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July 12, 1999

Jeromy Burnitz

Mark McGwire

Sammy Sosa


Q. Mark, talk about that very impressive first round you had, and the groove you were in?

MARK McGWIRE: It was a matter of getting pitches to hit. People think getting home runs is easy, it's not. It's getting a good swing and driving it. He was throwing where I liked it. The second round I probably was trying a little too hard. I was pleased after last year.

Q. For all you guys, how surprising was it in the finals there were two lefties, with so much attention to that leftfield wall?

MARK McGWIRE: I think people make a big deal about the wall. It doesn't matter if you're right-handed or left-handed, you saw Griffey hitting balls, it's all about getting pitches to hit.

Q. Mark, when you get in a groove like that, the place is going crazy, is it a lot of fun?

MARK McGWIRE: Yeah. Boston was the first place when I was in Oakland that it kind of -- BP became a spectacle, they came out and watched Jose and myself take batting practice. This was the only field doing it. But now it's a big thing to watch. Boston fans are knowledgeable, and they showed it tonight.

Q. As confident as you were in yourself, did that display maybe even surprise you of what you are capable of, or are you confident that's what you're capable of?

MARK McGWIRE: If you get balls to hit. My swing with a little upper cut, I'm capable of doing that.

Q. Sammy, your thoughts on your night out there, disappointment, happy you were here, having fun?

SAMMY SOSA: I'm happy to be here, I'm not disappointed, everybody knows, pretty much I'm happy to be here. So it was pretty good.

Q. When you look back on your first Home Run Derby since you were injured last year, what are you going to tell people?

SAMMY SOSA: Well, I only hit one. I got one, and pretty much I'm not too good hitting BP.

MARK McGWIRE: He's pretty good hitting during the game.

Q. Have you ever hit one over the light tower, hit one that high up on the light tower?

MARK McGWIRE: Possibly, I don't know. I don't really remember things during batting practice. But obviously today everybody will be talking about it.

Q. Jeromy, what do you think about sitting next to these guys?

JEROMY BURNITZ: Best show on earth, watching Mark and Sammy hit. He does that kind of stuff -- I know you probably have seen it. Every BP that I've seen that's what it pretty much looks like.

Q. Jeromy, you said this afternoon you're pumped up to be here. Did you expect to be in the finals?

JEROMY BURNITZ: No, not at all. I didn't expect it. Leading up to this, once I found out I was in it I was ten times more nervous for this than the game. And once we got out there, it was a different story. I had a good time. I was very relaxed. It was a lot of fun.

Q. Sammy, when you talk about the fun you have here, more important than the home runs is just being able to share time with some of the other great players in the game?

SAMMY SOSA: Definitely to be here and spend time with Mark, about a month or two we haven't seen each other and Burnitz. It's a great time. A lot of people probably want to -- for myself I like to be around those players.

Q. Mark, in the first round did you sit back and say wow?

MARK McGWIRE: I was enjoying it just like everybody else was. I was having fun. I love doing these things. Earlier in my career, when I didn't accept myself as a home run hitter, I didn't like doing these things. But now I enjoy them. I think sometimes it's better than the game, because I really haven't had a great All-Star Game, but I enjoy the Home Run Contest.

Q. Can you talk about the evolution of this Home Run Derby and the attention it's gotten now?

MARK McGWIRE: I think it's gotten really big, look at the ads they've been running the last month and a half on TV. It's prime time, it was live. Most of the stuff has been taped. It's been great. The home run has really taken over the country. And not everybody can do it in the game of baseball, that's why I think everybody enjoys watching it.

Q. Mark, you're coming on now as far as your home runs during the season, is it possible that you and Sammy and a few other people might be in pursuit of where you guys were at last year?

MARK McGWIRE: No, I don't think that pursuit will happen in our lifetime. We were talking about it earlier, someone will probably hit 60 again, but the number 70, I don't think that's going to be touched in our lifetime.

Q. Why is that?

MARK McGWIRE: You've got to be well over 40 home runs by the All-Star break to have a chance, and that's pretty much unheard of.

Q. Your thoughts on Fenway Park.

MARK McGWIRE: It's a great place. It's baseball, and it's going to be sad to think that they're going to have to make a new one here. It's hard to think that they can't just redo this in a way where they can make it more comfortable, more stands here. I thought they should shut down Lansdowne Street and put bleachers out there.

Q. If you had won, would you have given it back?

JEROMY BURNITZ: That's two to mine, one to his. If it was coming down to me and him, I was going to pretty much shut it down (laughter.)

Q. Would you talk about being a player who was not thought of as being a player for a long time. And how you feel sitting next to two great players now?

JEROMY BURNITZ: I think full circle is a great way to put it. It was four years ago when I was back in Triple-A and struggling, not even doing that great in the Triple-A level. To be here right now, I think it's going to be after this season, where I look back at this and get a big smile on my face, because this is -- it's unreal. I'm as pleased as I can be.

Q. Mark, you beat the American League by yourself, what kind of bragging rights does it give you and what does it say about the National League?

MARK McGWIRE: We all have fun, nobody is really going to remember this starting tomorrow when we play the game. So it's something both sides have fun, and take it from there.

Q. Jeromy, did you feel like Rocky going into the last round considering Griff's home run prowess?

JEROMY BURNITZ: I pretty much knew I was going to lose (laughter.) I mean he got down to like one or two outs to stay in the round and then hit a bunch. You're talking about guys that can do it at will. And when he had to, he did it. And he does that quite often.

Q. What about for each one of you, how about thinking about hitting one when it counts tomorrow, is that more important than any of this stuff?

MARK McGWIRE: I'd love to. I'd love to hit a ball hard in the All-Star Game, yeah, that would be nice.

SAMMY SOSA: Pretty much the same. I think tomorrow -- we know we're going to be facing Pedro Martinez, but we have to do our job. No matter who is up there, I believe in myself.

JEROMY BURNITZ: I think anytime you can do something that counts for the team and the game, it's a better feeling than any show. So it is definitely a good feeling.

End of FastScripts….

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