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July 6, 1998

Ken Griffey Jr.


Q. What changed your mind about going back into the contest?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I don't like to get booed. I don't think anybody does. This is not a time to get booed, All-Star Game. And, you know, if they want to see me in the home run competition, the fans, that's the reason why I did it, for them. I'll be a little worn out. Hopefully I can be ready for the second half.

Q. You told me earlier that you couldn't get a ball in the air here earlier to save your soul. Worked tonight.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Just taking it a little differently, hitting the ball higher, waiting to pitch up so I don't have to lift it. It worked.

Q. At what point did you change your mind? After you guys were introduced? Did someone in the clubhouse say something?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: On the field award, top vote-getter. We came here. I was looking in the paper, one of my friends called me.

Q. Did the boos kind of shock you? Is that what you were not expecting?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I usually get booed on the road, you know. In this situation, All-Star Game, I really didn't like it. But, you know, they felt that they wanted me in the home run competition, so I did it. I mean, I wasn't expecting to win. I was just going to go out there and do my best, see what happened.

Q. Palmeiro indicated in the clubhouse, a few guys had talked to you, encouraged you to participate. Is that true?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Well, I don't know. I think it was the younger players who didn't want to do it. So I talked to them and said, "Hey, if you guys really don't want to do it, then I'll do it."

Q. You said you get booed on the road. Have you ever been booed that loudly before in your life?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: No. But, you know, it hasn't been -- there hasn't been a situation like this.

Q. Did you talk to the guy you knocked out of the contest? Who did you knock out?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I can't tell you that (laughter).

Q. Did you talk to him?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Yeah. He ended up making the final decision.

Q. You said about being maybe tired, but you have part of the day. What was your original reason, and going on that, did you expect the kind of reaction that you got?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: People don't realize how grueling our schedule is being in Seattle. Like I said earlier, all our off days are travel days. I mean, they're not where we can go to a city, have a nice meal. I mean, we're getting there sometimes at seven o'clock after our flight, after being on a plane for six hours. All you have time to do is grab something to eat, go back to the hotel, go to sleep. Some days we've got, you know, day games after night games in different cities.

Q. What time did you get in last night?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: 12:30, 1:00 maybe, 1:30, somewhere around there.

Q. You were talking to Frank Robinson on the field a half hour before the contest. Can you relate that conversation?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Did Frank tell you?

Q. He said you guys were talking about -- he said people were getting on you for not doing it, you were saying that. He said to you you should give your reasons why.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: That's what we talked about.

Q. Did that influence you at all?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I listen to the guys with those type of numbers and credentials. You know, you don't know everything. This is my tenth year in the big leagues. I'm still learning. If a guy with his type of numbers, you know, relays something to me that's positive, then I've got to do nothing but listen to him.

Q. Do you find yourself, when you start a contest like this, you have some nerves, butterflies, then those are over after you get into the second or third round?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I have butterflies and get nervous when I play a game. It's still exciting for me to go out there and compete with everybody in my division or on the other side of the field. I enjoy going out and playing baseball but still get nervous about doing it.

Q. Fans all across America are going to know how to get you in the home run contest, booing you. Will it affect you next year?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: They may not invite me next year. Usually they take the top guys. I may not be a top guy next year.

Q. Hypothetically, if you were invited?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Well, hopefully we don't have that tough travel schedule, that's ahead.

Q. What do you talk about when you're sitting on the bench watching the home run competition?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I was upstairs, grabbed something to drink. Then I came down and messed with my son a little bit. I haven't seen him for ten days.

Q. Did you say anything?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I don't say too much. I'm not one of those guys that rip people and joke around with people unless they joke around with me first.

Q. Did any of the older players talk to you about going into the contest, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: He just said, "If you really don't want to do it, you said your reason, stick with it. That's it. They can't take that from you."

Q. It was an hour and 15 minutes after the thing started before you finally got to hit, even longer since you had taken batting practice. Did that bother you at all?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: No. I didn't even really notice the time because of everything else going on.

Q. You won, but you seem kind of sad.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Just the way I am. I mean, you could ask the guys who travel with me. They know me.

Q. Given the amount of just talk in the past month or so regarding the not participating, did you not anticipate the boos?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I figured there would be a few but not like that.

Q. Do you think that treatment is fair from the fans?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I think it's a little unfair because a lot of people, like I said, don't really know our schedule. If you would have traveled 70,000 miles in six months, you know, with maybe -- I mean, we have three days off at home I think this year. Everybody else, you know, has that time off at home. It's tough.

Q. Given what's gone on the first half of the season, all the exciting things that have gone on with trades and everything, do you think baseball is on its way back?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I hope so. This is something that McGwires, the Woods, the Jordans, Sammy, I mean, it's something that we need. Hopefully we can continue it.

End of FastScripts….

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