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October 6, 2000

Roger Clemens


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Roger.

Q. Joe said when you set the bar as high as you have in your career that sometimes expectations can be hard to meet. Do you think that's true?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, yeah. I think I have high standards for how I'm supposed to perform, and a lot of the guys in this clubhouse that I perform with on this team have the same expectations. So personally, yeah, I expect to win and succeed and get better each time out, and yeah, I set it pretty high. I don't know why you wouldn't. If I didn't, I'd feel I'm wasting my time around here.

Q. What is your impression of two young guys like Hudson and Zito coming into this park to pitch a post-season game? Can you put yourself in that position? How do you think they're going to respond?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I think we'll just see what happens early. I think if they can channel their emotions early, it will help them. I think that's a question that you might want to ask them not even maybe tomorrow or the next day but maybe a couple weeks down the road to see how they feel at that time, or how they absorbed everything. My first couple go-arounds at post-season play, everything went by so fast. I really didn't have a chance to enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. But it will be a great experience, obviously, on this stage with all the Yankee fans that are going to be here, it's going to be -- emotions will be running high.

Q. What are your thoughts on pitching on three days' rest? Did you have to do anything differently in between? Do you approach things differently tomorrow?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, yesterday was the important day for me to make sure that I had everything out of my system as far as any soreness or anything like that. So I had a good workday yesterday. They're expecting the weather to get a little cooler, and this time of year, it's pretty easy to call on adrenaline and emotions and I don't care, like you said, you were talking about the younger pitchers with less experience, you just have to be able to channel it, even in my situation. I'll go out there and try and do too much at times. But if I'm on, I'll be aggressive. If I'm not, I'll make adjustments accordingly to try and get their batters out. And just looking for a good slot for our hitters, get in a good slot while they're here at home with the background they're used to and the setting that they're used to. It will be great for them.

Q. Joe said you said to him you thought you're better on three days' rest rather than an extra day's rest, why?

ROGER CLEMENS: I'm too strong with six days, I know that. I'll find out. In three days I haven't done a lot but I've been in position to do it and I've aborted it a couple times where I hadn't had to go out there and do it. So with five full days' rest, you're pitching on your sixth day, I'm always going to be too strong. So I'll take a longer bullpen usually and try and warm up and get some of the strength out and go from there. So I expect to be sharp and if I'm not, I'll find a way to get somebody out.

Q. When Joe tells you you're going to go on three days, he wants you to pitch two games, is there a part inside of you that says, "This is what it's all about"?

ROGER CLEMENS: You just know what you have to do, they tell you in advance and it gives you an opportunity to prepare in between. You've seen situations where they go to guys the night before or you come to the ballpark and you got to -- if you skipped your bullpen because somebody was hurt and you're aware of those situations where there's been times where I've been on alert that if a guy's elbow is not right, he's going to warm up. If he can't go, you're going to go one day sooner. I've played long enough to be in all of those situations. So we had heard talk about that they were going to go with three of us right now so we were prepared for that. Joe's great at it. He has obviously a real calm nature at it, but yet real determined when he tells you matter-of-fact. This is what he expects you to do and you try and go out and do it.

Q. In your experience do you find that facing the same line-up in just a couple of days is an advantage for you or maybe the line-up hasn't seen you?

ROGER CLEMENS: I don't know. I think that there are some advantages. I thought I was pretty crisp out there. So I don't know that I'll change a lot. One or two balls that, again, I'd like to have back in that first game, a couple splitters that didn't do much, they were just a mediocre fastball, 85, 87 miles an hour. A few locations on the fastball. But when I'm turning it loose like I am, sometimes I'm going to miss 8, 9 inches and the difference will be in middle in or middle away and give a guy that's late a chance to shoot the ball the other way. So I've been looking at some tapes. I did miss on a couple locations, a couple of them it was good I missed because they ended up getting a ground ball and double play. A couple other ones, they used my power to get the ball out on some of our guys quicker. When I pitch, it's just -- especially obviously when we are not playing on turf, but when we are, the ball gets on guys real quickly. The line drive that was hit to Paul, I thought he was going to have a chance to quick catch it. It got out there so fast, it was cutting away from him. But the game's a little quicker. Again, I don't know how my velocity is going to be until I warm up, if it's exceptional or not good enough. If it's not exceptional, I'll make it good enough. If I have to expand the zone a little bit, east or west, north or south, I'll have to do it. So I'll find out and I'll know more tomorrow.

Q. When you go back to that meeting with Joe, if he were of a different personality, not so matter-of-fact, would you have tried to change his mind? He said you didn't say anything. You didn't try to argue.

ROGER CLEMENS: I'm prepared to pitch. I want to pitch. He's (inaudible). He's been pretty good about us putting on slots for the time that I've been here and prior to that. So that's just out of respect. I mean you're supposed to be ready. I'll pitch today if he asked me to pitch today. I just need to know so I don't get myself in between and tire myself so I can take, at this time of the year, what I need to take out to the mound and not leave it in the weight room or out there on the running track or wherever we're doing our work. But when your manager comes to you and he wants you to play or he wants you to sit or he wants you to go stand in the corner, you're going to do it. It's just out of respect for Joe; he's our manager.

Q. Is it more so with him?

ROGER CLEMENS: I try to do -- that's respect for the position. I wouldn't want to be a manager in the Major Leagues. It's just too much going on, there's so many different personalties and stuff. So in turn your job is to respect that position and do what you have to do. I don't think that I've ever waivered from that since I've been playing. That started a long time ago, before I started playing professional baseball, just respect for the position.

Q. Do you take anything away from Andy's performance and try to incorporate it into what you want to do tomorrow night?

ROGER CLEMENS: No, I mean I've -- I can't take much from -- Andy's got some obviously different pitches and works the zone in a different area. The only thing I told him after I pitched that evening, I grabbed him, pulled him aside and told him he was going to have a good time with these guys. He needs to pitch just like he was, he's going to be fine. There's a lot of guys leaning over and doing some things that I felt he was able to get the ball in on them extremely well. So I'll see if -- a little bit tonight from El Duque, I'll go inside and see where guys are standing and different things like that, watch some tape from the first game and some prior games.

Q. Last year you won Game 4 of the World Series, they looked on you to go out there and win it. A lot of people didn't know what you were going to do. You really stepped it up. If El Duque wins, you're in a big position to win a series for the New York Yankees. You do get more intense in those situations, don't you?

ROGER CLEMENS: I won't be any more intense tomorrow than I was out there. I mean, I'm going to try to do my very best. I'm hoping that will be good enough. I won't deviate from my game plan, our game plan, what George and I are going to go over, until we have to. If they force us to change, then we'll make adjustments and continue to make adjustments and give us a chance to win, keep us in the game. I don't put -- I don't make one game, because it's a Game 1 or a Game 4 or a game in July any different than today. I'm going to go out there and pitch and be ready to go. I mean, I treasure them. They're all precious to me because I don't know how many more I'm going to go out there and do. Like I've told some other people, what once was my work has become my passion now. I enjoy doing it.

Q. Going back to the time with Joe, the reason I was asking, you've also demanded that kind of respect, you've won five Cy Youngs. I would think if you said, "I'm not comfortable with three days rest," someone would listen to that. You didn't do that at all according to Joe. Is it just, "I do what I'm told," is it that simple?

ROGER CLEMENS: The awards are great, but I don't think that carries a lot of merit here. I don't care -- in certain situations, I think if you're around here a lot and you come into this clubhouse, you're going to get on the same page, whatever, whoever you are. If I was ailing, I mean Joe's came and tracked me down in the middle of games when he knew my legs were ailing and I was out there battling and nobody else knows, I don't care for anybody else to know because then the other team knows and you're a wounded animal. If I had tendinitis in my elbow or shoulder, whether I've had in the past, I still feel I can pitch that way. I think he'd be aware of that but he knows I'm strong, healthy. That would be the only conversation we would have.

Q. It's been a long time between pregames and after wins. Even though you guys have won so much, even before you got here last year, winning all the clutch games you have, is there more bounce in your step in the pregames?

ROGER CLEMENS: I think the guys tried to enjoy the day off a little bit. Just to be back at home, in our familiar surroundings, nothing's going to come easy. We know that no one -- the three-peat and everything that everyone's talked about. The word that everybody used, Skip uses -- he asked Jorge to repeat it, is the big grind. We're grinding as hard as we can right now. I don't think that will ever change. This time of year, I think the guys that are tired, or if you're tired, you definitely give it a little refreshment and it's good to be playing this time of year. Again, I don't have any problem if it gets extremely cold tomorrow. I won't mind that at all.

End of FastScripts....

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