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July 6, 1998

Vera Clemente

Luis Clemente

Len Coleman

Jim Leyland

Greg Maddux


GENE BUDIG: Thanks to the great City of Denver, great state of Colorado for the 69th All-Star Game. We are very excited to be the host team for this. I see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of good guys that are here today. We're going to get to it very quickly here. I want to mention that the interview room is located on the lower level, across from the clubhouse. It will be active all day today and the schedule is as follows. At 2:45, Rolando Arrojo will be available, 2:45. At 3 o'clock, Ken Griffey Junior, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa will be made available to you. At 3:15, Juan Gonzales of the Texas Rangers, at 3:30, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Junior. At 3:45, four Rockies. Vinny Castilla, Larry Walker and Manager, Don Baylor. At four o'clock, John Elway and the other participants in the MCI All-Star Hitting Challenge will be made available to you, then at eight o'clock the winner of the Service Merchandise Home Run Derby will be made available to you. That's the schedule starting at 2:45 today. I want to bring up Len Coleman, who is the National League President. We have an awful lot of business for you. I will ask you when you ask your questions, please speak loudly so we can all here you. Leonard Coleman.

LEN COLEMAN: Thank you, Wayne. Let me first thank the Rockies for their tremendous hospitality here in the City of Denver. We're very pleased, as you know, the Rocky fans have certainly been some of the most ebullient that we've had in Major League Baseball. Pulled out the red carpet for us. I'd like to thank Jerry McMorris and the rest of the Rocky team for everything they've done to make this game a tremendous success. To my colleague, Gene Budig, good luck tomorrow evening. Hopefully not too much luck. You got us last, Gene, looking to come back on you this year. It is my pleasure to first introduce to you this our honorary captain. First I'd like to say just a few things about her husband, Roberto Clemente. I think Roberto brought a spiritualism to life, brought a spiritualism to baseball. As we all know, on the field, he was graced with a magnificent throwing arm, and the ability to hit pitches that were a foot over his head, or down by his ankles. Most significantly, he was blessed with an abundance of qualities, all of which added up to leadership. Off the field, he carried himself with a dignity, which is unsurpassed. He opened the doors for many a ball player, particularly Hispanic ball players. As we all know, he tragically lost his life in a humanitarian cause 25 years ago. So I think that it's quite appropriate that in this 25th anniversary of us losing Roberto, that the captain of the National League All-Star team will be his mate, someone who walked side-by-side with him, Vera Clemente. I think I'm very proud, Vera, that you're going to be our captain. I know that your presence will add inspirational leadership to that National League team. I give you Vera Clemente, accompanied by her son, Luis.

VERA CLEMENTE: For me it is a great honor to be elected the first woman as an honorary captain of the National League team of the All-Star Game. And I want to thank Major League Baseball, Len Coleman, for all the opportunities that baseball gave Roberto over the years when he was active. At the same time, I want to thank them because all the opportunities they are receiving, the Latin players now, thank you, very much.

LUIS CLEMENTE: I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the National League, Mr. Len Coleman. Recently they also gave us their support in sports seeding, the complex that my father wanted to bring along. We really appreciate their help and support and all they did for my father in those days through Major League Baseball. Now the opportunities they're giving our fellow Latin Americans. Thank you, very much.

LEN COLEMAN: Now it's my distinct pleasure to introduce to you the National League Manager. A man who needs no introduction, I think we all know he's one of the greatest baseball men, one of the greatest managers in Major League Baseball. Someone who put a lot of work in the picking of this team, Jim Leyland.

JIM LEYLAND: Thanks. (laughter). I just want to say this is quite an honor for me to be here obviously today as the Manager of the National League. I would like at this time to give you my lineup that I will start tomorrow night. Greg Biggio will lead off at second base, Tony Gwynn, second in right field. First base will be Mark McGwire. Left field will be Barry Bonds. Third base will be Chipper Jones. Catching will be Mike Piazza. And center field will be Larry Walker. Shortstop will be Walt Weiss. And the starting pitcher who is with us today, I don't think any surprise, Greg Maddux. That's the team that we will start with tomorrow night. At this time, I would like to answer any questions that you may have, if you have any. I will be glad to answer them.

WAYNE HAGIN: Any questions at all?

Q. What do you find more amazing, that someone at the All-Star break has 37 home runs or 107 RBIs?

JIM LEYLAND: I really don't know the answer to that. I think we all know those guys involved right now, Sammy, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey, Junior, they're certainly special. Certainly there are guys like Gonzales that has the unbelievable RBIs. It's totally amazing what they've done. I don't know. I think that probably RBIs, you know, depending when you get them, when you hit the home runs are very important. That was one of reasons Greg was one of my selections, I thought he hit a lot of big home runs for the San Diego Padres, he had a lot of home runs late in the game. Home runs and RBIs, you talk about getting some cheap RBIs anyone who has 101, has to get a few cheap ones, but also got some big ones. That would probably be a better question for one of the All-Star players.

Q. Can you just comment on what it's like to get back at least for a day with your players from last year? What's it like for Jim Leyland to be back for one day with some of your players from the Championship team?

JIM LEYLAND: In reality, there was no plan behind that. I think it really just tells you what an outstanding baseball team we had last year, I'll leave it at that. They were the World Championships, they were members the World Champion baseball team last year. I think they've gone elsewhere. They're doing well elsewhere. They're great players, deserve to be here. It's going to be nice to have a reunion with them for a short period of time.

WAYNE HAGIN: Any other questions?

Q. The decision on who is going to play center field, how did you come up with it? Did you talk to the players?

WAYNE HAGIN: How did Jim come up with the decision on who was going to play center field?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, you know, Larry Walker has played against us before, so I felt particularly in this ballpark he would probably know it better than the other players. That's the decision. I really haven't talked to Larry about it. I hope that's all right with him. I don't think that will be a problem. That's basically why I made the decision. I felt like, you know, he's played in this ballpark a little bit more, he has played center field at times. He's a bit more familiar with the surroundings at Coors Field.

Q. With so many players and so much talent, do you find it a big challenge to try to get everybody into the game? Do you have any strategy plotted out for that?

WAYNE HAGIN: Question involves getting everybody in the game. That's a question everybody manager has had, I'm sure.

JIM LEYLAND: It's no different than any other year. The process, selection, getting guys in the game is going to be the same as it's always been. I would love to get everybody in the game. I have a little bit of a plan of guys that I may substitute to play in the field, guys that I may use as pinch hitters. I kind of isolated them so I have some type of an idea. Let's use one player, Walt Weiss. If I put Edgar in the middle or later in the game, he would get hurt, I cannot put Walt Weiss back in. You can do that with a catcher, but that is the only position you can do that with. While you want to get everybody in, you have to be very careful because you don't want to end up at the end of the game and be short, end up in embarrassing situations. I'm going to play it by ear, do the best I can with it, like everybody has done this in the past.

Q. From the romance that baseball and the fans still have with the home run, 61 in '61, would it be in baseball's interest that the fans continue to look at that as a magic number and that it not be broken?

WAYNE HAGIN: I'm sorry. Are you talking about the home run record?

Q. The home run record.

WAYNE HAGIN: 61 by Roger Maris?

Q. The fans seem to have a romantic part of baseball attached to that. For the interest of baseball, and promotional side, that one icon stands out there. Would it be better that it not be broken?

WAYNE HAGIN: Well, the question is, would it be better if the record of Roger Maris in 1961, 61 home runs; would it be better if it weren't broken?

JIM LEYLAND: I personally don't think so. I think like anything else if you can earn it and you can do it, God bless you. I think there's a possibility that if some guys stay healthy this year, I think the other thing is is how they're pitched to in pennant stretches. It's going to be different with teams involved with post-season play. They've pitched them tough all year, walked them a lot already. Once you start playing teams that may have a chance to get a wildcard, post-season play, that could become even more prevalent. I think if they can stay healthy, get pitched to a little bit, I think it's got a chance to be broken and I think it's great for baseball.

WAYNE HAGIN: Another question?

Q. What was behind the selection of Boone to replace Sammy Sosa?

WAYNE HAGIN: What was the behind the selection of Brett Boone taking the place of Sammy Sosa?

JIM LEYLAND: I obviously kind of wanted to stay with the theme of having a uniform of every team, so we added Brett Boone, who obviously is having a pretty good year. I'm not going to get into all that process. I think that's unfair. I'll make one statement about it. I think we have already admitted, there are a lot of All-Stars not here today. I don't think there's any question about that. I'm not going to talk about that today for this reason. I think it takes something away from the guys that are here. I think that would be very unfair. There are some guys missing that could be All-Stars for 1998. It's always happened and it always will. But for me to sit up here and to talk about that and answer questions about that today, I think that's totally unfair to the players that made it. This is their day and tomorrow is their day. Thank you.

Q. Could you talk about the four closers and how you might use them? Who would be used in the ninth inning?

WAYNE HAGIN: The question is about his four closers, who will close out the game?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, hopefully I will have that problem and we have to close it out. I don't really know. I can tell you this. I want to say the record of our pitchers is 70 and 33 with a 2.38 earned run average. Our closers have 90 saves between the four of them. I can probably pick it out of a hat.

WAYNE HAGIN: One more question.

Q. (Inaudible)?

WAYNE HAGIN: The question is, do you have an idea who is going to follow Greg Maddux in the rotation?

JIM LEYLAND: I do have an idea. I'm going to sit with the coaches today and discuss it a little bit. I've looked at the American League. There's not a lot of tricks in this game. I think it's best for me to stay out of it. I will follow with Schilling, Tom Glavine. I can't go wrong, they're all All-Stars, all great. Like I said, I'm not trying to get too involved with trying to be tricky. This is the players' show. I'm here on the coat tails of a lot of great players. I'm very grateful for that. This is their show. There's not going to be a lot of strategy on my part. I'm going to let them do what they do best, that's pitch and play.

WAYNE HAGIN: National League Manager, Jim Leyland. Bring up the guy who is going to start the game for the National League, four Cy Young Awards and perhaps well on his way to the fifth, Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves. Open up the questions for Greg.

Q. Are you looking forward to Coors Field this time?

GREG MADDUX: Yeah, I am. This is -- these games are great to play in. You know, you just play. It's almost like spring training. You really enjoy the game. There's no pressure to win or anything like that. You just go out and play, you know, play the game, you have fun.

Q. (Inaudible)?

WAYNE HAGIN: How was pitching at Coors Field as opposed to the other ball parks?

GREG MADDUX: Well, I mean, obviously, you know, you don't slide as much, curves don't curve as much. You can still pitch here. I think probably one of the biggest things is the out fielders have to play a little bit deeper and you always give up the extra base on a base hit. The biggest thing is you're always -- seems like you always have to give that extra base, instead of first and second, it's first and third.

WAYNE HAGIN: Any other questions?

Q. A lot of people have opinions as to what makes you as successful as you are. What do you think sets you apart?

WAYNE HAGIN: What sets Greg Maddux apart?

GREG MADDUX: This year it's been runs. I've gotten a lot of runs this year. I've had a lot of games where I've, by the fourth or fifth inning, I've had five or six, eight runs. That really makes a big difference.


Q. The fact that there are three or four guys that are challenging Maris's record, is that a reflection on the quality of pitching overall?

WAYNE HAGIN: Is it a reflection of the quality of pitching in Major League Baseball to have three guys challenging Roger Maris?

GREG MADDUX: I think it really tells you how good those guys are. They're staying healthy. They've gotten better over the years, and they're not losing their pitches pretty much. I think the pitching is as good as it's always been. Expansion has thinned it out a hair. I don't think there's that big a difference between now and a few years ago.

WAYNE HAGIN: Any other questions?

Q. What do you think of the maturation of Sammy Sosa as the player he is today? Did you play with him in Chicago?


Q. What was he like then, what has he become now?

GREG MADDUX: He's always been a good player. He's always hit for power. He's always played defense, and he's always come to play. I think that's probably the best thing about Sammy, is he comes to play. He works hard. Maybe it just shows that hard work does pay off. He's always been good, but he's worked at it. I remember being there, he'd be at the park early, he'd hit every day before batting practice. Glad to see it's paying off for him.

WAYNE HAGIN: One more question.

Q. Can you evaluate yourself, what have you done best this year in your pitching? Why do you give up so few home runs when others give up so many?

GREG MADDUX: I don't know. I don't really evaluate myself a whole lot. I pretty much just try to get ready for my next game, what you did last week or last month really doesn't matter, it's what you're going to do in your next game is what's important, at least to me. You know, the home runs, I don't know, maybe they don't -- maybe they try to go the other way off me a little more than the other guys. Who knows? But, you know, just try to keep it down so they don't do it, keep it in play.

WAYNE HAGIN: Greg Maddux. We understand that Mark McGwire was not able to make it for this press conference. We will get a time perhaps a little bit later and a location at Coors Field as to when you can talk to him. We'll pass that along in a very short period of time. I'd like to bring up the American League President, Gene Budig and he has some introductions, as well.

End of FastScripts….

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