July 6, 1998
DENVER, COLORADO: Workout Day
Q. Can you give us a recap since we were getting interviews?
GEORGE BRETT: We won. We all had at least one home run on our team.
MODERATOR: The team of Costner, Grieve and Kingman.
TIM McGRAW: They were awful.
Q. George, what's it like to come back to an All-Star -- just being around the All-Star
Game and all the festivities?
GEORGE BRETT: Well, I played my first All-Star Game in '76. Then I played 13 straight
and hadn't been to one since. Back when I started playing in All-Star Games, they never
had the workout open to the public. It was for the media. I'm glad to see Major League
Baseball making a deal on this. The FanFest I thought was great. I was over there this
morning. Tomorrow I'm going over and playing catches, we throw the ball across Denver,
going to take part in that. Going to the gala tonight. It was really a lot of fun to come
back here and see some guys that I played against, compete against them again, put on a
uniform, 40,000 people in the stands, and go out there and try to perform. It got the
juices flowing again. It's been a long time since the juices flowed like that. It was a
lot of fun. Hopefully, they'll let us try to repeat next year. Travis won't be, because he
won't be a rookie anymore. Not only that, but I got a chance to meet this guy. I got a
chance to meet him (referring to Tim McGraw). I met Travis briefly before. Now I think I
have a new friend in life. It was a great experience for me.
Q. Did you ever have a hit off his dad?
GEORGE BRETT: I faced his dad. I might have got one off him. He was pretty tough on me
in the '80 World Series. Wasn't he?
TIM McGRAW: He was.
Q. George, after watching Travis swing a little bit, how would you analyze him, kind of
his hitting style?
GEORGE BRETT: Well, I think you swing a little different in the home run hitting
contest than you do in the regular season. I've been fortunate to watch him play. Saw him
play twice this summer in Arizona. One game I saw, it was when Ramon Martinez pitched. The
first guy up got a base hit, then retired the next 27 in a row.
TRAVIS LEE: Two sliders.
GEORGE BRETT: I've seen him play. He's a good hitter. He's going to be one of those
hitters that can hit over .300 consistently in the major leagues. 15, 20, 25 home runs,
driving 100 runs. There's no doubt in my mind that he has that capability.
Q. At what point did you know you wanted to be a singer as opposed to a baseball
TIM McGRAW: Probably as soon as I got out of high school and I went to college and
tried out. No, I was obviously involved in sports all my life. Thought that's what I
wanted to do. I was always a little small, so that always had a lot to do with it. I got a
guitar, started playing clubs in college, that's what I wanted to do, found my passion.
Q. George, did you know you were going to be as intense once you were in the box? Did
you have a sense it was going to be like that?
GEORGE BRETT: Surprisingly enough, it's a lot like baseball. Before I played every
game, I was scared to death. I was nervous every game I ever played. As soon as you get in
that batter's box, you just calm down. When we were taking swings in the cage before we
went out on the field and got our ten swings, I was nervous in the cage with all these
guys watching. Once I got out there and I got in that batter's box, all of a sudden it was
like, "I belong here, I belong in this batter's box." I just felt all the
confidence in the world. The first round, I swung the bat real good. The second round I
swung at two balls I shouldn't have swung at. Unfortunately didn't get any home runs.
Fortunately, the team really stunk it up good. It was a blast. It was so much fun.
Q. What is your impression of John Elway's swing?
GEORGE BRETT: Well, I got a chance to see John Elway play when he was in high school.
He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals. We were out playing the California Angels. The
Royals, what they would do, they would bring out their picks before they signed. John at
that time hadn't decided if he was going to go to Stanford to be a quarterback or if he
was going to play professional baseball. So they put him in my hitting group, along with
Jamie Quirk and Clint Hurdle, the three youngest guys on the team. They said, "Talk
this guy into playing baseball." We didn't do a very good job, thank God, because he
probably would have taken my job. He hit about six home runs that day in Anaheim Stadium.
He was taking groundballs with me at third base. I thought I had a pretty good arm, but
his balls were -- had a little more velocity on them, a little more zip. He had a chance.
I really think if John would have devoted himself to baseball, there's no doubt in my mind
he could have been a major league player. How good, I don't know. But he's a good enough
athlete. And a guy that is good of an athlete, playing baseball all through high school,
since he was eight or nine years old, could make the adjustment, I think, make it to the
major leagues. There's a little more pressure on John Elway in Denver than there was on
Q. What is your read on what the Marlins have been through this year? How does Major
League Baseball stand?
GEORGE BRETT: Well, my read is that Huizenga won a World Championship and then decided
they didn't want to lose any more money, regardless of winning the World Championship or
not. "I'm going to cut the payroll back and sell the team, get out before it breaks
me." That's basically it. That's what he did, isn't it?
Q. This is the 15th anniversary of the pine tar game. What are your memories?
MODERATOR: This is the 15th anniversary of the pine tar game. What are your most
physical memories of that day?
GEORGE BRETT: Probably the most physical is the choke hold Joe Brinkman had on me out
on the field. I remember sitting between Vida Blue and Pat Sheridan. There was a big
discussion going on on the field for ten minutes about my bat. I said to Vida and Pat, If
they call me out for using too much pine tar on my bat, I'll run out there and kill one of
those you know whats. As soon as I said that, Tim McLelland looks at me in the dugout.
"There you are, you're out." I run out of the dugout, we've all seen that. I get
out there, and I kind of forgot that Tim McLelland is six foot six. Obviously, I knew if I
hit an umpire with my fist I would be banned from baseball, so I wasn't going to do that.
When Joe Brinkman put the choke hold on me, then I was just trying to get away. It looks a
lot worse than it really was. To be honest with you, for the next five or six minutes
after we got in the locker room, I mean, I was pretty frustrated. I think everybody on our
team was. But by the time we got on the team bus, we were laughing about it.
Q. When you look back at it now, when you see the tape now, what do you think?
GEORGE BRETT: I laugh. I laugh. I ended up getting a promotion out of it. Did a
promotion for Emory Air Freight. They shipped my bat from New York to Detroit five or six
day later. Emory Air Freight says, "We could do a commercial with this." I did a
commercial and made 100 grand. It wasn't a bad deal.
Q. Your thoughts on the Hall of Fame with next year's class?
GEORGE BRETT: I've got my fingers crossed. I played 20 years. I gave baseball
everything I had for 20 years. I had a lot of fun, played on some great teams. If that's
enough to get in my statistics, then I'll be very happy. If not, maybe I should have
played another year or two. But the class is very crowded right now. Nolan Ryan I think is
the guy that's a shoe-in. Robin Yount, myself, Carlton Fisk. I think Dale Murphy is also
eligible. There is going to be some disappointment felt by some people; hopefully I'm not
one of them. I got my fingers crossed and hopefully things will work out for me.
Q. Would you be disappointed if you're not in the first ballot?
GEORGE BRETT: I don't know. Will I be disappointed if it rains tomorrow in Kansas City
when I'm flying home, or tomorrow during the game? I don't know. I really don't know how
I'll react. It's like when you get three thousand hits, everybody says, "What are you
going to do when you get three thousand hits?" I said, "I don't know." When
you get three thousand hits, you just react. I think I'll react that day, this December or
January when they make the announcement. I'll react accordingly to how I feel. How I feel
obviously is if I'm in or if I'm out. A lot of people are confident that I'm going to go
sometime. Obviously, you don't want to prolong this. You want to kind of get it over with,
not keep going year in and year out with it. I've got my fingers crossed. Hopefully I've
accomplished enough in my career, and haven't stepped on the media's toes too much.
Q. So many homers being hit now in the game of baseball, is it great?
MODERATOR: Last question. Too many homers being hit?
GEORGE BRETT: How many homers did you hit?
TRAVIS LEE: Seven.
GEORGE BRETT: There's not enough. I love home runs. I think home runs are great. You've
got to realize, and I'm tired about hearing about expansion pitching, tired of hearing
about the ball is juiced up and the stadiums are smaller. How about the athletes are
stronger? Give the athletes some credit one time. These guys are strong. These guys work
out year-round. Every team has strength and conditioning coaches. They're lifting weights.
We didn't lift weights when I played. Weights were a no-no. If somebody lifted weights,
the coach or manage would tell them, "Don't do that, you'll get too tight, not be
able to throw." These guys are not only lifting weights and getting stronger, they're
also increasing their flexibility. I think the more home runs are a combination of the
three things I said. I think the most important thing is that the hitters are stronger and
are better. Athletes are better today than they were 50 years ago, in my opinion. I hope
these guys are saying that 20 years from now when Travis is here as the old-timer doing
the home run hitting contest. "Hey, man, these guys are a lot stronger than when I
played." These guys are strong. I think that's where a lot of credit should go.
End of FastScripts