July 12, 1999
Q. Ken, did you just conserve, saved some strength and did your thing, rest a while?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Actually the first round is always the toughest, once you get past
the first round the butterflies are gone. But the first round is a tough one, because
you're nervous, and you want to do well, just squeak in there somehow.
Q. Was the knee bothering you at all?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: My knee has been sore for like three weeks now. And some days are
better than others. I haven't taken BP for about -- I think the first time in like six
days was yesterday and today. So I try to stay off it as much as possible and go out there
and play. And if it hurts, maybe I've got to do other things, maybe DH, but it comes and
Q. Did you feel obligated because of last year, you feel like there was an obligation
to come back and defend that title?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: No obligation to come back and defend the title, because I don't
think there really is defending the title. It's a new year, and who knows, I might have
hit two home runs and somebody could have hit 30 and I might not have even been invited.
Just go out there and do your best.
Q. How signature is it that you won it, that you defended your title in this
exhibition, you had some fun; what does it mean to you?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: It's just going out there and having a lot of fun, that's the main
thing, going out there, putting on a show for the fans, and watching mark hit them 500
feet, when you're getting them over like 420, 430, and his balls are doing the postal
service just flying by you and dropping mail off at your house.
Q. Ken, a lot of people will compare McGwire's performance with yours in the Home Run
Derby in Camden Yards in '93, how would you compare them?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Same results. His balls went much further. It doesn't matter how many
you hit, I think the distance is the most important thing, that the people remember. You
can hit 20 and they all go from 330 to 400, but you hit one 450 to 510, and that's
Q. You've hit some balls hard in this ballpark before, and you talked about how the
park has taken some home runs away from you in the past. Can you talk about getting this
title and in the past how it has given you some trouble getting home runs in the past?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: This ballpark is -- you hit a 380 football in most ballparks that's
an out, unless you snap hook it around that pole, and even then you've got to get some
height. It's a great ballpark, if you want to look at it from aspects of guys, right-hand
hitters have to hit it up to get it out, and lefties have to hit it 400 feet or 390 feet.
Q. Junior, do you take this seriously?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Everybody takes it seriously. Once the first pitch is thrown,
everybody wants to win, they're not going to jeopardize someone's career, but there's
going to be some good, clean aggressive baseball.
Q. How hard do you think it would be for a left-handed hitter in this park?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: We were hitting balls in BP and they weren't going anywhere. We
figured the National League had four right-handed hitters, we figured they were going to
win it, because of it.
Q. Ken, do you enjoy the event as much as the fans do? Is this an important event for
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I think the fans get a big thrill out of it. The players like to
watch because we very seldom get to see McGwire take batting practice or Piazza or those
guys, who are in National League, and see how far they hit it. We're out there enjoying it
just as much as the fans are.
Q. When did you decide to participate?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Maybe five minutes -- five minutes before. I've got to do what's best
for my team and the organization under some circumstances. At least I got a chance in the
second half to make a run.
Q. Ken, were you surprised that Carl Yazstremski got more fanfare than Ted Williams did
for this whole weekend?
KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: That's a tough one. Yeah. Both players are great ball players, and
you can't take anything away from either one of them. I think most of the people here are
a little younger. And growing up my dad remembers Oscar Robinson playing, and I would go
for Magic, Dr. J, and Michael. So the crowds get younger, and are rooting for guys that
are a little younger than when their dads watched.
End of FastScripts