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Video: Interview with Randy Johnson

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Randy joined Mike and the Mad Dog yesterday and discussed his first year with the Yanks. I'll try to have a transcript soon. He talked at length about the problems he had with his mechanics throughout the year and why he was a disappointment to us. He feels he'll be more like the Randy of old for the upcoming season. I thought he was pretty honest in his answers and didn't shy away from any of the questions. I'll let the interview speak for itself.

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How did you think he did? Transcript below.

M&tMD: Randy, I?m sure that uh, 5th game, getting in there to pitch and pitching as well as you did? I know it doesn?t take away the sting of game 3 ? it did probably make you have a little easier couple days after that ? the fact that you pitched so well in that 5th game. How about that?

RJ: Well, I guess that?s one way of kind of looking at it but obviously any game that I pitch, whether it?s regular season or post-season, I feel fully responsible if we don?t get a good effort from me and obviously in game 3 we didn?t get that from me. The only good thing that I took out of that game, unfortunately, was that after I left the game and after Paul Byrd left the game for them ? who didn?t pitch well for them - was that we ended up taking the lead after I came out but unfortunately, you know, they scored 6 more runs and we ended up losing that game. So there was no- there was nothing good about that game. But to come in to relief and pitch to a game 5 and to somewhat, I guess, redeem myself made me feel a little better. Unfortunately, you know, we weren?t able to go to the next level.

M&tMD: Randy, how would you ? now that you?ve had some weeks to kind of sit back and play all the?

RJ: That was a couple weeks?

M&tMD: Yeah, it?s already been a couple? [laughter] M&tMD: How would you describe year one with the Yankees? I mean, was it what you thought it would be? And I?m not just talking about on the field, I?m talking about everything ? dealing with the media and everything else. I mean, how was the New York experience both on and off the field for year one?

RJ: Well, first of all, coming to New York was, for me ? I knew it was gonna be a challenge, if I was gonna shy away from anymore challenges in my career I wouldn?t have wanted to go to New York. So I knew firsthand, first and foremost, it was gonna be a challenge to go to New York. To be me and to go and try to perform the way I have in the other cities and do it in New York? I knew that was going to be a challenge ? I knew what was expected of me so I wasn?t shying away from that stage. There was some- some ups and downs, without a doubt, for me the first year there. Things didn?t really come around for me until the second half of the season. I think that it took me a while to get comfortable, in a sense, with my surroundings. Unfortunately I had some mechanical problems earlier in the year that didn?t get straightened out until probably the second half of the year and that?s really actually when I really started to pitch much better. And then when I started pitching much better, I felt like things started flowing a lot better for me. But from a media standpoint, you know, I made myself ? like I said in my press conference when I signed there ? you know, I sat in front of my locker just about everyday, you know, ten minutes to a half an hour making myself available for media. Some people would come up and we would talk and others just kind of kept a distance I guess but, you know, I felt like, you know, I came up a little short on the win column but considering all the things that were kind of up and down this year for me that to win 17 ball games wasn?t bad but for me those aren?t my standards. My standards are to- to win, you know, 20+ games to- to win game 3 and so I fell a little short of my expectations and my standards.

M&tMD: For a guy to be a star on your level and have been on the grand stage and beaten the Yankees as you had in the post season in the past and everything? even Torre said to us ?I think Randy found it difficult for a while to be comfortable in the New York setting with all the media and everything that went on.? Is that accurate? What- was there more of a transition period to finding your comfort level than maybe you thought there would be?

RJ: Well, I think there- there- there may have been. I don?t- I don?t believe I ever had to explain what my role was when I was in Seattle or Houston or Arizona and I felt like media people would come up and say ?Well, what is your role here? What- what- what is it that a number 1 pitcher does?? And I?d feel like, you know, my job is to keep the team in a ballgame and I wouldn?t really expand upon that but that wouldn?t be a good enough answer for some media people. You know, I?ve been doing fairly well for 17 years and you know, my job- my job description didn?t change when I left Arizona to come to New York. I did- I didn?t try to change anything. There was more expectations I suppose because there was more media but, you know, once again ? there?s more media there than have ever played the game that are basically trying to describe what they would like me to be doing and I?m trying to tell them how I?m trying to do it and you know, sometimes there was some discrepancy there I guess.

M&tMD: Randy listen ? we all know how great you?ve- you?ve been? would I chalk up the inconsist?I know you were- much better second half?but would I chalk up the inconsistency this year to mechanics or could age be a part of the equation?

RJ: Well I don?t think age was, uh, I mean initially at the beginning of the year my mechanics weren?t there; my location wasn?t there; my velocity was down and I think you saw what happened when my mechanics came around: I went from 93 to all of a sudden now I?m throwing 95, 97. You know, earlier in the year my mechanics weren?t there?I wasn?t hitting my spots?and you know, I never told anybody anything of this nature but you know, a lot of times I felt like I was tipping my pitches. You know, that was- that was something that was floating around there and at- at times I probably felt I was.

M&tMD: Wow.

RJ: So, the second half of the season, I corrected a lot of things that, you know, got corrected? you know, so the first half was somewhat of a- a- inconsistent for me. The second half I felt like I started to feel much more comfortable with my surroundings, with my ability out there, with my confidence level? this coming season, ?06, I?m- I?m expecting that things will flow really well. You know, I?ve been working out for the last month already and I?m preparing myself for a big year. There?ll be nothing that will allow me to feel that I shouldn?t have a big year. Last year, you know, honestly, any player wants to feel like he- he can come into a new city and do the things that he?s done in the past ? I didn?t do that to my full expectation. This year, I feel knowing my surroundings; knowing my teammates; knowing what to expect ? I feel that things are at a comfort level and certain things, the surroundings will be a lot more different going into this- going into this year.

M&tMD: Mike and The Mad Dog, Randy Johnson. Yankee tickets go on sale Friday, we?ll give you all the information and about how you can contribute to their programs with Derek Jeter?s Turn Two Foundation Friday with food and toys for everyone this holiday season. 8 and 2 second half as you said and I think even 5-1 or 6-1 down the stretch of the regular season?I think it was 5 and 1. Then came the game 3. There were reports about the Angels saying, Randy was tipping his pitches, after that game 3 a couple a weeks ago? maybe a week after the series was over.

RJ: Well then- and then- and then I changed something that I?m not gonna get into?

M&tMD: Right, so you thought maybe in that game 3 that- that?s why you got hit so hard? Did you think you were?

RJ: I?m not gonna- I?m not gonna say that because, you know, that- that would be an excuse.

M&tMD: Well say it if you think it.

RJ: Well, I felt? I?ve thought over year- over the years that people have had my pitches but you know what? Hell?

M&tMD: Didn?t hurt- didn?t- didn?t help them.

RJ: ?I?ve pitched some pretty good ballgames whether they knew my pitches or not.

M&tMD: Well, with your stuff you could kinda yell to them what?s gonna come ? if you?re on you?re not gonna hit it anyway.

RJ: At times you can but when you?re having mechanical problems and you can?t hit your spots when you?re throwing your fastball then- then it?s a different scenario. And you don?t have the same velocity because of your mechanics.

M&tMD: Well my point was this Randy, is that you were so good down the stretch and then you reverted to the earlier form? what was different that game 3? Was it ? you didn?t?you weren?t uncomfortable, did you feel uncomfortable that night? Did you think they had your pitches? I mean, you really got hit hard in that- in that game 3.

RJ: I- You know I get- I, you know, I- it was one game. Obviously that game ? there?s so much more credence and there?s so many more eyes on a post-season game than on a regular season game. You go back to 2001, I lost my first post-season game in the Division Series against St. Louis and then I won the next 4 games. I pitched 2 games against Atlanta, we won both those games then I won 3 games against the Yankees so I ended up going 5-1. Now that- I would have loved for that scenario last year ? I didn?t get that opportunity. Unfortunately, you know, every post-season game that you pitch? you know, you?re either gonna pitch well or you?re not and unfortunately I didn?t pitch well. I had no excuses. Whether they knew it was coming or not, I didn?t correct it in time and I didn?t make the adjustments. In Game 5, I felt completely more?I felt completely comfortable out there and I- I felt like they weren?t as comfortable as they were in Game 3 and it was indicative of the way I pitched.

M&tMD: Randy, how about the catching scenario with Flaherty and Posada? Now you got to Posada ? he caught you in that fifth game and it seems like you and him- you and Jorge were on the same page. We know Flaherty for the most part caught you all year long. Was there something with you and Posada or is it you just felt more comfortable with Flaherty? Joe doesn?t like to do the personal catcher stuff but he did it with you ? help us out with that.

RJ: Well, I think that I started off with Jorgie and I felt early in the season, I kind of went away from my strengths. And I, you know, I caught?Flaherty caught me a few times out in the bullpen, we talked a little bit; he had, you know, been watching me pitch and, you know things?he caught me one game and then things kind of clicked and- and we just continued to snowball. I, you know, to have controversy there is like having contr- a quarterback controversy. The bottom line is you guys just want me, and everybody just wants me to just go out and pitch well and win. And when I was doing that with Flaherty, you know, that?s the- that?s the main objective. I- I wouldn?t think it would matter who?s catching me but in essence it did because that makes for controversy, I guess.

M&tMD: Well, also one?s a much better bat than the other one. That?s the biggest reason.

RJ: Well, that- that?s true and sometimes you don?t want to take a bat out of the line-up but if you feel more comfortable throwing to a- a- pitcher?a catcher at that particular time you know is? if I get 5 runs in one game is Posada gonna be able to make that up with him catching me in a game? Now- now I?m going to Spring Training this year and assuming that Posada will catch me this year and hopefully we?ll- we?ll be able to pick up where we left off. But, you know, Jorgie was very instrumental in getting me turned around the second half of the season. I sat in the video room with Flaherty and Posada, we had many conversations about my mechanics and various things like that. So there was- there was nothing between me and Posada: I just, you know, when me and Flaherty work together we work real well and the numbers show that and Posada and myself were both professional about that. We both understood the bottom line is let?s just win ballgames and get to post-season.

[Left out pitching coach question ? time constraint and it was rather bland to boot ? heh] 11:20 to 14:20

M&tMD: Randy, how about the- I guess it?s location ? the homerun ball that you gave up a lot last year, uncharacteristically. And that Perez of Tampa hit a ton of them off you, my goodness, I have to go?he had your number for some reason. Give me your thoughts on those two issues if you can. How many- Perez didn?t he- Perez hit 3 or 4 homeruns off you if memory serves?

RJ: He hit? he hit 3 off me ? two in one game and then one when I pitched against Tampa Bay really well, in Tampa, and got a no-decision. But he would be a pitcher- a- a pitcher- a- excuse me? a hitter that would obviously, at this time, feels pretty comfortable against me and it?s my job to make him feel uncomfortable out there and you know? no rhyme or reason. It?d be- it?d be like me saying well that there?s certain hitters I get out all the time. There?s no rhyme or reason why that happens but you have to try to correct things and you?re constantly making adjustments out there and I anticipate this year that things will have changed a little bit ? I?ll be a lot more comfortable out there and then hopefully be more of myself that I?ve been in the past.

M&tMD: He?s gonna be a great trivia question someday because he hit homeruns off you and Rivera in the same game ? he?s gonna be maybe the only guy in baseball history to hit 2 homers in the same game off first ballot Hall-of-Famers.

RJ: Well, that- that could be the case. But I?m looking forward to next year. I know what I came to New York for and I haven?t uh- I haven?t achieved that yet and I?m looking forward to getting it done this year.

M&tMD: One last one Randy. Were ya surprised, even with your outing in the third game?I think all of us were surprised who felt the Yankees Forever, that the Yankees did lose that 5th game in Anaheim- even when they fell behind, you kinda felt that the Yankees would figure out a way to come back even in that 9th inning. Was it stunning to you, for the Yankees, to lose in that first round to the Angels? Give me your thoughts when you went home ?Jeez, how did we lose?? - did you say to yourself: ?How did we lose to Anaheim? My goodness, we shouldn?t have lost the series?. What was going through your mind after that conclusion of that 5th game Monday night in Anaheim??

RJ: Well I don?t think you can take anything away from another team when they?re going out there and playing well and they played well all year long and they?re a very athletic team ? they did a lot of little things very well: they got- they got on base; they moved runners over; their defense was very well; they had a strong bullpen. You know, so it wasn?t as much of a surprise that they beat us ? it?s just that we didn?t play as well as we were capable of playing. That?s all. I don?t think there was a? any one particular thing that made them win other than they just didn?t make as many mistakes as we did.