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July 6, 1998

Ken Griffey Jr.

Sammy Sosa


Q. Sammy, everyone talks about the pressure of the home run race. What does the word "pressure" mean to you? Do you feel any?

SAMMY SOSA: I don't know about pressure. I never feel. I never feel like I have pressure. I have to play the game the way it is. I have good mentally control. For me, I don't have for fear, so I just go out there, trying to do what I need to do, taking care of business.

Q. Sammy, do you ever wonder what it would have been like for you and Juan Gonzales?

JEFF IDELSON: Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be in the same lineup as Juan Gonzalez?

SAMMY SOSA: For me, it would be something that would be amazing because Gonzalez and I have been playing for Texas, you know, came together in the same organization. When I decided to go to a different organization, I said to myself, you know, say to Juan, "You got to go get them because we're not going to be here together no more, I got to go over there make my life in another city."

Q. Sammy, what do you think of Juan having 101 RBIs at the break?

SAMMY SOSA: : That's cool (laughter). I wish I have a hundred, too. I mean, this is amazing. I never see nobody drive so much RBI, you know, half of the season. This is something I'm real proud of Juan.

Q. Do you have a theory about all these awesome numbers at the All-Star break, the number of guys who are -- 60 home runs?

JEFF IDELSON: Do you have a theory on the number of people that are hitting a lot of home runs and RBIs at that short juncture?

SAMMY SOSA: Well, you know, every year it is a lot of people that have a quality, as has been this year. Griffey, Mark, Gonzales. You have a lot of number. I think that we going to keep it continue because we been preparing ourself to go out there and have a good year. The only way you can do it is try to finish good the first half, and then the second half. I think it's going to keep continue like that.

JEFF IDELSON: Talk about Gonzalez as a hitter?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Right now, he's just hitting everything. He's got -- the most amazing thing is he's got all those guys on base with less than two outs, guy standing on third. The guys in front of him are doing their job. He's just taking advantage of the situation that he's in.

Q. Can you talk about, in terms of the resurgence of the game, your part in it? You've always been a very exciting, popular player in the game. With the home run chase, the fact you're on night after night, whether you hit a home run, things like that, do you feel like you're helping the game bring fans back?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I just go out there and be the person I am. I don't really worry about am I helping the game. I just want to go out there and not disrespect myself, my teammates and my organization. As long as I do this that, I think I'll be okay.

Q. Do you think the game is coming back?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Yeah. I think with the changes we made so far, it's helped.

Q. How do you look at the Central Division race? How do you look at that?

SAMMY SOSA: I think we have a lot of chance. We only five behind. The way we've been playing this year has been awesome. I think that if we keep continue like that, second half of the season, I think we can catch Houston.

Q. Mark McGwire was asked about being mentioned among the greats of the game. How do you put that in perspective when your name is ranked up there?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I don't really think about it. Until I retire, then that's fine. But I'm still a player. I haven't really done anything yet. I haven't got a World Championship. I just want to go out there and play. When I retire, then if it's possible -- right now I don't think about it.

Q. What factors went into your decision to bypass the home run contest? Do you think you'll do it in future years?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: The situation, last year, with our travel schedule, I flew seven hours to get to a press conference at nine o'clock. The home run competition didn't start until four. By four o'clock, I was just wore out. This year, I just said, "I can't do it." It takes me a couple days, with our schedule, all our off days are flying. We don't have the luxury of going to a city and having a day off in that city. You know, we have a Sunday day game, then Monday we're flying to Boston or New York. That's not a day off for us. Right now, I just need to rest.

Q. This game is going to be televised in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, you can't play. How big would the confrontation between you and Pedro Martinez have been in the Dominican Republic?

SAMMY SOSA: Well, like I say, you know, everybody know that I want to be there. But, you know, since I'm hurt in my shoulder, it's unhappy to me. If Pedro and I, you know, would be there, and he was pitching me, you know I'm going to go out there and do my job. He going to go out there and do his job. So right now, I just, you know, feel a little kind of disappointment myself because I cannot be there. Which is only human being, you never know what can happen to you tomorrow. I don't have control of the situation. But I would like to be there. Maybe next year I come back to the All-Star, if I can make it. Probably I can play.

Q. You guys come to Coors Field, do you find teammates react a little different to hitting?

JEFF IDELSON: Do you feel differently about hitting at Coors Field because of the reputation of the ballpark?

SAMMY SOSA: Definitely, it's a great ballpark. I never have no problem. Even Ken Griffey is a good hitter, too (laughter). I don't think so that it any problem for us. We can hit everywhere we go. That's how we play this game. We just do our job wherever we go.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I don't try to make the adjustments. I just, you know -- we play at Boston, everybody tries to hit to left field. I just try to hit it where it's pitched. After I it leaves my bat, I have no control where it goes.

Q. I thought maybe guys would overcompensate, try to hit it too hard.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: My dad was a hitting coach here for a year. He said, "Just go out there, swing the bat, don't try to do too much because it will go out if you hit it".

Q. Sosa, Griffey, Jr. and McGwire, who has the best chance to break the home run singles season if and why?

SAMMY SOSA: I have my money on Mark McGwire.

Q. How much and where?

SAMMY SOSA: Griffey, I know you my boy, but (laughter). No, not really. I think that Mark have a lot of potential, Griffey and myself. But, you know, like Griffey say, he never thinking about what can happen. I'm never thinking about it what can happen up there. We have another second half to go. Who knows, I might be the one, Griffey might be the one or Mark. Right now, myself, I'm not thinking. Maybe when the year is over, something can happen, I will let you know.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: You want me to answer that, too? Mark.

Q. Mark?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Oh, yeah.

Q. Why?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: He's bigger out of the three.

Q. Given the reason that you just gave for not being in the home run contest, were you concerned or did you factor in at all that you might disappoint the fans by not participating?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: That didn't come into my train of thought. As long as I go out there and play during the season and try to do the things that I've been doing, I thought that would be more important than the home run competition. I look at it, you know, I didn't do it in '95 and '96 due to injuries. Still I don't have full range of motion in my wrist. There's a lot of things I have to think about before I do something.

Q. Do you find it amazing that Mark has such effortless, smooth things can generate such power?

SAMMY SOSA: The way that Griffey swing, that's something that's natural. Almost the same Mark. I mean, Griffey, every time that I see him hit a home run with the kind of swing that he have, the way that I see it, he don't trying to hit a home run, just an easy swing, make contact. You know, I think Mark, the way that he is so big, the way that he swing, he swing so easy. This is something that you have a lot of power, he's one of the main man. I don't think he mean to go out there trying to swing hard to hit a home run. I don't think so.

Q. Yourself?

SAMMY SOSA: Myself, I'm crazy. I'm swinging the bat all the way. I'm going out there, I'm not swinging the bat hard, I think I've been cheating myself. I'm going to go out there and swing the bat the way I'm supposed to be swinging.

End of FastScripts….

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