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October 15, 2001

Roger Clemens


Q. Was it the socks?

ROGER CLEMENS: I guess it was the socks and the pants, that was for Duque, who gave me the opportunity again. I would have worn Andy and Mike's jersey if I could. I told them thanks for the opportunity, I wrote their numbers in my hat and I went ahead and hiked the pants up for El Duque, just to have the opportunity. A little strange coming out of the weight room and loosening up, but after I got outside, I didn't really think about it.

Q. You've been here for your share of emotional nights at the stadium, could you tell us where this ranks?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I mean, where do you start, as far as thanking people, and just have having the opportunity to go out there tonight, what the medical staff did to get me ready, to give me the opportunity, the treatment we have been doing. Our crowd was unbelievable. That's something that -- again, reminds you as a player why you're so fortunate to be in a venue like this. It was incredible, every time I got two strikes, the emotions they gave me. Especially, you know, again our fans, the city, everything that the city has gone through, and our fans have gone through, just to give them the opportunity to have something to cheer about was just a joy. But I can't thank them enough. They were so loud, it was incredible. Again, it just reminds you, and I knew they would be ready tonight, too, like our guys. But just real thankful. Again, El Duque got us here, makes you wonder. And he pitched a great game, just to have the opportunity. Before the game Skip and Mel grabbed me in the doctor's office, and we almost were chewing each other out, but I just told him, I'd be honest with him and let him know and they hit a couple good splits. Shoot, I should have just given my entire hat to the A's team, they came at me. They came at me hard, and they were awesome. It was just fun, Jason was -- every time he comes to the plate, just the challenges and the battles. I mean, I threw him everything I had tonight. They were awesome. For our guys to battle back, we had a couple opportunities in that game that I thought we were going to break it open and I would be afforded maybe to cruise a little bit and not push as hard on this leg. Unfortunately, the ball came up the middle and Jeter made a great play on that one. Also, him going into the stands was incredible. I mean, it's hard to put into words. For us being backed in a corner, to come out -- like you said, I guess it was pretty emotional.

Q. Would you consider this the most important start of your career?

ROGER CLEMENS: I think it was. I think, again, I've got to thank Mel and Skip. Again, Joe's encouraging words before I went out there in the office; that he gave me the opportunity. That's what I told him. "I've come too far and I've worked too hard to not make the appearance and try to do what I need to do." If I was not able to make that start because of this leg, would I have felt like I let a lot of guys down in that clubhouse. Then once I knew that -- I told Jorge, once I had a good fastball, I was just going to have to go with it and continue to challenge guys, and they came at me hard. But the velocity was there last time also. The movement was good again tonight. The only thing that suffered a little bit -- when I got ahead, to pitch a guy on a corner somewhere and try to put him away in that manner. But we're glad we're moving on, and we're fortunate to be doing so, so it's a nice feeling.

Q. How much did it take?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it was kind of one-sided. Joe just put it to me point blank. Mel and I had already talked about it during my workout in Oakland; that we were going to go pedal to the medal, and if it goes in the bullpen, it goes. I've got plenty of help, a lot of help out there tonight. Think everybody had their spikes on, every pitcher. So we knew we had a lot of help. You know, Joe put it to me point blank, and I just wanted to reassure him that's what I was going to do, and I wasn't going to try to leave anything in there and if it went, it went. It was a blessing. I think around the fourth inning it started to get heavy. It never had that biting feeling I had prior. Again, a lot of thanks to the medical staff. They have been working hard trying to get this thing ready so, it was nice, to even do what I did.

Q. You're an emotional pitcher to begin with. Having Mike, Andy, El Duque out there, does it change your emotions even greater?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, you don't have to pace yourself, again with our great bullpen. And like I said, everybody had their spikes on and knowing those guys were out there, too, it even adds -- it's even -- don't think for a minute I saw Andy with his spikes on while I was warming up. He was sitting in the bullpen and I realized that fact. I knew I had to go hard from the get-go and make it as best as I could, because I've got those two, Mel and Skip, and they were watching me. If they were -- I knew they would come and get they quicker than they did but give credit to the guys, they battled so hard, once we got the lead against this team, against Oakland, we had to preserve it and hang on it. So we were fortunate that we did.

End of FastScripts....

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