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July 6, 1998
DENVER, COLORADO: Workout Day
TONY GWYNN: I don't know why I'm here.
Q. The schedule says you're Juan Gonzales.
TONY GWYNN: I feel pretty good to have 101 RBIs (laughter).
JEFF IDELSON: Questions for Mr. Gwynn.
TONY GWYNN: They already asked them all.
Q. The records in baseball, what do you think is the most unbreakable, DiMaggio?
TONY GWYNN: I don't know jack about hitting home runs, to be honest with you. But I've
got to believe that DiMaggio's streak is the toughest. That's every day, get one hit every
day. If you can go a day without getting a hit, hitting 400, hitting a home run. But 56
straight, I've got to believe that's pretty difficult. I don't know about the pitching
thing either, because Orel Hershiser breaks Drysdale's record a few years ago, that's got
to be difficult too. From a hitter's standpoint, I think 56 straight would be tough.
Q. Based on the state of the Padres four or five years ago, how special --
TONY GWYNN: Four or five years ago? Last year (laughter). We were in last place last
Q. Four or five guys out there in the Padres uniform. Four or five years ago, could you
have envisioned that?
TONY GWYNN: Actually, yeah. I mean, how many people you have here really is kind of
indicative of what kind of year you're having. '96, we had three guys. We were battling
for our division. This year it's no different. I think all the guys here, except for me,
are really deserving to be here. That's the truth. That's how I feel. You know, Vaughn,
Hoffman, Brown, Ashby, those four guys are probably the main reason why we're where we are
at. I think they probably all deserve to be here. In my case, I'm not having that great a
year in my eyes. When you're the leading outfield guy in the National League, which is the
first time that's happened, I'm flattered. I'm flattered to be here. I love coming to the
All-Star Game anyway, but this year I'm really flattered. That's never happened. The
majority of games we were playing, we were on the road. I'm always looking forward to
coming to the All-Star Game. This year especially because being No. 1 in out field. But I
think, you know, we're deserving. We've had a good year up to this point. We played pretty
good baseball. Although we're not there with Atlanta, you know, we're in the neighborhood.
We've played really good baseball, really consistent baseball, played a brand that's been
based on pitching and defense. I'm really happy for those other four guys here.
Q. Modesty aside, do you mean it, you feel like you don't deserve to be here this year?
Just to reinforce that a little bit, over the years there's been feeling that at the end
of their careers, guys should have been at the All-Star Games, whether their years rated
it or not, special picks, whatever you wanted to call them, Williams, Mantle, they should
have continued whatever streak they had and the fans should have had another chance to see
them. Would you elaborate on that a little bit?
TONY GWYNN: I thought about it. I couldn't understand why I was the No. 1 outfielder,
to be honest with you, with guys like Vaughn and Sosa were having monster seasons.
Q. Name recognition?
TONY GWYNN: You know, yeah. I've been around a long time. I'd like to think I've been
pretty consistent. So, like I said, I'm flattered to be here, to be honest with you. But I
realize that there are other guys in that clubhouse who are having better years than I,
and deserve an opportunity to play. I mean, I'm going to be out there as long as Jimmy
Leyland says you're out there.
Q. You played here before. How do you expect the game to be tomorrow? Is it going to be
a high-scoring affair because of the Coors Field?
TONY GWYNN: I think most people expect it to be. I think most people expect to see some
home runs, some hitting, some high-powered offense. But there might not be. This game is
really based on pitching. If the pitchers are throwing the ball good, it could be 2-1,
3-2. If they're getting the ball up, that's going to be the key. If they get the ball up
in this ballpark, you don't have to hit it good to get it out. You don't have to hit it
good to get a base hit. This is a big ballpark. You've got a lot of room out there. If the
ball is up, then lots of things can happen. We can have a lot of bloop hits, home runs,
balls in the gaps, down the line, or guys can throw the ball well, good movement, you can
get 2-1, 3-2. I think a lot of people will be watching this. I think there's going to be a
ball in the rock pile by the end of the night (laughter). I've been here quite a few times
and seen a lot of BP, and haven't seen anybody get close. I think tonight somebody is
going to throw one up here. I think that's why a lot of people are going to be watching.
Q. There's some divisions in baseball that the difference between the team in first
place and last place is huge. It seems the NL West has always been up in the air.
JEFF IDELSON: The NL West is a very competitive division; does that help you?
TONY GWYNN: I think so. I think coming in, all the clubs in our division thought that
we all had a chance to win. We're pretty equal. You know, I think the thing that separates
us maybe from the Giants or LA is our experience. We've got a lot of experienced guys on
our ball club. But I think everybody still feels like they've got a shot, you know. Even
though the Dodgers are double figured games back, that doesn't mean very much because we
know we can beat each other.
Q. Though it's something obviously you're not famous for, the home run, can you
understand the public's fascination with the home run and the chase that's developed?
TONY GWYNN: Sure, sure, I do. Because you can change the game with one swing of the
bat. The guys who are making them run at this number -- making a run at this number, all
of them, very disciplined, a lot more disciplined at the plate, can hit the ball out to
all parts of the ballpark. Yeah, I can understand that.
Q. Do you have a favorite, who you think would get it?
TONY GWYNN: Yeah, I do. I do (laughter).
Q. Who would that be?
TONY GWYNN: I do, I do (laughter). But all three of them are capable. You know, I think
the guy that has the best chance is the guy who is the most disciplined, you know. Sammy
was a free swinger before this year. This year, he's a lot more disciplined. He's taking a
lot more pitches, waiting for a pitch that he can handle. The same with Mark and the same
with Griff. Our guy in San Diego has gotten a lot more disciplined, too. I know he doesn't
want me mentioning his name with the other three, but he's got 30, so anything is
Q. Do you think it took McGwire to switch leagues for you to really understand his
power? You didn't see him as often as you do now?
TONY GWYNN: That's a good question because when you watch the other league, I just
perceived him as a power hitter, a guy looking for a pitch to hit the ball out of the ball
park with. When we started interleague play last year, he was with Oakland. I noticed that
if you get him out one way, you can't get him out that way again. That's the first clue.
Second clue was, we had a game in San Diego, facing Joey Hamilton, Joey is 2-0, blow it.
2-0, you would think a power hitter, looking for a pitch to drive. He took a fast ball
right down his shoe, 2-1. Next pitch was a heater down and in. He inside outed it to right
center. That told me he was a good hitter. That's the thing that gets lost in all the home
runs, is the fact that all three of these guys, all four of these guys, are good hitters
who are capable of using the whole field and don't necessarily have to hit a home run to
help their ball clubs. They all hit the ball to all fields. I've heard Mark McGwire talk
about it before. He's just as happy getting a double to right center as he is hitting the
ball out of the ballpark. So you don't just have power hitters, you've got guys who
understand hitting and are good hitters.
Q. So much has been written about the state of baseball in the last couple years.
You're seen as kind of an ambassador to the game. What do you think is good about
TONY GWYNN: I think that baseball is good. I think that interleague play has created
some new rivalries that I also think is good. I think getting some leadership now that
they announced Bud Selig as Commissioner, I think that's good. I think fans want to know
there's one guy in charge of watching out for the game of baseball. I think a lot of
things have been good. We've done a lot of good things since the strike of '94. Is it
enough? No, I don't think so. I think we still got a lot of work to do, but we're trying.
I think the effort that people are putting in to trying to do the right thing for the game
of baseball, I think it's apparent. I think people are able to see that. I hope that we
can continue in this direction. But we've got some -- you know, we've got some things that
have to be discussed. This interleague play is one. I like interleague play, but I'm never
going to get to Fenway playing American League West. I want to play the other divisions.
But travel is the problem. That's one of the things that we have to deal with. I think on
the whole, if you ask people, I think they like interleague play. I think that's good for
the game. Like I said, we're trying to do a lot of positive things for the game, and I
think people are aware that we're trying to do that. I think we're heading in that
direction is good, but we still have a lot more things that we need to do.
End of FastScripts