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July 6, 1998

Vince Gennaro

Ken Griffey Jr.

Mike Hargrove

Lee MacPhail

David Wells


GENE BUDIG: Ladies and gentlemen, first and foremost, on behalf of the American League, I would like to thank Leonard Coleman and Colorado owner Jerry McMorris for staging this event and for exceptional hospitality. And on behalf of the league, we wish them happiness and very limited success in the next several days. Managing an All-Star team is no easy task. It's a very difficult task. It takes many hours of study, analysis, consultation, it demands clear insight of the game. The American League is especially fortunate, especially fortunate, to have Mike Hargrove at its manager. He is one of the game's most successful managers, as you well know. He led the Cleveland Indians to the American League Championship in 1997. This, by the way, is his seventh season as manager of the Tribe. Mike has directed Cleveland to three consecutive AL Central titles in two World Series appearances in three years. He managed the American League in 1996, the All-Star Classic of that year, and assisting him with the coaching chores this year will be two highly regarded professionals, Joe Torre of the New York Yankees, and Art Howe of the Oakland Athletics. It is my pleasure to introduce to you at this time, Mike Hargrove, the American League manager for this year.

MIKE HARGROVE: Thank you, Dr. Budig. It's my pleasure at this time, before I announce the starting lineup and the starting pitcher, to introduce to you the American League honorary captain, a real quick story. I developed a reputation as a player. Instead of being a good player, I developed a reputation of being a human rain delay. My last experience with the gentleman I'm going to introduce as our honorary captain came through a communication of him asking me to please hurry up between pitches because he was tired of three-hour games. Mr. MacPhail, I hurried up and we're still having three-hour games, so I wasn't the problem obviously (laughter). But it is my extreme pleasure to introduce Lee MacPhail as the American League honorary captain.

LEE MacPHAIL: Thank you, Mike. I'm very pleased to have been appointed the honorary captain of the 1998 American League All-Star team. I'm only sorry about one thing, and that's that my good friend Gene Budig should get so much criticism for picking me as the honorary captain. A lot of people feel that he wasn't aware that in my ten years as president of the American League, we lost the All-Star Game the first nine years (laughter). I think Gene maybe was aware of this. Maybe he figured that the law of averages would be on my side today. Or maybe he thought about my last year as league president, 1983, when the American League won 13 to 3. Maybe he thought that just got us going. Or maybe he feels that the league president and the honorary captain don't really have that much effect on what goes on on the field, what the outcome on the field will be. But whatever, I sure would like to see an American League win tomorrow. That would extend my All-Star winning streak to two games (laughter). Gene, thanks again for denying the critiques and giving me this nice award. And also next, let's go get them. Thank you.

MIKE HARGROVE: Starting lineup will be Kenny Lofton hitting first, and playing. Almar, Robbie Alomar, playing second base. Ken Griffey playing also, hitting third (laughter). Juan Gonzales hitting fourth, and playing right field. Jim Thome hitting fifth, playing first base. Alex Rodriguez hitting sixth, playing shortstop. Ivan Rodriguez hitting seventh, catching. And Cal Ripken hitting eighth, playing third base. My starting pitcher obviously is David Wells. A richly deserved honor for David, perfect game this year. I don't know about y'all, but I start there watching the last couple innings of that game against Minnesota on TV. I can't remember where I was. But David, I sweat every pitch with you.

WAYNE HAGIN: Open up the floor for questions for Mike Hargrove. Questions?

Q. Could you give a position for Lofton and Griffey?

MIKE HARGROVE: I did not give a position on purpose. I talked to Ken about it this morning. I haven't talked to Kenny Lofton about it. I'm going to do that and see where their preference is. I asked Kenny this morning where he would rather play. He said he didn't care. I said, "That's a non-answer." We'll figure it out and we'll get it done.

WAYNE HAGIN: Yes, question.

Q. What factors went into picking David Wells as your starter?

MIKE HARGROVE: Well, the fact that he's playing for arguably the best team in baseball for the last hundred years. He threw a perfect game. His record is exemplary. He throws strikes. I felt that of all the guys, that he probably could handle the pressure of opening an All-Star Game as well as anybody. He gives us a chance to win it.

Q. Did the fact that there were no other Yankees starting come into play at all?

MIKE HARGROVE: No, not really. I considered him. I considered Bartolo Colon. I considered Pedro Martinez. I considered them all. David for me was the best fit.

WAYNE HAGIN: Do you have a special rotation after Dave will pitch?

WAYNE HAGIN: What's the rotation after David Wells?

MIKE HARGROVE: I really don't. I've got an idea. Again, if I listen to the questions that Jim received, I'm not trying to dodge the question. I will talk to my coaches this afternoon. I have an idea of how I'd like to do it. I'll get their input and we'll see, you know, where we're at, especially the availability of when they last pitched, how many innings they can go. I have an idea; it's just not confirmed right yet.

Q. You never know when you can ever get the opportunity to come back and manage something like this. You had the opportunity in '96. How much will you relish this situation, in your memory, how are you going to spend the day tomorrow thinking about this game, keep it in your memory?

MIKE HARGROVE: I think that every experience is obviously a new experience, even though it is in the same venue. Anytime that you can be around talented people such as have gathered here is absolutely awe-inspiring. I'm very appreciative of the fact that I get to be associated with them, and maybe direct whatever effort they give. So you don't know when you're going to be back at this, if you ever will be back. You enjoy every little bit. The first time around, it's kind of a blur, because it's the first time I'd ever done that. First time I managed anything, it was a little hectic, somewhat of a blur. This time, I know to what expect a little bit, slow down a little bit, I'm enjoying it a lot more. It's a very enjoyable time for baseball as a whole.

Q. Were you surprised that no Yankees were elected to the starting team, and whether you were or weren't, how you feel about that?

MIKE HARGROVE: To tell you the truth, I never thought about it until you just mentioned it. I don't think that that was a knock at the Yankees. I think, if anything, it might have been a compliment as how well-rounded and how well-balanced they are as a team. Was I surprised? I guess maybe a little bit surprised, because the Yankees, you know, they've got a big following around the country, if not the world. But I think, again, instead of it being a knock against the Yankees, and the players, I think it's a big compliment in how well-rounded, how well-balanced their team is.

WAYNE HAGIN: Question.

Q. Can you talk about your playing experience in the All-Star Game?

WAYNE HAGIN: Can you talk about your playing experience in 1975 at Country Stadium?

MIKE HARGROVE: It lasted about 30 seconds. I hit a fly ball, was out, got to sit down and watch the rest of the game like everybody else (laughter). It was, again, coming from a small town in the Texas panhandle, come into a situation like that, people that were there, all the people, anybody in baseball being there, also Henry Kissinger, Glen Campbell sung the National Anthem. So for a kid from the country, it was a special experience. This is not any less so.

WAYNE HAGIN: Time for two more questions.

Q. Why Omar Vizquel and no Nomar Garciaparra?

MIKE HARGROVE: I think legitimately you can look at the American League, there are four shortstops that belong here and should be here. I could not justify in my own mind to take more than three. Why Omar Vizquel? Because Omar Vizquel I think is the best shortstop that ever played the game of baseball. I don't think that I'm alone, I don't think that I'm alone in that assessment. I thought that given the offensive numbers and the defensive numbers, Omar is a .981 fielding percentage now, best of any shortstop in the history of Major League Baseball. So I think that, you know, given those numbers, those parameters, Omar deserved to come.

WAYNE HAGIN: Last question for Mike Hargrove.

Q. Having not managed at Coors Field, what have you heard about it? How are you approaching tomorrow night? What do you anticipate tomorrow night?

MIKE HARGROVE: You get a dart board and darts, start firing them at the wall. I managed for a year down in Colorado Springs, PCL, '89. I'm a little bit familiar with how well the ball travels in this part of the country. The biggest thing that we try to do with our pitchers then was to teach and really stress to them to keep the ball down. I'm looking forward to it, home run hitting contest this afternoon like everyone else is, and the game. I think it has a chance to be a very, very interesting game. Given the pitching that has been assembled and the hitting, I'm going to be really interested to see who really does prevail. Whoever does prevail, I think it's going to be a very, very good contest.

WAYNE HAGIN: Thank you, Mike Hargrove. I'm going to introduce to you the American League starting pitcher, you already heard why, outstanding perfect game that he threw as well as a great first. Left-hander David Wells of the New York Yankees.

DAVID WELLS: All righty then. Anybody got any questions, because I don't have anything personally to throw at you guys. So we'll just go with the questions.

WAYNE HAGIN: Go right ahead.

Q. David, you used to pitch against McGwire in the AL, what was your approach, your success? How happy are you to see that he's in the other league?

DAVID WELLS: Well, Mark and I have had some great battles over the years. You know, just for him, he's such a strong individual. The best way my approach to him is to try to go -- just towards his weakness, you know. I think for any big hitter, you know, they like to extend their arms a little. If you do something over the plate, you're going to get in trouble that way. You know, just try to keep him off balance the best I can. Up here in this altitude, you know, it's going to make a big difference. I pitched here in '95. It's something that you really got to go out and pitch. For him, you know, I'm glad he's in the other league. I don't have to face him. But, you know, it's something -- it's a challenge. I accept any challenge that comes my way. You know, that's what makes me successful as a pitcher because I'm not afraid to go at anybody at any given time.

WAYNE HAGIN: Question.

Q. You had a lot of success in big games. Do you consider this a big game, even though technically it's an exhibition?

DAVID WELLS: There's no question, you know. It's a game, it's American League against the National League. I'm going to go out there with every intention to get these guys out and win it for the AL. I think that's, you know, something that -- a game is a game. It's fun. We go out there every day and play. When you do that, we're a bunch of grown kids. We try to do it, but we take our job seriously. I don't care what game it is. You still try to have fun, play hard, regardless of what game you're in. I'm looking forward to this because the challenge is there, and it is a very big game for me. Hopefully, my reputation for that has been excellent so far. So hopefully I can continue to be known as a big-game pitcher. I like the challenge.

Q. Coors Field has posed a challenge to a lot of good pitchers. Does it pose a challenge with you? Anything with your strategy going into tomorrow night's game?

MIKE HARGROVE: Duck (laughter). I pitched here in '95. It was very hard. Like I said, the altitude. Greg said it earlier, your curve ball don't curve, your slider doesn't slide. You just have to create something. I think hopefully I have a vision of a high-scoring game, but hopefully not when I'm in there. It's something that you have to -- you know, this park makes you think, you know. I think as a pitcher, I've been around long enough, I'll try to come up with something. I've got a couple days to come up with a game plan. I'll figure it out. Whatever happens happens.

WAYNE HAGIN: Another question for David Wells?

Q. For one reason or another, anybody on the National League you're looking forward to pitching against or not pitching against?

WAYNE HAGIN: For no particular reason, anybody on the National League team you would like to face?

DAVID WELLS: I'd like to face them all. You know, this is the best group they've put together. Unfortunately, there's some guys that didn't make it that deserved to be here. But for me, like I said, when I get the best hitters in front of me, I get chills down my spine because for me, that's a challenge. You know, every guy in this league, you know, is great, or they wouldn't be here. But, you know, you have to accept the guys coming to the All-Star Game. For me, I'm going right after these guys. That's what I have to do. That's my main job.

WAYNE HAGIN: Last question.

Q. David, 61 wins by your club the first half, as great as it is, are you amazed at the success that you guys have had, to that degree?

DAVID WELLS: I don't think I'm surprised because of the talent that we have on that team, you know. We are a big family. Certainly we don't have any 25, 30 home run guys. We're doing it, you know, fundamentally. We're doing it. It's not just one guy. No guy is taking it upon himself to, you know, think that they should go out there and be the hero. All 25 guys are heroes on this team. I think we've come together as one so well, I mean, better than any team I've ever been on, or better than any team I've seen. We have a good time. Nobody takes anything personal. We just go out and do our job, you know. I think the talent of each individual, you know, carries over. I think in that regard, pitching is the essence of the game because if you don't have pitching, you know, you're going to give up a lot of runs. So you have guys out there that keep your ball team in the game and let your offense go out there and supply the runs and defense is always the key thing. It's not just one person; it's everybody contributing. So, no, I don't think -- I think deservingly so, the record that we have stands as is. You know, I'm proud of it. I'm proud to be part of this team. You know, I think just hard work pays off. It can happen to anybody at any given time.

WAYNE HAGIN: Appreciate it. Thank you. David Wells of the New York Yankees. Just a note, Mark McGwire will be made available at Coors Field at three o'clock today. I'd like to introduce Pepsi Senior Vice President of Fountain Services, Vince Gennaro who will present Ken Griffey, Jr. with the top vote getting award. Vince Gennaro.

VINCE GENNARO: Thank you. You know, in many ways, Pepsi, the official soft drink of Major League Baseball and today's award winner have a lot in common. He's playing the game we love, we market the brands that consumers all across America love. But most of all, I think we both stand for fun. For Pepsi, it's marketing fun products. For our award winner, it's showing the youth of America you can still achieve greatness with a smile on your face. He's also brought fun and enjoyment to millions of fans. It's his ninth consecutive year voted to the All-Star team, fourth consecutive team where he's been the AL's top vote getter. The only thing I'll say about his extraordinary on-the-field accomplishments, he's approaching the halfway mark to Henry Aaron's all time home run record and he's still in his 20s. The good news for fans, we may have another ten or 15 years of watching his magic on the diamond. On behalf of Pepsi, and Major League Baseball, I'd like to award the top vote getter award to Ken Griffey.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I don't know about the 15 more years (laughter). Makes me about 43. This is an honor to be here. I'd like to thank the fans for voting. It's overwhelming. I just really don't know what to say. I just go out there and do what I love to do, and that's play baseball. You know, I like to have fun. You know, my dad taught me that. Said, "Why do something you don't like? If you like something, go out and do it and play and have fun, don't let anybody tell you that you can't have fun doing something you love to do." I have a four-year-old over there who loves the same thing, wants to be a baseball player. So my father has some work to do (laughter). I'd like to thank everybody for doing the ballot and stuff. Like I said, it's a great honor.

WAYNE HAGIN: Open up the floor to questions for Ken Griffey, Jr.

Q. Do you feel like you've taken a bad rap for not participating in the home run hitting contest?

WAYNE HAGIN: Do you think you've taken a bad rap for not participating in the home run hitting contest at Coors Field?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: It's a situation where, you know, I said a month ago that I wasn't going to do it. You know, I didn't make up -- I just said I wasn't going to do it. Now I have everybody telling me, you know, this is what everybody wants. Well, the last time I was here, I didn't get a ball out of the infield, couldn't get it up in the air. You know, it's a lot of things that went into this decision. I didn't make an excuse, I just said I wasn't going to do it a month ago.

Q. Can baseball, being the mind game that it is, can you afford in your pursuit to break the Maris record, to have the media become a part of that psyche?

WAYNE HAGIN: How will you handle the media on the assault on Roger Maris?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Same way I handle every situation, just 3 o'clock to 4:50, or whenever we stretch, I have to talk to you guys. Then once stretching starts until after the game, usually I don't talk to reporters or anybody. Then sometimes after the game, I just jet out before you guys get in there (laughter). I don't like to talk about myself. I learned that, too, at an early age. It's rather important to my family and I if someone talks about you, instead of saying, "I, I, I, I'm this, I'm that." It's tough for me to sit down and say, you know, "I've done this, I've done that."

Q. What sort of impact do you think somebody breaking Maris' record will have on baseball this year?

WAYNE HAGIN: What kind of impact, whoever breaks Roger Maris' record, will it have on baseball?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: A record that's 30 plus years. Obviously when it's broke, it's going to be big news. I happened to catch quite a bit of ESPN last night, conversation with Mac. They were talking about televising the games leading up to that. It's going to be big news. Whoever gets it, they deserve it.

Q. (Inaudible).

WAYNE HAGIN: How remarkable is it that Juan Gonzales has 101 RBIs at the All-Star break?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: It's not really Juan that's impressive, it's the guys in front of him. Those guys getting on base, being in scoring position, that's what is impressive about the whole thing. He's only had 26 home runs, but he's driven 101. The guys, one, two, and three, they're on base all the time.

Q. Is it better for you that most of the focus has been on McGwire this year?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: No, I don't really worry about it. I just want to go out there and help my team win. Whether that, laying down a bunt, hitting a run, hitting a home run. As long as we win, that's the most important thing.

Q. Because this game is in Coors Field and because of all the guys who are on the chase for Maris, I think a lot of fans are expecting a big home run shootout tomorrow. Would you like to see a game like that?

WAYNE HAGIN: Coors Field being a home run haven, do you think it will be that type of game? Would you like to see that as a player?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: The two pitchers that are starting tomorrow, I don't know if it's going to be a high-scoring game. May be a quick game. But hopefully it's a lot of fun. Hopefully the fans get what they want. Couple guys get some home runs.

Q. I was just wondering, anything significant about the Jay Buhner haircut?

WAYNE HAGIN: Anything significant about the Jay Buhner haircut?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Haircut, that was it.

WAYNE HAGIN: Any other questions for Ken Griffey?

Q. Who do you think would be a better left fielder, you or Kenny Lofton (laughter)?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: I've only played one inning left. We don't know. Doesn't really matter where I play. It's for the fans. I don't think they really worry about where you play. I think they really want you to hit.

WAYNE HAGIN: Time for one more question.

Q. You've been in the All-Star Game so many years now, a lot of players spend this time with family. If you weren't in the All-Star Classic, what would you be doing?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Well, let's see, what would I be doing if I weren't here? I don't know. Probably would be spending it with family. I mean, I've got my son here. I actually got my family here, so during these next three days, they do travel with me. They've been with their grandparents for 11 days now, so it's retraining at the house for me (laughter).

WAYNE HAGIN: Thank you.

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Thank you.

WAYNE HAGIN: Ken Griffey, Jr. That will conclude our Major League Baseball All-Star press conference. Thanks for coming. Have a great time in Colorado.

End of FastScripts….

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