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October 17, 1997

Orel Hershiser


Q. How much is it a benefit to have pitched in World Series games before and now starting the first game of the World Series?

OREL HERSHISER: Well, I think experience is important, because it relieves the surprise and the emotion and just the newness of the whole situation. There's nothing really that can happen that's going to surprise me or the other guys that have World Series experience. I think dealing with all the hype and not getting the adrenaline kicking too soon and just treating this as kind of normal because you know what to expect is the nice part of it. This is all very, very exciting and it's great to be here, but you have to discipline yourself to stay calm and to go about your normal routines.

Q. Can you envision what it would have been like to start as a rookie in the World Series?

OREL HERSHISER: Well, I wouldn't have been 21 or 22, I would have been 24 or 25, so there would be an age difference. But I think to start as a rookie would be different. It would be really exciting. I think that you can lose the rookie jitters real quick, though, if you have some easy first few innings, and you get confidence, because success breeds confidence. And a little success goes a long way in big games.

Q. Orel, you pitched pretty well your last two times, can you talk to us about how you're feeling?

OREL HERSHISER: Yeah, I'd like to throw the ball the way I have the whole playoffs, even the outing that I had, the first one in New York I thought I threw the ball well. The next few have been very solid and I've had good stuff and good location. And I would just like to be able to throw the way I did against Baltimore and Mussina. That was a great game. It was a lot of fun. And I don't think I'm going to get shadows at 8 o'clock at night. But I'll take the stuff.

Q. Orel, what do you remember about the first time ever being here against the Marlins?

OREL HERSHISER: I remember Charlie Hough throwing a great game, and the adrenaline rushing through everyone's body and that hurt us against the knuckleball and the adrenaline rushing through the Marlins body helped them with the fastball. Because I was over throwing, I had great velocity but not much movement. It was a very exciting day. I know I'm up there in their trophy case, up there as the losing pitcher, I'm part of the Marlins especially famous losing pitcher.

Q. What do you perceive as the strike zones between the two leagues?

OREL HERSHISER: Well, I don't think I perceive anything different than anyone else. I think that people think that the National League strike zone might be a little bit wider. I think that the game in the National League seems to move a long a little quicker, possibly because the strike zone is a little bigger, possibly because the pitcher is in the 9th hole, possibly because of the configuration of the ballpark. I would never blame that just on the strike zone. That's a very hard question to answer candidly in this situation.

Q. Orel, I know during Inter League play you enjoyed hitting and getting ready for it, what are you thinking now?

OREL HERSHISER: Well, I'm looking forward to getting up to the plate and getting my cuts in, hopefully I'll be in a bunting situation, because that will be a very positive offensive situation for us, but if I have to hit with 2 out and nobody on, I've never hit a homerun in the big leagues, that's what my boy cried about, you'll never hit a homerun ball, dad.

Q. Orel, during the American League Championship Series, Davey Johnson talked about how he felt, perhaps you put water on the baseball, can you comment on that?

OREL HERSHISER: Well, I think Davey is very good at gamesmanship. I was accused of that in '88 when we played the Mets. I've been accused of that only when I have good outings. I've never been accused of it when I get bombed. I think it's gamesmanship. There's one thing about rubbing up a baseball that everybody's allowed to go to their mouth off the dirt and rub up the baseball, and I do that. And by the time you get back up on the rubber and you deliver the ball there's no moisture on your hands. So I have no problem with being accused of that. The biggest problem I have with that is when you know you don't cheat but you know you have a position in society or this culture as a role model, I feel sorry for the kids that see us that way when we are playing adult games with adult gamesmanship and just trying to get under each others' skin, but the 12 year old doesn't understand those concepts all the time. And I don't want those kids at home to think one of their heroes, or if I am, is a cheater, because I don't cheat. But I don't mind the gamesmanship in the interview room and trying to do a managerial technique. But that's the only thing I would be depressed about as far as that.

Q. Along similar lines, what do you make of Chad Ogea's comments?

OREL HERSHISER: Chad made a mistake. He was trying to play you guys as just to play it off and that was his way of saying, of course everybody does, kind of thing. And what happened was is that I then avoided the media for a day and a half on purpose, because I didn't want to put Chad in the hot seat because he was pitching the next day. With Chad pitching the next day there was no reason I wanted to respond and have him get up the next morning seeing me contradicting his statement, contradicting Davey Johnson and he was in hot water. I wanted him to think about pitching. I just stayed in the training room and stayed away from everybody, because I had no real way to respond to it and keep Chad out of the loop. So I wasn't avoiding anybody because I thought I was cheating and needed to hide something, I was avoiding the story to get it calmed down so Chad didn't have to read about it.

Q. Orel, has your personal relationship with Davey changed?

OREL HERSHISER: No, he puts Vaseline on his golf balls so it won't curve.

Q. Much has been made about Sandy's offensive abilities, can you talk about his ability to handle pitching staff this year?

OREL HERSHISER: Sandy Alomar is an outstanding all around catcher and he's never really gotten enough credit for how he handles pitchers because his offensive output has been a huge part of his game. If he had no bat or hit .220 and you just saw his arm and his game calling abilities they would be getting more prowess. Everybody thinks he must not do everything well. Well, he does do everything well. The other thing that happened that hurt him as far as people thinking about his game calling ability was that Dennis Martinez and Tony Pena had such a close relationship that it looked like Dennis chose Tony to catch him because Sandy was no good. That was not the case, but Tony and Dennis hit it off well. That was a good time for Grover to give him a day off. So instead of doing a day game after a night game, he did it on the days Dennis pitched. And it changed their playing time for them.

Q. What is it like to play the so-called fall classic in the subtropics?

OREL HERSHISER: Well, I think the interesting thing about this World Series is there's not quite as much history, we're writing history instead of reliving history. A lot of places the Dodgers, Oakland series, I guess there was a little history there. But it's not the kind I grew up or you grew up with because you think of the Dodger, Yankees and Cincinnati, the Boston teams. When you come to the World Series you think of baseball, apple pie and history. The Marlins are writing their history. That's different for a World Series atmosphere. I welcome the humidity and the 70 degrees.

End of FastScripts….

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