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World Series 2001
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10/22/2001 03:29 AM ET
Johnson's postgame press conference
The following is a transcript of Randy Johnson's postgame press conference, courtesy of ASAP Sports.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Randy Johnson.

Q. Is it sweeter in a way to win when you're not at your absolute best form, when you really have to battle like this?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, obviously I like to go out and pitch the way I did in Game 1. But you got the human factor, you're facing the championship team, the Atlanta Braves. Erubiel comes off the bench, because Mark Grace injured his hamstring rounding third base with the first run of the game, he comes off the bench and in his first at-bat, he's strong, to hit an opposite-field home run, it's just -- really quite hasn't sunk in. I don't know if it will for maybe a day or so. But it's just you want to tip your hat to the Atlanta Braves because Greg Maddux did something that's very difficult to do, and it doesn't matter how many pitches you throw. It doesn't matter if you're kind of a pitcher that doesn't throw that much fastballs. Tom Glavine came back on three days' rest. Just gallant efforts by both of them. It's not easy to do.

Q. At any point in the seventh were you running on fumes?

RANDY JOHNSON: The seventh inning was the longest inning of the game for me. It wasn't a physical type of thing, but more of a mental situation. Getting out of a situation where the bases were loaded, I had already given up one run, realizing that I have to make quality pitches, and I felt like I was mentally spent walking off the mound. Knew that I got out of a situation that could have been a momentum -- the momentum could have shifted easily to the Atlanta Braves had anything happened that inning more than what already had happened. Brenly had come up to me and told me that BK would probably come in -- definitely would come in if we got to my spot in the batting order. Then eventually I think he decided to go with BK. His comment was, "Let's give them a different look." We went with me out there, six foot ten, left-handed, to BK, five foot seven, right-handed. That was six tough outs for him. Actually our bullpen, along with BK, they've done a really nice job all year long. I think the special thing about this is it hasn't been three or four people all year long. I mean, myself and Schilling and Gonzo have gotten a lot of headlines. But it's been people like Erik Sabel and Troy Brohawn and Junior Spivey and Craig Counsell. We wouldn't be here without Craig Counsell. It's as simple as that. That's the bottom line. We wouldn't be here without Craig Counsell. Every opportunity he's had on the days he's played he's come through for us. That's pretty inspiring for I think a lot of the older guys on this team. That was pretty much what this team was labeled going into spring training, was a team full of veterans, but veterans that were a little maybe on the down side as opposed to on the up side. I think he's inspired a lot of the older veterans to try and get the most out of their ability by watching him.

Q. In the seventh, as you say, you were mentally drained out there. Looked like you were taking more time between pitches. Is that a technique you use to get it together?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I knew the significance of this game, and it's easy during the regular season to not think much, just go rear back and try and throw and overpower everybody. But there's been games in the -- the first game I pitched, Game 1, I was truly convinced that by taking time and concentrating more on location than on velocity, that's one reason why I was so effective. So when the seventh inning was materializing for the Braves, anything could have happened. Had I got back up on the mound and maybe not taken my time and regrouped a little bit, you know, maybe something bad could have happened. So, therefore, taking my time and focusing and realizing what I want to do with every pitch, you know, pitching to Chipper Jones very carefully, not worrying whether I walked him or not because I had an open base and trying to get Brian Jordan out.

Q. You've been in many post-season games in the past. Talk about how this one rates up as far as challenging.

RANDY JOHNSON: It's the top because we're going to the World Series. With Seattle, I think it was in '97 or '95, we got to the ALCS and eliminated by the Cleveland Indians. That's been the farthest I've ever gotten in post-season. We beat a good team that has a lot more experience with post-season than we do. But we had a lot of contributions by people that made this possible. I think that's what makes it so special.

Q. I know you want to enjoy this one. But looking ahead to the World Series, you're probably going to be underdogs again, especially if it's against the Yankees. What are your thoughts with that?

RANDY JOHNSON: I just kind of really want to enjoy the moment. We're going to the World Series. I mean, I've never been to the World Series at any level of my career, whether it was Little League or any of that. There's only two or three people in the clubhouse that have been there, Craig Counsell, Schilling and maybe Stottlemyre, I think. So I think we just need to enjoy the moment and then realize that if the Yankees should win, that we are going to be the underdogs. They're a team that has won the World Series, and rightfully so that we should be underdogs. But I'm pulling for Seattle. It will be a lot of fun to face them. But if you're going to go to the World Series, then you're going to face the New York Yankees. I don't know what the score of today's game was or what the outcome was.

Q. Yankees won.

RANDY JOHNSON: Yankees won. Bottom line is, to put this from spring training to right now, this was a team that had an objective, but everybody does. I think the reason why it was achieved was because it was a double-edged sword. We heard a lot that we were a veteran team that was very old. But I think the one reason why we're here and the one reason why nothing ever really fell apart was because of the veterans. They didn't allow that. The younger players that made huge contributions to the success of this team saw the way the veterans went about their business, and I don't know if we really had too many long losing streaks. Surely we had some losing streaks. But there's a double-edged sword having a lot of older players. You're going to get leadership out of them and show the young kids that came up in Triple A what it takes to win and you're not going to go through too many losing streaks.

Q. You touched on the Braves pitching on short rest. How important was it for you and your whole team that you guys did not do that?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I think it was a situation that we didn't have to do that. Our backs weren't to the wall. I've done it a few times, but obviously if you don't have to, why would you want to? That's why I tip my hat to Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, because it's not an easy thing to do. I don't care if you're a power pitcher, not a power pitcher, you still have to go out there and be effective. Those guys over there are champions. They've been there a lot more than we have. It was a battle for us. It was an uphill battle. But with the likes of a lot of people on this staff and this team, everybody accepted the challenge and never gave up.

Q. Damian Miller said the best word to characterize your performance tonight was gutsy. Is that fair?

RANDY JOHNSON: I never, you know...

Q. Do you mind if we go with it?

RANDY JOHNSON: Go with it. Run with it (laughter). I'm a maximum-effort type pitcher, and so is Curt. From the very first inning I knew it was on the line. There was going to be no, you know, you sometimes hear pitchers say, "I'm pacing myself." I've often wondered after playing this game, "What are you pacing yourself for?" There's no guarantee you're going to go five innings much less a complete game. What are you pacing yourself for? Being a power pitcher, maximum effort from the very first pitch. Had the seventh inning not been as long and as mentally taxing on me, I probably would have went out for the eighth inning. I was very capable of going out there. I think when Brenly made up his mind and I was walking off the mound, I realized I got out of a huge inning right there by only giving up one run.

Q. You'll go into the World Series now with a post- game-winning streak.

RANDY JOHNSON: How about that (laughter)?

Q. Will that just make it more enjoyable for you, just so you --?

RANDY JOHNSON: Well, I never really got caught up in it. I can say now that, I mean, it's easy to say something after the better half has happened. I've won two post-season games. I didn't feel like I pitched that poorly. I still stand by that. Unfortunately, when you are in post-season, that kind of stuff gets magnified. I gave up two runs today. But I gave up two runs when I was with Houston. And I lost. So it's just, you know, it's a baseball game and things happen in baseball games. I've often talked to Curt about this. It's kind of funny. When you give up five runs or six runs, and the team still wins, you win 6-5 and it's called a gutsy performance. You know? Don't you guys say that sometimes? A pitcher will give up five runs and it's called a gutsy outing. If you lose the ball game, it's a tough loss. I've still not figured that out as long as I've played the game. I'm very honored and very appreciative that we are going where we're going. I don't take anything for granted - my health, my age, the team that I'm on -- that anything is going to be given to us. But very accepting that we have an opportunity to go the World Series. There's no guarantees that you're going to ever have that opportunity. I'm going to enjoy the moment, along with my teammates, and just really enjoy the next few days and realize and let it sink in that we're going to the World Series.