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October 8, 1999

Roger Clemens

DALLAS, TEXAS: Workout Day

Q. Can you give kind of an overall self-assessment of your season so far ?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I think the season went by pretty quick, actually. There were times I feel the only disappointing thing that probably went on was when I hurt my leg earlier when it was cold. That was really the only setback and disappointment that I had. So -- hold on a minute. I think Skip said I was a shirt-and-tie guy. Let me fix this so I look -- how does that look with my blue? Skip said I was a shirt-and-tie-type guy; so I don't want to disappoint anybody.

Q. Roger, what does it mean to be wearing a Yankee uniform in a postseason game?

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it's everything we expected and very exciting. I think once I settled into the City and -- you know, I like to be pretty methodical about planning, having a routine, and once I settled in, it was great. And, you know, I think maybe about a week or two into spring training after some of the antics stopped, the guys made me feel real comfortable coming in there. Chuck and Derek, they did the thing with the catching gear earlier in the year and put the catching gear on, I guess, when I was throwing at them a few times. And -- so it was fun. It broke the ice. But to be here is what these guys expected wearing the pin stripes. The boss expects it, and he's always floating through the clubhouse every once in a while, especially of late, letting you now he wants you to get the job done. It's an important time of year.

Q. What did you expect, Roger, and were those expectations met?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah. I mean, the team is pretty much intact, and, you know, you expect to do well. I expect to do well every year, and I think each individual on this team expects to -- they expected to do extremely well, also. So not too many surprises, other than I think the first couple games what's been special. And when the games were close at one point, you know, Bernie's got hot, some guys have cut some balls off; made some key plays there. You know, those are important -- important plays when the games are tight. I think Game 1 was a situation where, who do you want to pitch around? Who do you want to get to? And I think El Duque, you know, he had maybe five or six walks. But in that situation, some of them were good walks, what you consider good walks. But I don't think you want to get in that situation too much with these Texas hitters. They're pretty dangerous.

Q. Roger, how much of a burning desire is it for you to get to the World Series? You've done everything else you could possibly want to. How badly do you want there?

ROGER CLEMENS: It's what we play for. It's what you play for. Again, I've pretty much accomplished just about anything you would want to accomplish in 16 years of doing this. You know, selfishly, I can sit here and say -- I have been to many playoffs; I have been to the World Series, and they're great experiences. They're fun. I played with and know guys that have spent at least as many years that I have, and they've never experienced one day of postseason play. So you sit there selfishly saying that, but it's just another great opportunity. That's the only way you can look at it. You know, it's exciting, especially, you know, when you play at home and you hear how everybody gets behind you, walking around town, even being here in Arlington for a day. You know, some of my roots are back at the University of Texas; so I have a lot of well-wishers and people coming from Austin, Houston, and so on, so forth. So it's going to be special.

Q. What have you learned about this team's attitude towards a killer instinct? Here you are, one game away from sweeping the Rangers.

ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I mean, it's -- you know, it's a team that most of the guys know their capabilities. I think relentless -- I don't know about -- "killer instinct" I think is strong, but relentless and never wanting to give up. You can be down three or four runs and the guys want to come back. They never feel they're beat. I don't know if I have been around so many guys collectively that are, you know, just beat themselves up and are hard on themselves as far as their game is concerned. I mean, you don't see guys giving away too many at-bats. When they do, you don't have to look any further than the dugout or water cooler and listen; something is being tore up. They're getting it out so they can maybe concentrate on their next at-bat or what have you. You definitely see that they care, and that's always nice to know. I mean, some guys, you never get a read on or never get a take on if it really bothers them deep down, if it really bothers them. So it's great to see. I mean, I don't think there's too many secrets. These guys, most of them, more than a handful of them, have been together for a while. And it's the same business: "Go get'em" work attitude that you've always seen.

Q. Do you have a healthy respect that their line-up could break out at any time, or does it give you a sense of extra confidence that they have been struggling?

ROGER CLEMENS: The only confidence you can take in each game, especially in a short series, is you have to be on top of your game and you have to pitch your game and be comfortable in that. And until they force you to change, then you have to make adjustments. And when you have to make adjustments, you have to do that quick with this line-up. They can get out there and do some things. But El Duque and Andy, they made some great pitches. I thought Helling was really sharp the other night with his control away. He's masterful on the outside corner, continued to cover that outside corner. And he's shown he can do that, and our guys tried to come up and make some adjustments and force him maybe to change. But you never take anybody lightly. Every start for me, in particular, all year, guys get up for it. So I can't -- I can't relax. I can't get complacent. So it's a playoff game, regular season game, you know, to me, they're all the same. I'll prepare the same way.

Q. When the Yankees traded for you, you said New York was where you had most wanted to go. It seemed like people in Houston and Dallas were surprised by that. How do you look at that misunderstanding, and did it cause any discomfort to you or relation -- is your situation different at all when you're in Texas at all?

ROGER CLEMENS: Not at all. And I think that, again, two years prior to -- I don't know that I want to go over it, but I'll clarify. Mr. Beeston and Mr. Steinbrenner both were involved. Mr. Beeston wanted out in that situation. I felt comfortable in that just like I did when Howard Ashman called and said he thought his best deal was with New York. So I knew that there were a handful of teams involved, and it seemed like each team was in the playoffs. Evidently, the deal was not made right with Texas or Houston. But that's just the way it was. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to New York. And for that situation to present itself again two years later was just great because, again, you knew what calibre of team is there, and to join those guys and have a chance to get back and play with guys that have been there and know what it's like, is just an outstanding feeling.

Q. The last time you were here, Roger, you gave up five runs in the 1st. You weren't really healthy. How is your leg, for one, and how do you feel you're throwing now?

ROGER CLEMENS: Last time here, yeah, I think I was doing all right. A little pain in my hamstring. Once I covered first that was it. I knew I pushed it and I was at the point where I knew I had strained it or had gone past what it was. The leg was definitely bothering me. At this point, I feel great. I think I've prepared well enough in between. I think I've thrown enough; so, you know, I won't be too alive in the strike zone, but I expect to have a little extra motion early, and hopefully be able to channel that in a good direction. But healthwise, I feel great and, you know, like I said, I think that I pitched quite a bit this year on six days' rest a lot of times; so this will be even more than that. So I just hope to be able to definitely channel a lot of the adrenaline I'm going to have and settle in and throw strikes and play our game.

Q. Roger, how much is it going to mean to you to pitch tomorrow, have a chance to complete a sweep in your home state?

ROGER CLEMENS: Any time you have a chance to win and close it out if you can is a great opportunity. And, you know, it's special for me because in talking to Joe and Mel early that pitching maybe in New York, I might not have had the opportunity for a lot of my siblings to see it live. As we speak, they're en route. So I've got some college teammates going to be in the area and I'm excited. I'm glad they're going to get to see this, and hopefully, it will all work out. We expect it to, but I'll go out there and leave it out on the field, and I hope that everything will be well. Like I said, I'm excited because they will get to see it, enjoy another big moment in my career personally. And, you know, they're excited about the Yankees, too. So I keep getting messages throughout the week about this is what we've all been waiting for, to go out there and get 'em. It's neat to hear those messages from everybody.

Q. Roger, where did you watch the game last night, and were you an active viewer in terms of getting one last chance to look at those guys?

ROGER CLEMENS: Yes. Saw every bit of the game and it's a little different. Obviously, what Andy is going to be able to do, I think it was most important that I watch El Duque, what he did in Game 1. And again, their location was outstanding. I think all three are important: Location, movement, velocity. You have all three going, you're going to have a good night. For the most part, our guys had all three working. And you're going to get tested in every game. I made that statement too. I don't care if you're throwing a no-hitter game, 250-strikeout game, one or two opportunities, you're going to have try get out of. Again, our guys were able to do that, and so again, I hope -- hopefully, the track record will take over, get out of certain type situations with little or no damage, and go from there.

Q. Roger, where was it that you watched it?

ROGER CLEMENS: I watched it hat two different places in my room.

End of FastScripts….

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