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July 11, 1999

Matt Damon

Steve Garvey

Jim Rice


Q. When are you going to be back in the line-up with the Red Sox?

JIM RICE: Not any time soon.

Q. Look like you never missed a beat out there.

JIM RICE: It was different. Brought back memories, and of course, seeing the fans, and being on the field in front of the fans, and to be part of the All-Star Game, and having the celebrities that you have, and the players that you have, it was a victory.

Q. Matt, how did that compare to winning an Oscar?

MATT DAMON: A very different feeling, but there really isn't any comparison for me. This is it. (Laughter.)

Q. Matt, can you describe the feelings, were you nervous, anxious?

MATT DAMON: I was really nervous, I was nervous that I was going to be nervous, but when I got up there I was just so excited. I probably would have done a lot better if I relaxed, but it's hard to relax under those circumstances, and I kept saying to myself, I'm swinging at Fenway Park, this is unbelievable.

Q. How many times in the backyards of Cambridge did you dream about this?

MATT DAMON: My whole life. Every kid around here, every single kid around here grows up wishing they could swing the bat once, and I got to swing it 14 times. It was great.

Q. Mr. Garvey, were you intimidated by that leftfield wall? I don't believe you've ever played here.

STEVE GARVEY: As you see, my swing didn't play at all, it was just like playing at Wrigley, just keep the same swing, and if not you try to hit the ball out and all of a sudden you're in Pittsburg and St. Louis, and you're hitting the long balls to the warning track. I'm happy for Jim and Matt, this is exciting. I think you should buy the rights to the Come Back Kid and have us in it.

Q. For Jim Rice and Steve Garvey, there's as many activities going on, like the celebrity hitting contest, as there is the game itself, what do you think about the other activities?

JIM RICE: Being with the Red Sox, and making an All-Star team a couple of years ago, we had approximately the same thing. A lot of players had to do certain things. And if it's your hometown, you're going to do it, it represents you, the ball club, the city, and the whole works. It's going to be a lot of time, and you have to be patient, and deal with the athletes, deal with the fans, and try to make everyone as happy as possible.

STEVE GARVEY: Jim and I and all of the guys and the heroes or old-timers category feel we're blessed to play the game of baseball. Anytime we can come back and play with the greatest of the All-Star Games or activities it's an honor to do it today.

JIM RICE: I forgot, are you a legend or an old-timer?

STEVE GARVEY: A hero of baseball.

JIM RICE: Okay. Jim.

STEVE GARVEY: When you hit 50, you're out of the Masters Division, and into the old-timers.

Q. Jim, in your current responsibilities of Red Sox hitting coach, how would you grade Matt's hitting performance.

MATT DAMON: He can't take that question.

JIM RICE: I think you go to a situation that he was very nervous out there, he's got to get relaxed and I think any person that has any athletic ability that swings the bat will have a chance to get a base hit. If you're not a powerhitter, you're not, and go for the line drives.

STEVE GARVEY: Once Matt started breathing, he took off, he started hitting the ball all over the place.

Q. Jim, do you recall your first time at Fenway?

JIM RICE: No, not really. I came up when I was a Triple-A, but as far as being on the field, I can't recall. But I have a friend here that could probably tell me, Joe Guilotti and Peter Gammons, they know.

THE AUDIENCE: August 31st of '74.

Q. Jim, I'm wondering, did you take a little extra BP?

JIM RICE: No, I took batting practice early in the year maybe six times. It was fun. But I think that some of the players that are sitting in the clubhouse today probably were watching this, and they told me do not lose, I don't care what you do, do not lose. And so guys, we didn't lose. No, I didn't take that much batting practice. My job is to be the hitting instructor for the Boston Red Sox. We throw every day, and we have a left-handed thrower in Maloney, and just go out and have fun. If he throws, he throws, if he doesn't, he doesn't.

STEVE GARVEY: We had batting practice in the cage in centerfield before everything started and Jim was crushing the ball and I looked at him and he had the donut on the end of his bat, and that's impressive.

JIM RICE: That's a way of getting loose.

MATT DAMON: We had batting practice with me clinging to his back, so he could practice carrying me when he swung.

Q. Jim, now that you've been away from -- playing the game about ten years, do you feel that the fans have a greater appreciation for what you did? Even before the Home Run Contest started you were really -- (inaudible.)

JIM RICE: No doubt about it. With the writers you have here, they're writing more about players -- comparing the new ball parks. The pitching has been watered down, the players are coming up faster. But I think the fans here in Boston, I would not say the fans in Boston, but all the fans that appreciate baseball, they know who you are, every individual. You have the young kids with the trading cards keeping track of who you are, and the new ball players are doing the same thing. I think the fans are getting more baseball-minded than anything else.

Q. Have you guys planned to come back next year and hang on to your title in Atlanta?

STEVE GARVEY: George Brett was asked back this year, so I think it's apropos that Major League Baseball bring back the winning team.

MATT DAMON: In other words, it's up to Jim.

STEVE GARVEY: Yeah, we're a team in this thing.

Q. It's often been mentioned and you mentioned it now this is the best of all the All-Star games. What makes this such a higher level than some of the other All-Star games in other sports?

JIM RICE: I think the people that are involved, the city, and of course the fans. That's the most important right there.

Q. It seems to be more competitive in the Baseball All-Star Game than in other All-Star games. This is actually a competitive game. What makes it so competitive?

JIM RICE: The athletes, no doubt about it. I guess you see more, I guess breaking news, as far as McGwire and Sosa, Junior, Maddox, all the guys. So you're more apt to see history being broken. And today's ball players, they're stronger and faster, you see guys hitting homeruns, the fans are really getting involved. I think instead of becoming baseball players or athletes, we're becoming showman. You have a lot of guys with a lot of style. In the Minor League you see guys that want to emulate that.

STEVE GARVEY: You still have to do the single toughest game in hitting the ball, there's no restrictions, in hockey there's checking, in football, there's no zone. It's the national pastime being played for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Q. Jim and Steve the emphasis on home run hitting these days, not only in exhibition, but regular season games, good, bad, how do you size it up?

STEVE GARVEY: You know what? The game goes through different periods and different eras, it's cyclical. This is the year of great offense and power. The ball parks are smaller and you talk about the dilution of pitching due to expansion, the ball may be wound tighter, this is the year of great offense. It will change a little bit. Right now people come to see runs, they come to see power. Tomorrow's home run hitting contest, it will be how far will the ball go. It's neither good or bad, it's just the era we're in. If baseball prospers with it, it's good for the game.

JIM RICE: You look at the players, you can look at some teams may not draft kids that are less than 6 feet. Some may be looking for outfielders, some may be looking for pitchers, catchers, maybe infielders. And if you look at your high school, you look at your programs you have in high school, they're working on Nautilus equipment now, and when I was playing, we didn't have anything like it. Now you're seeing players that are stronger and the ball is going to go farther. Just shortening your swing, the shorter your swing is and the stronger, the farther the ball goes.

Q. Any tips for the participants in the Home Run Hitting Contest?

JIM RICE: Just swing the bat, just hit it hard and it will go.

STEVE GARVEY: And really have fun with it, because a lot of times it has the tendency that maybe I could be doing something else, I have to, there's too much time between time-outs due to the television. Have fun with it. Have fun.

JIM RICE: There's competition, but still there's fun. The guys are going to participate and they want to win, and they say, hey, I beat you in the Home Run Contest. And it's bragging rights.

Q. Will you look at the Home Run Derby Contest tomorrow a little differently since you tried to reach the wall today.

MATT DAMON: I think I'm batting third, and I said I don't want to, except for right now, talk to the media about that. (Laughter.) It is, like Jim said, it's bragging rights. I talked to Griffey last night and McGwire, and Sosa. I said look, I'm coming to get you, this is my hometown and ballpark.

Q. Do you have bragging rights when you get back to Hollywood?

MATT DAMON: I don't have much to brag about. I can brag about the team I ended up on. But it's still -- I still will brag, don't get me wrong, you know, I'll mouth off about being some kind of defending champion. But it's all these guys.

Q. Just how nervous were you, now that it's all over?

MATT DAMON: I was terrified, but in a good way, in a way that you -- that means you're alive. It's like an experience that I'm going to take to the grave. And I was alive, you know, it was great.

STEVE GARVEY: To be honest, everybody was a little nervous. You want to do well. You want to hit the ball, and you want people to kind of remember you looking somewhat like you used to look and entertain people.

Q. Matt, are you planning on making any baseball movies in your future? You can't let Kevin Costner corner the market on that.

MATT DAMON: Yeah, he sure has cornered the market. If there's a good one.

Q. Can't you and Ben whip up a script?

MATT DAMON: I don't know. We haven't written anything since Goodwill Hunting.

STEVE GARVEY: There's a story about today in there, I think.

MATT DAMON: There definitely is. I don't think my part would be that big, though.

Q. Matt, did you sneak away anytime in the last week or so to take some BP?

MATT DAMON: I did yesterday. I have the blisters all over my hands to prove it.

Q. Where did you take it?

MATT DAMON: I went out to the South Shore Baseball Camp. Sean McDonough took me out, my dad and brother, we all went out and took some swings, and boy, I was terrific yesterday. I was great. I should have brought that bat.

End of FastScripts….

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