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October 15, 1999

Roger Clemens


Q. How are you going to feel tomorrow being back here pitching for the Yankees against your old team?

ROGER CLEMENS: I have thrown here before in different situations. I think obviously this will be the biggest game because of the situation and because of the games obviously. I am sure it will be the same. I will have so many emotions that I will have to curtail somehow. It will be exciting. We are looking forward to it.

Q. Can you talk about what you look for in a catcher and your relationship with a catcher and your relationship with Joe Girardi?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I have been fortunate. I think I have made this statement many times. I have been fortunate in my career that I have had some pretty good back stops back there, some guys that when they are scuffling at the plate they have really beared down and called great ball games and really try and work with you and try and maybe obviously all of them come in and we try and go over some type of game plan where you want to go with your plan of attack. If that is not working you change and make the necessary changes to try and offset that. Joe and I have been working well of late, Jorge and I have worked well also. In spring training early in the year it was a situation where being a power pitcher, I think it was a little different because most of the other guys throw quite a few breaking balls, they are really breaking ball pitchers and location is real important for them also. I think for a while it took a while for us to go at guys and pound guys the way I am accustomed to doing. And then, of course, I think I got out of it too myself a little bit and the Skipper fired Girardi back there we kind of got back on the same page. It has been working out of late.

Q. You spoke about curtailing your emotions. You were able to do that -- something you did successfully against Texas. Is there something you can carry over from that experience to this one?

ROGER CLEMENS: I hope so. I think my focus -- when you get in these type of games your focus has to elevate. I talked about that many times to the guys too about just elevating your game; taking it to another level. I know tomorrow that definitely will have to be the situation. I don't think that I am going to be afforded too many mistakes going against Pedro. Obviously what he did to us in at our place, he had everything working at that time, so only thing we can hope for is maybe him to have a little hiccup or something, a little opening; then we can take advantage of it. But right now he is not giving too many people - whether it be the Yankees or anybody; the way he pitch this year - hardly any chance.

Q. You pitched against the Red Sox in September. You hit Wilton Veras, you said at the time that he swung too hard. Can you talk about whether that quote was accurate; if so, what you meant by it?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't remember making the quote or the statement about swinging too hard. I do remember the at-bat. I did come in on him, so that is part of the game. I am going to pitch inside and if I holler something at myself or at another player, part of what I do. Sometimes I am feeling real lazy out there, and if I have to stroke my emotion one way or the other, I will do it.

Q. Joe said that considering the situation where you were going home in Texas, that you were so relaxed; he thought you would be much more relaxed in Boston tomorrow. Do you think that is so?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, I mean, I look at the overview. I am going to have a lot of friends and family here, what I consider family. I am going to see a lot of familiar faces. I think a lot of them are Red Sox fans. I think undercover they are going to be rooting for me too. They are fans of mine when I was here. So you know, the Skipper called me in, I go back to Tampa Bay and he and Mel had a little meeting; called us in one by one and looked like they were pondering things. I made it real easy on them. I told him Andy was going to be pitching at home in that series, Andy doesn't like to pitch in Texas. I don't have any problem with that, plus I knew that I would have a lot of family and my mother with her health and everybody be able to be there. I said if there is a shot at having that game - and it couldn't have worked out any better - that I'd take it. The other day at home before this series got underway, they called us in one by one like drawing straws, I guess, and he was hemming and hawing back and forth; I told him again, Skip, whatever slot you want me in, you put me in; doesn't make a difference. So he said, all right, you got Saturday against Pedro. I said, beautiful. I got up and left. And he was shaking his head at me as I walked out the door. The rest of the guys are standing outside the door waiting. I said, I have already got the long straw; you guys are good, go in there; you guys got nothing to lose. Whatever it is it is. We will have a good time with it, and I am sure I will be relaxed. I think I -- again I know the environment, and you know, it brings back memories. Today we are going down the Mass Pike seeing the color of the trees, it is awesome this time of year; this is what you play for. My wife mentioned it a number of times and I was with Rich and Sheri Gedman they kind of -- Richie said that to me today, living here all year-round, you don't appreciate these sights. So they are all excited. Again, I am going to have a lot of familiar faces around so we will have fun with it.

Q. How would you compare yourself to Pedro?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't know. I think Pedro - last couple of years I didn't see him a great deal - but what he was able to do this year is just tremendous. Even more so, I mean only thing I can really relate to him is that seeing him stop losing streaks, doing the things that I had to do when I was here, again, you know, everybody backs up and backs the truck up on him. So he has to come out and do it. He has been able to handle that and I think it has been great for him, what he has been able to do. Again, winning the Triple Crown, again, I guess we don't put a lot of stock in it. I did it two years in row; you get a handshake; pat on the back. He was able to do it and be in the Playoffs; that is what is most important, all the individual stuff is great - guys are hitting home runs and record home runs this and that. Really doesn't make a difference unless you get to this point. I guess if you are younger in your career it means something, it helps you maybe mature, get down the road, and have a better understanding of what you are here to do, but sure is nice. I have had many opportunities in this situation, so this is just one more. Like I said, enjoyable playing with these guys watching how these guys go to work in this clubhouse whether we are up or down, nobody blinks too often. We just take focus of what we are trying to do and go do it.

Q. Were you rooting for your old team against the Indians?

ROGER CLEMENS: I didn't see a lot of it. I didn't get to see the final game. I saw some of the other game where they scored a bunch of runs. And that is what I said, I think everybody is talking about that we have two games. We have to win four. This Red Sox club has been down two already. So you can't take anything for granted. I don't think anybody in our clubhouse is. They have been two hard-fought games, so I think just everybody is going to enjoy it tomorrow. And again, I think my mistakes are going to have to be very minimal at best.

Q. Joe talked earlier about how you sort of lit up when he gave out the World Series rings. Will that really complete your career to get one?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, I mean, I don't know how much I lit up. I made some comments to the guys because, you know, I always felt if you felt satisfied, that was the best thing to hear. I was in the clubhouse, in that situation you just try and stay away; that is their moment. I wasn't a part of that. There was only a handful of guys that are down there that weren't. You know, they came through -- I think it was Tino and Bernie, they came through looking at their rings and I was like, let's go, that was from last year. They both looked at me; they said, there is room for one more diamond in this. I said, that is great. That is all you want to hear when you are kind of a newcomer. They are not satisfied with it and they know it was last year, you have seen that all year, these guys enjoy what they are doing. I mean, most of you have been in the clubhouse and seen these cats, it is fun to watch them and cut up on one another and just have a good time. But it is a lot different situation right now when we talk about these games. Everything is magnified and just watching the guys go about their work has been fun.

Q. Joe talked about how when you were in Yankee Stadium Pedro was being interviewed; fans were roughing him up a little bit. What is it going to be like being booed and roughed up like you are going to be tomorrow?

ROGER CLEMENS: Whatever that is, I mean, whatever that does, I don't know. But you don't -- like I said, I have got plenty of people who appreciate what I was able to do here in thirteen years, that is never going to change. The town and the fans and all around the whole area has been wonderful to Debbie and myself all our years here. You can't make people not boo you or like you if they don't and you want them to come and get it out and let it out. That is what Boston/New York situation is supposed to be. That is what is neat about it. I don't think as far as hate and nasty towards one another is really there, like when Zimmer tells us some of the stories. But they get better each year too as it goes by. But it is a little different - guys that I have pitched against or that I know may be too much for me over there, you know, I don't like to get too close to some of them because we are going to go to battle. I know they are going to come at me and when we get out on that field, that is the way it is supposed to be.

Q. Talk about maybe some memories from 1986 how close you were to a World Series ring there and how you feel now about in this situation where --

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I mean, years of experience and difference as far as what you expect and what you look for. I think early -- I mean, that was early in my career, it went by so fast. The games, even when you see highlights of it, was like just everything happens -- I wasn't able to absorb everything and really maybe understand it. I enjoyed it just as much as I am now. But just I think it happens so fast. I am able to enjoy the Texas series and this series a little more as far as really seeing what goes on and watch other guy's reactions instead of you are just kind of out there and doing your thing, you know, you are not enjoying it may be as much as you would like to. So I am definitely doing that now.

Q. Any strangeness at all you being in this place in that uniform?

ROGER CLEMENS: No, I don't think there is -- again, I am so comfortable and I see a lot of familiar faces, so the uniform to me, once I am done playing, I am going to take the uniform off and I am still going to have those friends and those people and the fans that enjoyed what you are able to do and give them. Again, Deb made a comment coming from the Mass Pike, neat drive in from where we used to live. It was fun for her to see the trees changing, just everything. But it was pretty neat, but I am familiar with the surroundings. It is not business as usual. I will be excited as everyone else tomorrow. But like I said, I think I will have to channel all that and hopefully get off to a good start and make it -- hold up my end of the deal to make it exciting for everything. I am hearing a lot of crazy stories what people are paying and coming to see. I hope it turns out like it is supposed to.

End of FastScripts…

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