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October 3, 2003

Roger Clemens


Q. You've talked a lot this year about taking things in; will you allow yourself to do that tomorrow?

ROGER CLEMENS: Not much tomorrow probably. It's a little different scenario now because you know how important everything is and how final everything is. I know the surroundings, I know the building, the stadium well enough. I've been doing it long enough here, too. I won't look around too much once we get close to game time.

Q. Mel said that he's noticed over the years with the club that you've taken more and more of a vocal leadership role but that this year he's really especially noticed it since spring training, going all the way to the other day when you spoke at the team meeting. How much are you conscious of that, how much have you done that intentionally and how much do you enjoy doing that with the guys?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I think it's -- I don't know if it's because I'm retiring, but I think the guys are coming to me more. They are asking me more questions. They are asking questions that have a lot of information on the tail end of it, where I think I can give that. You've got to be real careful. You have a lot of guys that are professionals, you have to be careful what you share because it could be too much information. When they come to you, and ask certain things, whether it be Moose wanting to know more about a split finger or some suggestions -- Andy and I talk all the time because we work out, but it's mainly about focus. Andy really wanted to take his focus and his approach to a different level and we started that a long time ago. It mainly comes from their questions.

Q. What do you remember from your first Major League victory; I think it was here?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't remember a lot, other than I know I got it here. I haven't reviewed it. Those are things will I think about when I have more time on my hands, I will do more of. But I do obviously remember getting my first victory here.

Q. What's the loudest environment you've ever pitched in, and do you plan to do anything tomorrow to block out the noise?

ROGER CLEMENS: What? What? (Laughter.) I don't think I was working -- the loudest that I have heard it -- when you're out there you really don't hear it and it really doesn't play a part. But I think the loudest, because I was on the sidelines, was Game 4 and 5 in 2001 when we made the comeback and the late rallies in those games at Yankee Stadium. That's probably the loudest, where you could feel it like a face in your chest, it was loud. I think that was probably it. Those two games were very loud. And I think most of you know, I was here yesterday, so I was calling friends that I had left tickets for and a few e-mails here and there. It was exciting to know -- and I could pretty much hear the crowd on TV last night. It seemed like we had our old crowd back, maybe because it was a night game, but it was loud.

Q. When you got your ring, veterans helped carry you to that mountain top, do you feel that you have to pass that along and talk about the burden of getting these guys their ring?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, I mean, you want to them to get a ring. It's easier said than done. You want them to help you get a ring, but I had a great deal of help in these guys. I didn't walk into it; I had to earn it. You can win, you can earn an opportunity with those rings, but you have to do it and it takes everybody involved. I think that you can long for one, you can want one for a long time, and I was never envious of that. I thought it was great. I tried to watch out for all of the people close together, because you have something in common, you have a bond. And that's why I made the statement in '99, now I know what it feels like to be a Yankee, you're part of that championship. You cannot only play for the Yankees, part of their teams, part of their great teams, but you are part of a World Championship team. To be able to back that up the following year is great. That was my main purpose, to really get back here. Obviously, I had a lot of close friends; Mel. I felt I owed it to Mel because of how sick he was. Couldn't even shake hands with him in the parking lot, he had the gloves on when he was sick and you couldn't even get around to him, couldn't talk to him on the phone. That's one of the things I was thinking about when I was trying to sign back.

Q. Has it crossed your mind even once that this might be your last Major League start?

ROGER CLEMENS: I haven't thought of it that way. Today is a day of planning and getting things in order for me. I haven't really reflected on that. I always think positive, so I'm going to think that we are going to win, but I know at some point this season, it will be. But hopefully it's not tomorrow.

Q. You might not know the answer till this winter but do you have a gut feeling on what you're going to miss the most?

ROGER CLEMENS: I think I'll miss the competition. I like to compete. I like to challenge guys, whether I'm facing them or they are alongside of me, whether it's a workout in the afternoon, after off-season in the afternoon, just challenging guys. Like to find out about people's character as well as my own. Even at my age and everything that I've accomplished, everything still becomes a challenge. Sometimes it's more of a burden because it's work. It's a little more work, and it's how your body feels after. I just think that -- I'll still be around the guys, I'll still be around the game enough to try and cut up with them and do that, do those types of things, but the competition, I will miss. I will miss trying to get out of jams. Those are great challenges when you're out there doing it.

Q. Have you spoken to any friends of yours, retired pitchers about how to handle the transition, handle that first year out of the game?

ROGER CLEMENS: I make the transition every time I go home. So it doesn't take you any more to realize what life is when you go to my house and you're there with the car keys and you walk through the door on an off-day and you have the kids carpool line that afternoon. I enjoy that. The game that I play and what it's made me, it's not -- it's what I do. It's not who I am and I would think a lot of y'all figured that out over the years that you've been able to cover me. I think the times that people have gotten too close, I will clam up and try to get some of my privacy back, my personal thoughts. The ones that have taken the time to get to know me and do the human interest stories, it's boring. I think it's boring because it's not what anyone else in this room probably does, but when I step out on the team bus tomorrow, then that's when I'm going to bring what I have to offer to this team and what I do. That's when it will turn for the serious a little bit. Everything will be a little more serious, and that's the way I've approached it in my 20 years. So that won't change. How I try to break down a hitter won't change, just depends how the game is going, how my stuff is. So I would think that that would be the only other thing at home is that I won't have to sit and watch the clock all the time that I have to be here for this time and I have to be here for stretching. I'll probably hide my clock for the first two months when I go home, try to get rid of it if I can. But that might be a stretch, too, because the ones who know me know I like to have a plan. I like to have a schedule. So we'll see.

Q. Just to follow up your thoughts about missing the competition, how will you satisfy that hunger for competition; will you coach, maybe play competitive golf or something like that?

ROGER CLEMENS: Oh, definitely. I enjoy my quiet time when we hunt in south Texas. Yes, I definitely enjoy playing in the fun tournaments, I do. Really, some of the tournaments really help us raise money for charity, not only my own but other ones. I'm sure I'll get into that a little more. I'll be around the kids. I would like to coach kids. If I had the opportunity to come work for the Yankees at spring training, I'll work. I don't want a job that they just hands out to you and you show up. I want to work with some kids and find out, you know -- I like to find out about people's character and their makeup and their different personalities. I really enjoy that, even on the high school level, with my son's teams. Because they have the same anxiety that anyone does; it's just on a different level. I can remember way back when, high school, my first year of college when I had an opportunity to talk to someone like Nolan or I think there was a strike or something because he and Terry Puhl were working out at high school and it was just a neat experience to see these guys working out at your high school and with guys at that level. Joe Sambino, we became great friends at that point long before I had a professional career. I would expect I will be doing a lot of things like that to be happening.

End of FastScripts...

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