentioned it, it wasn't even a concern of mine. He said about John McNamara. So it makes -- that was years ago. So, again, it's -- this is here and now it's a whole different situation. So that was the furthest thing from my mind.

Q. You talked about the key to not getting too emotional, not getting too keyed up. How difficult is that with all the days' rest that you've had?

ROGER CLEMENS: I hope I've done enough in between. Again, I think I'm better on short days than on longer days. Hopefully I won't be too erratic and be able to get ahead and, you know, elevate when I want to and when I need to. I still -- you know, I still feel like I can pitch up in the strike zone when I need to. You have to be ahead in the count to do that and get guys to chase balls. Still work east and west well, but I'd like to start off strong and be able to get the ball down with something on it, with some life on it in the zone and take my chances with that. So that's what I expect to do, and I hope it is that case after I get done warming up, I'll take it to the mound. The first handful of pitches will be very exciting, I'm sure I'll be a little nervous. And, you know, just let it out from there.

Q. One of your rituals, I know you like to play golf the day before you pitched. Were you able to do that today? And, also, what was that conversation you had with Ted Williams?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't have any problem the day before getting out on the course and getting around. The day after tomorrow I have to get out and get around and do something. I don't like to sit around. Ted's conversation was my first couple years, I think it was after I won my first Cy Young Award, Ted, you go in the back room in spring training, there's a back room where they wash the clothes. Some of the old-timers, we were playing the Yankees, there were some old-timers there. Ted was one of them and a few of the other guys. He hollered at me to come over, called me, "Kid," I guess. I went over and "yes, Mr. Williams." And he said just point blank said, you know, "what would you throw me" -- real loud, with that booming voice, "what would you throw me if you pitched to me? " I was like -- I had marbles in my mouth, you know. So before I could answer, he said, "Well, I'll tell you." He said, "I would look for your slider, Kid, because I know I can hit your fastball." I said, "Yes, sir, Mr. Williams." I got my sanitary socks and went the other way. Then the very next year I won my second Cy Young, went back there. He called me by my nickname, "Rocket." "Rocket, come over here." He said, "You know that conversation -- almost same scenario the year later. At that time I developed that fork ball a little bit. He thought I was cheating doing that. He had said same scenario, then I had my fingers and pointed at him, I said, "Yeah, but I got this now, Ted." He said, "No, no, no that's cheating." It was a good conversation, one you'll never forget.

Q. You talked about Texas not being home, being in a visiting park, Boston not being home, visiting park. I wonder how you feel going out tomorrow in Yankee Stadium?

ROGER CLEMENS: It's been wonderful. All year out and about and around town and, again, just seeing -- from spring training on, you know, I think about the conversation, again, I had with Sandy Koufax the other day down in Atlanta. We talked about how he regripped my curveball and, you know, and Goose Gossage and so on and so forth. Catfish was down for about a week and had a chance to talk baseball and pitching with him. Those are great opportunities for me to talk to gentlemen and definitely older players. You know, again, they welcome that. This Yankee ballclub welcomes them guys in and around and it's really fun to have a chance to talk to them. It's been wonderful pitching in the stadium. And being in this environment, again, it makes it exciting; it makes everything that you do, you know, it rekindles everything, gives you a lot of life and energy again to let you know why you do the things you do. Just looking forward to -- like I said, this team here, these guys are just, you know, they just -- they've got their blinders on and just have a plan and they're working towards it. No one person's bigger than the other. It's a pretty good mix.

Q. Joe was saying in here that you were totally on the same page about the Game 4 start. Was that true and what was the course of the conversation?

ROGER CLEMENS: Just like the prior ones, they would ask us solo and come in and, you know, ask us how we felt. And this was the deal, we trust Joe with his decisions. It's uncanny how he's made calls in doing things around here and they always seem to click and work out. So I hope it will be the case tonight and tomorrow, too. So he and Mel were, you know, I'm sure talked about it. They would call us in and just worked out real nice. So, again, hopefully this will be the same situation.

Q. If tomorrow you all clinch the championship, have you given any thought to going out on top, having that be your last game?

ROGER CLEMENS: I haven't. Again, I wish it was as easy as said as you say there. Everybody's talking about championships. We haven't won anything yet. I don't want to look ahead. I know that I'm going to be out there tomorrow and if it's in that situation, great, and we'll talk about that and my feelings after that. So just see what happens.

End of FastScripts…

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