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September 7, 1998

Mark McGwire

Sammy Sosa


Q. Do you guys feel move pumped up when you play each other in a game?
SAMMY SOSA: I want to beat you everyday, but I can't.
MARK McGWIRE: How can you not get pumped up? Like I said yesterday, your heart is not beating if you are not excited about today and tomorrow.

Q. (Inaudible.)
SAMMY SOSA: What about me?

Q. What does this hand signal mean?
SAMMY SOSA: This is every time when I am hitting a home run, like Mark McGwire, I do that for my mother, I love you momma.

Q. Baseball is also the national sport of the Dominican Republic, do either of you have a message for the fans in the Dominican?
SAMMY SOSA: What about the United States? For me it has been great. I think that our situation right now looks pretty good. We do that because we have been the guys that take the lead. I have to say, but it is great for the fans, I think that the fans love it. They enjoying it. Believe me, we are just going to keep continuing to do our job.
MARK McGWIRE: I didn't pass Spanish.

Q. Translate.
MARK McGWIRE: I don't know.

Q. Do you have anything to say?
MARK McGWIRE: I am sure they are all excited just like the American people here. I was telling Sammy we have been, we will be noticed across America here. I would hate to be in his shoes going back to Dominican Republic. He is going to have to have a private airport where nobody knows he is going.

Q. Would you contrast each other's style at the plate?
MARK McGWIRE: We are totally two different kinds of hitters. I think we are both aggressive but he might be a little bit more aggressive hitter than I am. I think most Dominicans, Venezuelans and Puerto Rican hitters are like that. I have always been taught to work a count, to be patient, try to be selective and I think Sammy is a little more aggressive than I am in certain situations. I think that is really the only difference. Other than that we are basically the same. We strike out a lot, you know and we are hitting home runs.
SAMMY SOSA: We he is right. I think that sometime when I get to the homeplate and probably thinking so hard I just almost try to look at first base ‑‑ every time I just try to thinking go to right field, much better hitter.

Q. Will you clear up one thing, which one of you is the man?
SAMMY SOSA: He is the man in the United States. I am the man in the Dominican Republic.

Q. Aside from baseball all of that, have you guys had time to put this in perspective?
MARK McGWIRE: I think so, but you know what, the season is not over with. That is the great thing about baseball. Until the last out on September 27th there is not much time to really sit down and analyze and really let everything sink in because there is unfinished business. I have 21 games left. I think you have 20 games left. They are going for a wild card spot. So I think we both are aware of the history and what it means to everybody in baseball along the country. And we only can think about it at least I can on that line, I mean I wish I could really just really let it sink in, but until the end of the season, I think that is when it is going to really sink in.

Q. Given that you guys both have pitchers facing the other guy today, is there any pressure on them not to throw strikes?
SAMMY SOSA: I think that most of the time when Mark and ourselves go out there to the homeplate and we be patient and when we do swing the pitches, I think they are a little bit impression. I think that when you go out there to the homeplate and relax and look at something that you can ‑‑ something in the strike zone, when you have that comfort in yourself, they don't want to throw you a strike, you take a walk.
MARK McGWIRE: I agree with that. I just think there is a lot of made up about are the pitchers going to throw you strikes to hit. They have got a ballgame they are going to try to win. They are going to try to pitch the same way they tried to pitch us all year. That is what it comes down to. Sometimes if it is a mistake and we take advantage of it then so be it. But we can't worry about it as hitters

Q. There has been a lot of talk over the last few days of breaking the record to then setting the new record ‑‑
SAMMY SOSA: I think that my situation is different. I am in a playoff trying to make it to the wild card. For me right now it matters to me just make it to the playoffs. I don't have a lot of chance like Mark, but I am never thinking about who is the one that is going to finish with more or ‑‑ I think ‑‑ my situation is different. I think Mark have a lot of chance.
MARK McGWIRE: I just think whatever happens at the end of the season, what a great year. I mean, you can never take it away from family or myself and what we have gone through to get to where we are right now, it has been quite amazing, so, whoever is at the end and whoever is on top, I don't think it really matters.

Q. Any advantages or disadvantages; Sammy is in the middle of the play off race, you are not?
MARK McGWIRE: It just comes down to getting balls to hit. I mean pitchers ‑‑ like we just said pitchers are going to pitch it the same way no matter what.
SAMMY SOSA: I have to say that earlier in the year there was situation where they say that you know, they are going to pitch against Mark and I thought what difference does it make, Mark have 60 and I am close to be there and I think that I know that the pitcher got to go out there and pitch the game that they are supposed to be pitching, and we almost there, so ain't no more ‑‑ I think it is no more complaint right now.

Q. Perhaps are there times when you all need to get away from this. Describe what you do when you put baseball out of your mind.
MARK McGWIRE: Absolutely nothing. I mean actually you can't do ‑‑ you go home and just do nothing. I mean, it is the hardest thing. September 27th is going to be a great day, really, tell you the truth. Unfortunately, I wish I was in his position.
SAMMY SOSA: Also most of the time, every night I go home and trying to watch baseball tonight, Sports Center trying to see what McGwire is doing. (Laughter.)

Q. When one of your home runs hits the sign or the scoreboard or building window and you break it, do you have to pay for it?
SAMMY SOSA: They probably going to send the bill to the Chicago Cubs.

Q. Just another one, what advice would you give to any kids that want to grow up to be Major League ballplayers?
MARK McGWIRE: Just have fun. Just have fun. That is all you can do is have fun. And especially when you are a little kid, don't play the game too seriously because it is serious enough when you get up here, so have fun as a kid and be a kid.
SAMMY SOSA: I think pretty much the same. I think that everything that the kid want to do just probably have to listen to the mother and the father and good little friends that they have around and everything they want to do, just do it because they want to do it.

Q. You both come from such different backgrounds as children. Did you ever envision yourself sitting in this setting?
SAMMY SOSA: Not really but I have to say baseball being very, very good to me (Laughter.)
MARK McGWIRE: God bless America.
SAMMY SOSA: What a country.

Q. Sammy said you would hit 70 by the end of the year. How many do you think he will hit?
MARK McGWIRE: Wouldn't it be great if we just ended up tied? I think it would be beautiful.

Q. What number?
MARK McGWIRE: 70 is a good one. (Laughter.)
SAMMY SOSA: I will take it.

Q. There has been talk recently about home runs becoming cheaper ‑ what has happened has cheapened the home run. You guys are the ones that are leading. How do you feel about that and do you think that kind of talk will detract from what you are doing?
SAMMY SOSA: I wish for the rest of the year I hit one cheap one everyday.
MARK McGWIRE: I will double that one. (Laughter.) I ‑‑ you know ‑‑ I can't comment on that one. It is like ‑‑ I mean ‑‑ no. I don't know. I don't know what to say about that.

Q. Why do you suppose people are saying these things?
MARK McGWIRE: Because there is always somebody out there that doesn't want history broken and somebody wants to put an asterisk or somebody wants to do something, preventing what is happening. I mean, look at what it has done to baseball. Let's look at it that way. And there is always somebody that has to be negative out there and it is unfortunate, but that is the way the world works. Wouldn't this be a better place if it was positive and everybody was happy?

Q. Yesterday Maris's son said that it was different in his father's time, the teams were fierceless competitors ‑‑ (inaudible)
MARK McGWIRE: I can only go by what I have heard and what people have told me. It is unfortunate that in the situation that Roger was in, I mean, people didn't want him to break it, the writers were ‑‑ Babe Ruth ‑‑ everybody wanted Mantle to break it. You have two strikes against you in the huge City of New York, I mean, that is not good ‑‑ there again, there is people being negative out there that just didn't want to see somebody do history. The fact is he did it. The fact is that everybody should be happy for Roger Maris and his family. Records are meant to be broken. It just happens that we are close to it right now and if it is going to be broken, it is going to be broken. I just ‑‑ I think back and I really feel for what he went through for all the negative stuff that was going on in his life. I wish it didn't happen. I mean, I wish the day ‑‑ hopefully the day that I die I can, after seeing the Lord, I can go see him and Babe Ruth and talk to them.
SAMMY SOSA: Don't forget about me. (Laughter.)
MARK McGWIRE: I think you are a little younger than me. You might come a couple years later.

Q. The friendship began at first base. How has it developed this year ‑‑ over the years and what has been it been?
SAMMY SOSA: I would have to say this is maybe the four, five times that we have been together sitting right here, but most of the time we are just friends. I know Mark when he was playing in the American league. He has always been a great guy. It is not because he is here with me, believe me. He has been a great guy. He is a nice person, easy person to talk to, and, hey, friendship, this is something what counts in the whole world.
MARK McGWIRE: I ditto that, but we are going to go together and build a golf course down in the Dominican, aren't we? Everybody wanted to know what was being talked about at first base and that is what we are going to do.

Q. You are so loose about this whole thing. At what point did you decide to just go with it instead of being tense and be happy?
SAMMY SOSA: This is like a holiday for me everyday. Every time I wake up, I say: God bless America. It is a beautiful country and, you know, got to go out there and just, you know, just keep it continuing and try to make it to the playoffs. That is what counts to me. Mark, he knows what he needs to do and I am pulling for Mark, everybody knows, that but me, you have to enjoy it. This is not going to happen everyday. It is not going to happen every year, so this is the year that it is happening and we have got to go out there and enjoy it.

Q. Was it always friendly like this ‑‑ (inaudible)
MARK McGWIRE: This is the first time it really happened. Over in the American league I know that Griffey and I used to jar back and forth with home runs, but that is really about it. I mean, it wasn't at this ‑‑ I mean, the media attention I think was in 1996 when we were going back and forth, it wasn't like this. But that was the closest thing.
SAMMY SOSA: I have to say that, yes.

Q. Do you ever think about Harry Carey and how much he is missed this year?
SAMMY SOSA: Probably before the year it has been ‑‑ I am more dedicated the assistant to Harry Carey; maybe that is why I have been doing what I am doing right now. I just hope he just keeps help me. I know he is up there in heaven ‑ Harry, this is for you. I love you.

Q. Has watching how each of the other one has handled this situation helped you?
MARK McGWIRE: All I know is I can just take care of myself. I have been saying that since day one. I think Sammy can ditto that. We only can swing the bats ourselves. It just turns out that almost every day he hits one, I hit one and people are taken off on that. We both know it's a battle everyday. We both know that when we wake up in the morning that we are going to have this attention, but the bottom line is we control our own destiny by swinging the bat.

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