Derek Lowe Interview
Derek Lowe was born June 1, 1973, in Dearborn, Michigan. Lowe is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. He throws and bats right-handed. He is 6'6" and 230 pounds. Lowe attended Edsel Ford High School (Dearborn, Michigan) and was a four-sport letterman in baseball, golf, soccer, and basketball. He was an All-League honoree in all four sports, and was a first-team all-state pick in basketball.
Lowe was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in round 8 of the 1991 Major League Baseball Draft. He signed with the Mariners on June 7, 1991. The Mariners immediately assigned him to their rookie league team, where he went 5-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 12 starts.
He spent the next several years working his way through several minor league teams: 1992 - Single-A Bellingham (7-3, 2.42 - 13 starts), 1993 - Single-A Riverside (12-9, 5.26, 26 starts), 1994 - Double-A Jacksonville (7-10, 4.94, 26 starts), 1995 - Double-A Port City (1-6, 6.08, 10 starts), 1996 - Triple-A Tacoma (6-9, 4.54, 16 starts).
Lowe made his major league debut on April 26, 1997, working 3 2/3 innings in relief against the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his first major league start on May 27, 1997, against the Minnesota Twins, giving up four runs in 5 innings. His first career win came on June 6 against the Detroit Tigers, pitching 5 1/3 innings and giving up 3 runs in the Mariners 6-3 victory.
Seattle, however, was desperate for immediate bullpen help and packaged Lowe and catcher Jason Varitek into a deal with the Boston Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb. The Mariners' willingness to trade Lowe may have stemmed from his involvement in an incident earlier that year in Federal Way, Washington. Lowe was charged with fourth-degree domestic violence by King County police after his girlfriend claimed that he struck her. Lowe was released on $1,000 bond the next day, and he allegedly violated a no-contact order by returning to her home shortly after his release. However, given the subsequent careers of the three players involved in the trade it is now viewed as one of the most lopsided in recent MLB history.
Lowe compiled a 5-15 record over his first two seasons, during which he split time starting and relieving, but came into his own in 1999 after being transferred into the closer's role, finishing the season with 15 saves and a 2.63 ERA.
Lowe had his best season as a closer in 2000 when he led the American League with 42 saves. He was regarded as an unconventional closer, however, as he didn't overwhelm hitters. As a result, despite 24 saves early in the 2001 season, Lowe lost the closer's job soon after the trading deadline, July 31, when he lost the job to the newly acquired star closer Ugueth Urbina. Lowe was left in limbo, forced to take various setup jobs in the bullpen.
In 2002, Lowe moved back into the starting rotation, a move which paid off immediately. He posted a 21-8 record, a 2.58 ERA, and finished 3rd in Cy Young Award voting behind Barry Zito and teammate Pedro Martínez. Lowe also no-hit the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Fenway Park on April 27 that year, becoming the first pitcher to do so at Fenway Park since Dave Morehead in 1965.
Lowe struggled through much of the 2003 season, but boosted by the strength of Boston's thunderous offense, posted a 17-7 record despite a 4.47 ERA. He recorded an improbable save in deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series, helped by two clutch strikeouts.
Boston Red Sox
In 2004, he finished 14–12 with a 5.42 ERA in 33 starts, spending part of the season demoted to the Red Sox bullpen. During the postseason he rebounded with a 3–0 record and 1.86 ERA in four games, three of them starts. He was the winner in the final game of all three postseason series — American League Division Series against the Anaheim Angels, American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, and World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals (where he threw shutout ball for 7 innings in game 4, to defeat Jason Marquis) — as the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, extinguishing the Curse of the Bambino. Lowe was the first pitcher in baseball history to accomplish this feat. With the curse extinguished, he said that the team would no longer hear "1918" at Yankee Stadium.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Lowe pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006.
On January 11, 2005, he finalized a $36 million, four-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite his signing with a new team, Lowe wore a Boston Red Sox uniform, with his career-long number of 32, during the Red Sox World Series ring ceremony on April 11, 2005, after already making a start for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On August 31, 2005, Lowe nearly pitched the second no-hitter of his career. After giving up a leadoff single to the Cubs' Jerry Hairston, Jr., Lowe did not allow another Chicago hit, picking up a one-hit, two-walk, 7–0 complete game victory while facing only 29 batters.
For the 2008 season, after being the opening day starter for the Dodgers for the last three years, he was moved to the second starting position, with the honor of the first position going to Brad Penny. Lowe was chosen by manager Joe Torre to start game one of the National League Championship series against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 9, 2008. Lowe opened the game with five scoreless innings.
Both times that the Dodgers acquired Greg Maddux midseason, Lowe performed visibly better afterwards. He indicated that Maddux helps him considerably, and Maddux was often seen sitting next to him in the dugout.
On January 13, 2009, it was reported that Lowe had agreed to a four-year, $60 million dollar deal with the Atlanta Braves that was confirmed two days later.
On March 29, 2009, Bobby Cox announced that Lowe would start both Opening Night and the Braves home opener for the 2009 season. Lowe beat the Phillies 4-1 on Opening Night, going 8 innings and giving up just 2 hits and 0 runs. On June 20, 2009, for the first time since leaving the Red Sox, Lowe pitched at Fenway Park against his former team. Despite losing the game giving up three runs, he received a standing ovation coming into and exiting the game due to his crucial part in the 2004 curse breaking World Series team.
In 2009, Lowe was one of only three active players, along with Brad Ausmus and Livan Hernandez, to have played 12 or more seasons without going on the disabled list.
On August 3, 2005, FSN West in Los Angeles announced that Carolyn Hughes, anchor of the network's Dodger Dugout show covering the Dodgers, had been suspended pending an investigation into a potential relationship between her and Lowe. Shortly thereafter, Lowe filed for divorce from his wife of seven years, Trinka Lowe, with whom he fathered two children. Hughes's husband had also filed for divorce. In the aftermath, Hughes ended her broadcasting career, while she and Lowe continued their relationship. The two were married on December 13, 2008 at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.
HT: Well, thanks for your time.
DL: You're welcome.
HT: I really appreciate it. Congratulations. What a great…I mean, you can't think of a better story than your Boston Red Sox last year.
DL: Yeah, thank you.
HT: Unbelievable! And I should tell you that I'm a die-hard Yankee fan too…
DL: [laughs] I don’t want to NOT know! [laughs]
HT: But you guys were just tremendous. OK, let’s get started. Tell me a little bit about your background…you were born in Detroit?
DL: Yeah, Dearborn, outside of Detroit
HT: And tell me a little about your upbringing?
DL: I had one sister, came from an athletic family. We played pretty much every sport underneath the sun. That's where I got my competitiveness from…playing my sister who was 4 years older. And my dad never let me win at anything, since I was a little kid. So it was a big day in my life when I could finally beat my dad. I went to public schools. I came up through your public school system. I guess I played every sport and got drafted in '91 by Seattle Mariners.
HT: So what did you beat your dad in?
DL: Probably in basketball at about 9th grade.
HT: I heard that you were really good in a lot of sports?
DL: Yeah, I got to play a lot. I mean, I think a lot of athletes are similar with me. I didn't specialize in any one sport when I was a kid. I really enjoyed basketball. But I would play tennis, golf, and a lot of my aunts and uncles are the same way, so a lot of our get-togethers are just pretty much, rally round sports.
HT: Do you think you could have made it in another sport?
DL: Basketball would have been my best try, but I don't know. I mean, I would have liked to try. I used to like basketball better than baseball. It's more enjoyable to play, I'd say.
HT: So you're probably a small forward?
DL: No, I was actually a point guard.
HT: Oh really?
HT: See, you forget how big these basketball players are.
DL: Yeah. I was able to make All State Michigan. I played with some pretty big name guys. But that was back then.
HT: Oh yeah, back in Detroit, huh?
HT: Who were some of the guys you played with?
DL: It was the year of the Fab Five. So Chris Webber was around then. Jalen Rose. Vishon Leonard. We all played on AAU Basketball team together.
HT: I interviewed Chris last year actually. Those were some special times back then in Detroit, huh?
DL: Oh, absolutely. Detroit has good basketball.
HT: Were you a University of Michigan fan?
DL: Oh, I love University of Michigan, to the day. The basketball is struggling, but I'm still a huge football fan. I watch it as much as I possibly can.
HT: Was College an option for you?
DL: I would have. I was going to go to Eastern Michigan to play college basketball. My mom wanted me to go to school and my dad wanted me to go play sports.
HT: Were you fairly highly recruited as a baseball player?
DL: I wasn't. I had no recruiting…I never got recruited to play college baseball.
HT: Really? That’s weird. But professional baseball have that long-term project mentality, don’t they?
DL: Yeah, exactly. At the time, Seattle drafted a lot of tall skinny pitchers. I fit the mold, so I figured I'd just give baseball three years. Because you can always go back to play college basketball. So that was my plan.
HT: Were you a Detroit Tiger fan?
HT: Who did you like?
DL: Alan Trammell and Chet Lemon, the centerfielder, were my favorite players.
HT: Oh yeah? Not Bird Fidrych?
DL: No, he was a different guy. But no, I grew up with the '84 team.
HT: Who was your biggest influence growing up?
DL: Yeah, I didn't really have that until Minor League Baseball. I give a lot of credit to a guy named Pat Waika. He was the athletic director at my high school. And he allowed me to play, I was playing three sports at one time. And so I give him a lot of credit for allowing me to play that many sports. Because a lot of times you have to pick one. But Jeff Mengers, he was my pitching coach in Double A that taught me the most about pitching.
HT: Right. Did you always have the ¾ delivery?
DL: Yeah. I was always able to, for the most part. I was always able to throw strikes. Because I never really could throw hard, still really can't. But as I gained more weight, I was able to throw a little bit harder.
HT: I remember way back when you first came to Boston, and you obviously went through so much as both a closer and starter where you pitched in huge games. And the whole curse of the Bambino thing that you guys were constantly reminded of in a tough sports town. But, did you believe in the curse?
DL: I didn't personally believe in the curse. I think you create your own good luck and bad luck. But like you said, the longer you play there, just a negativity of the city, it's always just they’re just waiting for the other shoe to fall. Every August, the negative talk starts coming, Okay, here they go, the Red Sox are going to fall, this is the time, they do it every year, ‘Curse of the Bambino’! The media talks about it pretty much daily the last six weeks of the year. So, if anything, it just keeps reinforcing the negative. And so, no, I don't really believe in curses. I think, for the most part, the New York Yankees have just had a better team for a lot of years, and I think that's what made this year so special, is because we had to go through New York to get to the World Series.
HT: It made the total story really, didn't it?
DL: Oh, it made the whole thing. People in Boston were saying, once you beat New York, they were fine with that. That, to them, is like, that was the World Series. Beating New York was more important than beating St. Louis.
HT: Because the whole curse took the heat off of the rest of what it takes to win, really, to go all the way.
DL: It will be interesting to see how the fans react, because there was actually something to be said about the loveable loser. You know everyone loves to be a Red Sox fan because everyone can enjoy the misery. But now that that's over, I think hopefully they'll have a different outlook and I think all the weight shifts to the Chicago Cubs now, because they've had the longest wait now.
HT: Were you always vocal about it in the media. Because, obviously the Boston media is pretty crazy and pretty relentless. Were you always fairly vocal like Pedro, “I don't believe in curses”?
DL: The thing about Boston is, you gotta watch what you say. Because if you try to tell people in Boston, I'm serious, I get to New York, and it's no big deal, or you don't believe in curses, it actually has a backlash. A lot times in Boston, or a lot of big medias, you've got to lie, to save your own butt. Because if you act like you don't think it's that big of a deal, you don't want the home fans turning against you.
HT: But you kind of have to respect it because there were generations of Red Sox fans, people who are not even alive now, that took it dead seriously.
DL: I think this perceptions that playing for the Red Sox, is that people think—now as far as the fans go, absolutely, they're die-hards—but again, the perception is that all of us players grew up Red Sox fans or knew the history of the Red Sox. People think that as soon as you put on a Red Sox uniform, you're supposed to hate the Yankees, believe in the curse, think you're never going to win, but as far as the fans go, you have to almost speak to please the media and the fans more than speaking to please yourself. Like I said, if you say that you don't care, you won't be able to last there very long.
HT: Looking at it from my standpoint, you hear Boston fans saying that every year, it's like the good guy dying at the end of the movie, you know? Again, you have to respect and understand their standpoint, but I felt there was always this negativity where they weren't really with you all the way.
DL: No, absolutely. Playing there is different than any other stadium, because they support you, but in turn, they'll turn on you in a heartbeat. They don't really have a lot of patience. But again, I think the longer you play there, you realize that…the negativity really doesn't get to you. But if you’re a first time person there, and hearing all the negative stuff, because, as I said, patience isn't too high on the people in New England’s list.
HT: Because I remember when the Yankees won in '96, I'm finally beginning to relate a little bit, a little bit, a tiny…maybe a few percentage of what it's like – 86 years, but when we won in '96 that was an unbelievable relief for us, but for you guys, I mean, what a story, to be a part of it, and the part you had to play in it, it must have been unbelievable.
DL: Yeah, it was great to, 1. to see the actual true joy of people's faces at our parade. Almost 4 million people to celebrate a team. I mean, you saw all kinds of generations. I was just fortunate to pitch in the right games. I was able to pitch in like Game 4 and Game 7 against New York. We were both losing. Actually, losing in Game 4, tied the series in Game 7. I happened to pitch well. I think the beauty of playing for the 2004 Red Sox is the team is never going to be forgotten and you could be sitting around a campfire having a cold beer in 20 years and bring up Dave Robert's name and people are going to remember him because he stole a base in Game 5, or Game 6 it was…or Game 5. That's the beauty of playing for a team like that, is because no one's ever going to forget what people did on that team.
HT: Obviously it was a nightmare for us watching it. But that's the beauty of baseball. You could be two outs away in the bottom of the 9th…it's like the Diamondbacks thing too in the World Series a couple of years ago, and even the Florida Marlins when we played them in the World Series, but you could be a couple outs away, but one stolen base or a bloop hit or an error could just…
DL: Absolutely. And we're down three games nothing, against the New York Yankees, down 3-2 in the 9th inning, and it's the best closer (Mariano Rivera) in the history of the game. And he walks the lead-off guy. I mean, thing guy probably hasn’t walked the lead-off guy in the whole year. You always use that thing, 27 outs, you play the game until the last out, and I think Game 4 is a perfect example of don't ever give up. But who’d ever thought we'd win 4 in a row, let alone 8 in a row. We were going to try to get back in this series and not embarrass ourselves and lose 4 in a row.
HT: I think this has to be one of the greatest post seasons in the history of baseball. I mean, it's not like it Game 7 like against the Diamondbacks. You guys won 4 in a row, from there.
DL: I think what makes it even more…I don't want to say impressive because I was a part of it, but Game 3 we lost, I think it was 18 to 9. They had 27 hits; they embarrassed us. I think everyone in baseball thought, OK, this is over, they're going tomorrow, they're going to beat them, move on, same old story. But we knew if we could win Game 4, and we had a Pedro Martinez and a Curt Schilling in Game 5 and 6 and who knows what would happen in Game 7, but it was an unbelievable ride and millions and millions of fans, I think, really enjoyed the 2 or 3 week stand that we played.
HT: It was unbelievable. Because I really…Obviously, I refused to believe it, but the media and everybody started talking about, well, now they have a momentum. Because we'd been through it recently with the marlins and even with the Diamondbacks and when we got 3 more games to play with, I just didn't see it as possible. But you guys…and a lot of your guys weren't playing well, you know, Damon and Belhorn. Papi (David Ortiz) was always there. But then you guys suddenly put it all together and it was unbelievable. You guys actually did it.
DL: I think of that has a lot to do with the amount of games that we play against the New York Yankees. I mean, if you are a team that doesn't play them a lot, you can get completely awed by everything that they bring to the table. That Inter League, or that unbalanced schedule, you play them 18 times. You look over the last 3 years, I think our record is absolutely identical. So we knew that we could get back into the Series, and we just had to play it one day at a time. We used the whole team all year long and there were certain guys who were struggling during the New York series, and look who basically were the heroes. Belhorn in Game 6 and Damon in Game 7, guys that weren't playing the way they would like, but we all believed in them and they turned it around and did a great job.
HT: What about this whole thing about you and Terry Francona, did you actually use it to fuel you?
DL: Yeah, because, as a competitor, you never want to be told that you can't do something. So, I was told in the Baltimore Series I wasn't going to be used as a Starter. So you use it as a motivation to…you're not trying to prove it to yourself because you know you can do it, but to just prove it to the organization and the guys that make the decision, that they may have made the wrong one. And so that was my motivation the whole Series, and it worked out.
HT: But do you still believe that up until that point that you didn't get a fair shake? Or does it not really matter that much anymore?
DL: Oh, it doesn't really matter right now. But my last 3 games of the year were terrible, so I kind of understood why…the reasoning behind it, but my reasoning back them was you can't base someone's year on 3 starts and I believe my track record in the playoffs was good enough to get a start, but it didn't work out that way. But ultimately it worked out for the best.
HT: At one point it looked like, especially with Game 4 and stuff, it looked like…no, up until Game 3 against the Yankees, it looked like maybe you won't even pitch at all.
DL: Oh they had marching orders not even to pitch me. It was as obvious as you could be. Against Anaheim, me and Curt Leskanic who got to pitch in Game 3, like I said, there were marching orders not to pitch me and then I was able to get a start in Game 4. And you could tell that they were trying to get you out of the games as quickly as they could. But like I said, they make the decisions and we kind of live by them, so to speak, but I was happy to get the opportunity to get in Game 7 and go a bit longer.
HT: But you sound like a guy who realizes how lucky a position you've been in. I mean, obviously you've been part of a great team. You've had ups and downs with Boston, but the things you've been involved with, you've had great success as a closer, you've had the opportunity to start again and do very well, being part of All-Star games, and to be the first guy to be pitching in the deciding game of all three post-season series.
DL: Yeah, again, playing there for 7 years, I've felt like, individually and team-wise, I've felt like we've done a lot of good things, but there were a lot of inconsistencies along the way. It wasn't exactly the kind of year you were hoping to have. But there's no better way to leave an organization, than when you win a World Series. Your biggest fear was, the time you left…you knew they were going to win a World Series at some point, you just wanted to be part of it. And now that you won one, I think it makes leaving there a lot easier.
HT: So, does it look like you're going to be leaving?
HT: So you wanted to leave?
DL: They kind of made it perfectly clear. You know, when they make a decision that they're not going to put you in the starting rotation and then once this World Series is over, not really speaking to me a whole heck of a lot during the playoffs and then not offering you a contract, it kind of tells you where you stand.
HT: But they offered you arbitration, right?
DL: Yeah, but they know I'm not going to take it. They do that so they can get draft picks.
HT: Oh, I see.
DL: But I have nothing but good things to say about the organization, how they treated me great. It's a classy organization, it's just a time, I think, for both sides to go different ways.
HT: But what if they came up to you after the World Series …?
DL: No, never. Never. Like I said, the old thing, the writing was on the wall. It just played out good that we won a World Series. But once the season was over, you kind of knew that in 2005 you'd be playing somewhere else.
HT: So, you wouldn't have listened to them even if they said, Look, we really want to work it out with you.
DL: Yeah, you would have listened, but I could tell that they weren't going to do that. Them not offering a contract was really not much of a shock.
HT: I want to talk a little bit about your whole Boston experience. I mean, obviously, the media and the fans--relentless. But you got to experience the ultimate stage, pitching in Yankee Stadium and Fenway. You've experienced all that stuff and the post-season, and you can pitch anywhere now.
DL: Yeah, there's this saying in baseball, if you can pitch in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, you can pitch anywhere. But there's something that you enjoy about pitching those Series too, because every game is magnitude, everything you do, good and bad, they kind of cover every little step you take. So that aspect can be kind of frustrating because some things get blown out of proportion. But, again, when you play there, you know these things are going to be attached to playing there. But if you can win there, this city will always love you for coming back there.
HT: They're going to love you, no matter what now. You, Papi, Pedro…I mean, all of you, but especially you and Papi, you guys really came up big.
DL: I think a lot of people, visiting teams, always enjoy playing Fenway and enjoy playing Yankee Stadium. But when you're part the Yankees and the Red Sox rivalry, I wish every single baseball player could feel what that's like, because it's not like any other game of the year. It's Game 7 of the World Series, even though it's April 7th. It's not like any other game.
HT: Do you personally think the turning point of this past season was when Varitek had the brawl with A-Rod? Do you look at it that way?
DL: It could have been. I think you see when you actually watched this all year long, I think it was more simple that a starting pitcher pitched well. I think a lot of people like to point towards the Veriteck fight, point towards the fact that Nomar got traded. I think I was the biggest culprit in the first half. We were just very inconsistent at the starting rotation. But once I think end of July, beginning of August, we put together about 30 quality starts in a row and I think we won about 27 of them. So I think that was the biggest thing, not just the Variteck fight.
HT: Is there like a turning point for you in your career?
DL: I would say getting back to the starting rotation. I think 2001, they brought in Urbina, and our manger at the time, Joe Kerrigan, was nice enough to put me back in rotation. And at that time I was probably getting to do something that I'd always wanted to do and start. I had a good year that year. This year wasn't the best you could hope for and I was just trying to get back to the 2002 season.
HT: But you were a very successful closer. Did the closing experience really help you?
DL: Yeah it did. I mean, I think you can use that experience in starting, because there's a point in every single game where you need to get a big out or make the big pitch. And I think if you've closed before you understand what that feeling is all about and the past success, I think it makes it easier to settle down and make the big pitches when you have to, even though you're a starter.
HT: You were kind of a natural in the Closer role. I remember one day when Peter Gammons on ESPN said “Derek Lowe is probably going to become the closer now.” I wasn't sure if you were going to be able to do it, but you were pretty natural at it. And very successful at it obviously – All Star.
DL: Yeah, I think the mentality of closers is hard throwers, intimidating pitchers, and I was everything completely opposite. I relied on control and throwing strikes and I think you see more of those guys come along the line. You know, we had a great closer this year in Keith Foulke. Not overpowering. He's got, you know, the old saying “Big Cojonians”. And he throws strikes, so I don't think there's like one formula to be a great closer. You just have to be able to pitch under pressure.
HT: Right. But do you think when you were the closer, you had Pedro in the starting lineup, do you think Boston should have got a legit, a real closer, so that you could have been in the starting lineup without you having to ask?
DL: At that time, they had enough guys and I hadn't earned the right to start yet. You just didn't want to blow any of Pedro's games. Those were the most nerve-wracking games as a Closer was when Pedro pitches. You know he's got a chance to win the Cy Young every year. But, no, they had enough quality guys. And I wasn't even on the radar screen as far as Starting goes until 2002.
HT: And also because Tom Gordon went down, too, didn't he?
DL: Yeah, exactly. I was a Set-up guy for a year and then he had surgery. And so I was the so-called next guy in line and moved in.
HT: Was it pretty much on-the-job training for you? To be pitching every day? To be closing?
DL: I think Set-up and Closing are the same way. Sometimes as Set-up guy, you pitch even more. I think I've always been fortunate to have an arm that bounces back, and so Jimy Williams was the manager at the time and he loved using the bullpen, and so I got in a lot of games, a lot of on-the-job training in '98, '99; until I was able to become a closer in 2000, so it really wasn't that big of a transition.
HT: UmHmm. Do you think you're not suited to be the bullpen type guy, you know, waiting every day? You know, eating, and munching those stuff, and napping, and all that kind of stuff?
DL: Again, it depends on where you're in your career. When you're a young player, like I was at the time, Relieving's great. 'Cause you can get in there every single day, you fail, and they put you back out there the next day. That's what happens when you're a young kid when you're Starting, you pitch bad and you got to wait 5 days, maybe an off day, 6 days. But, the older you get, those extra days come in pretty handy.
HT: Right. So, I mean, you wouldn't rule out being a closer towards the later part…
DL: I wouldn't rule out anything. I mean, I enjoy pitching. But right now you want to start. I mean look at John Smoltz: He's going back and forth, and look what he’s doing. I think he's going back to Starting. So, I think as long as you have the arm, you should do it. You know, it always leaves you up for the opportunity in your career of doing something else.
HT: But that's not an option for you right now if a team came to you and said, “We want you to close for us.”
DL: No. Not right now. No.
HT: Now, you shared the closing duties with Tim Wakefield in '99, right?
HT: So that's, I mean again, going all the way back, that's five years ago. I mean, you and ‘Wake’ went through a lot together.
DL: Actually, he's got more of my money than I do on the golf course. (laughs) We did play golf a lot. But he's been there since '95 and Varitek and I’d been there since '97. So I think that's the one thing that you miss most about leaving teams when you've been there a long time, is not necessarily the actual playing of the game there. It's the friendships that you've made along the way and I have a lot of friends there.
HT: So, were you particularly close with anybody in particular?
DL: Yeah, Wakefield. And I've lived kind of in the same community for seven years, so we have a lot of friends there. So, that's the hardest part about picking up and going somewhere else, but its part of the game and you just look forward to wherever you are in 2005.
HT: So, and you're married with two kids, right?
DL: Three, actually.
HT: Oh, yeah? And how long have you been married?
DL: Since '98.
HT: Did the future of your family life factor into your where you considered signing?
DL: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, again, this is my first time through it (free agency). So, you like to have opportunities where you can kind of pick and choose. But, you're family is definitely a priority, as far as where the spring training is and where the home city is. Yeah, I think it's still early in my career yet to be making decisions based on where I go just on that alone.
HT: Like with Hampton when he went to Colorado?
DL: Oh, Mike Hampton?
HT: Yeah, he went to Colorado because he wanted his kids to grow up there. But it kind of backfired, you know?
DL: Well, he got a lot of money.
HT: Yeah, he did, that's true.
HT: So, yeah, you gotta weigh the options.
DL: Yeah, there's so many things that go into free agency. You've got your family, you've got obviously the financial part of it. Yeah, so there's a lot of things you take into consideration. But, you know, it's a fun process and it's something eventually, you know, that you make a decision.
HT: Now, you talked about down the road you might consider being a closer. Because you'd be effective at it no matter what, now or later, I'm sure, because you've shown that you could do it at a very high level. But would you consider pitching in Japan way down the road?
DL: Uh, that'd be tough. You know what, to be honest with you, I would say no because I think if you have an effective big league career then financially you're already set, if you play long enough. And I love the game, but I don't love it that much to continue my career and go and play in Japan or in another country.
HT: Well, okay, that's interesting.
DL: I did that in 2000 in that All Star tour, to get a taste of it. But, like I said, it's probably not for me.
HT: Boston's got this notorious, sort of racist reputation as a tough sports town, you know. But, I don't know if that affected you at all, but as far as you as a player, how devastating did it get personally, being an athlete in town?
DL: I think it's a hardest thing, as far as the racism goes. And I've heard things bad there before. You know, we had Jim Rice there as a coach. And I believe back in the 70s, 80s, whatever, they might have had problems. Nowadays, I would say it's not, I would say it's zero. I mean, look at David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez, our two most popular players on our team.
HT: Boston Celtics too.
DL: Yeah, exactly. I think the hardest thing is just more the popularity of playing there. I mean, everyone knows who you are, it doesn't matter how long you've been playing there. And when you're struggling up there, people will flat out tell you what they think. And they don't care if you're in a restaurant, if you're with your family, if you're leaving Fenway. They’ll tell you exactly what they think. It's also good and bad, I mean when you're going good, they're saying the same things, but it's a positive.
HT: Did you ever get to the point where you felt like, “I'm through with this. I want to pitch somewhere else”?
DL: Yeah. It's probably 2001 I remember I blew a game against New York and I sat in the club office for like two and half hours after the game because people were just, you know...every time a player would go out, they'd ask where I was, because they wanted to let me have it.
DL: They key your car. You know, there were all kinds of incidents there but, again, that's what comes with playing. I think anyone that's played in a big city, a big market for a long time…
HT: But you never came out and said, “I want out of here!”
DL: No, I would never say that. I mean, I think when you're struggling, it makes it tough, it really does. I mean, there's so many more positives and negatives playing in a Boston and New York, as long as you can get through those hard times, its well worth it.
HT: Right, but it says something about your character to me, because so many others in your position would have said, “Look, I want out of here, or I want to be a Starter somewhere else, or I want to be Number One on another staff, so trade me!” Even last season, you could‘ve said, “if you’re not going to put me out there then trade me.” But you stuck it out!
DL: When you're in that situation, it's not going to happen. Because, I wasn't a free agent, and so all that's really going to do is create more negativity. Again, playing in these big markets, you've really got to watch what you say in the media and how you act, because if people think you want to get out of there because you don't like the city or you're afraid to pitch there, they'll eat you up.
HT: But you played through all of that, and look at the rewards now, you know?
DL: Yeah, that's true.
HT: And you got the experience of Game 4 and 7, you know.
DL: I've been through the hard times, and there's always good times in every single city. It's a matter of getting through the hard.
HT: Yeah. Because, you know, from our perspective, Kevin Brown got the same kind of opportunity that you did, but he failed, you know. But he's had a tremendous career. And even El Ducque got a shot to pitch and close it out. But you came through, so that really is…from a Yankees standpoint, we really respect you for coming through the way you did.
DL: I thank you! And I think that it's just a lot of years of playing. I probably wouldn't have been able to do that three or four years ago, because you'd probably would have been caught up in the moment or caught up in the pressure of playing in Boston. You know, the Billy Buckner thing is brought up all the time. But if you play there long enough and you have confidence that you get the job done, bringing the World Championship to Boston is probably like nothing I'll ever do again.
HT: Did you hear about David Ortiz was driving into the stadium I think before Game 4, or something? And he saw a woman crying on the sidewalk of the street with Boston gear on. And he felt that he couldn't let down the Red Sox Nation, so he was going to hit no matter what.
DL: [chuckles] I tell you, I never heard that.
HT: There are a lot of dramatic stories out there, you know?
DL: Yeah, I just know, when we won the World Series, there was all kinds of people going to families of the gravesites and open a bottle of wine, champagne, smoking a cigar. I mean, they’re beyond obsessed. Now David Wells is obviously going to Boston so he’ll get to see both sides of it and I think he'll fit in just fine there.
HT: Yeah. Well, yeah, you know, he's a Babe Ruth fan, you know, so…I kind of knew years ago that he would end up there one way or the other.
DL: Yeah, it's kind of, like you say, sometimes you gotta kinda watch what you say. He loved Babe Ruth and he believes in the curse and but now he's with the…I guess it's not a curse anymore, but now he's with the other side.
HT: Yeah, because you know, Bill Lee was saying that, he was also very… before the post season started, he was talking about how…he was very vocal about how he didn't believe in the curse because the failures of the Red Sox in the past was just…was because they didn't have smart baseball people running the team. He was very vocal about it. Even McNamara's decision to replace Clemens with Shiraldi was stupid because he pitched the same way as Clemens. And even with the integration of black players, I mean, Boston took twelve years after the integration, or two years after Jack Robinson retired already, was the first time Boston had a black player.
HT: Yeah. So those kind of thing do…I mean, whereas Bill Lee was talking about the Yankees just have been more committed even in the front office, with Steinbrenner and smart people like Cashman and their scouts, so there's no curse. So, I thought that was interesting.
DL: Yeah, I agree.
HT: Umhmm. And I think this year, all the pieces, you guys had all the pieces. And I it really was this year or nothing. Or not for a long time.
DL: Come on. You've got to look at…let's look at what they've done. They've built this team to win for this year. I mean, we had a lot of free agents at the end of the year or the beginning of the year. And, if you look, they didn't sign any of them. I mean, they had no intention of signing any of these guys because they wanted to see what happened. If we won…I really think they were going to get rid of everybody either way. So it's easier for them to get rid of guys because you won. You know, you get rid of Nomar Garciaparra,you know, we got Orlando Cabrera, and got rid of him. They can also get rid of Pedro Martinez. But a lot of guys have been there a lot of years and helped that organization win, and ultimately, and these guys have helped this organization for a lot of years to get to where they are. It takes years to win a championship, not just one year. And to have them just let everybody go, was kind of disappointing because I think what made the New York Yankees so tough for so many years, it was the same group of guys. There wasn't such a turnover as the rest of us have every year. Like I said, they make their decisions and a lot of us have moved on and whole new group of people are coming in.
HT: Yeah, because, you know, we heard so much, about the Red Sox are built for the Playoffs, so don't worry about what they're doing now, don't worry about the fact they're 14 games behind the Yankees because they're built for the playoffs, but, you know, when we're at 3-zip up, I'm a Yankee fan, of course is saying so much for "built for the playoffs," but you guys really were "built for the Playoffs," you know?
DL: Yeah, well, because you win with pitching and defense. And they got a Cabrera, a Dave Roberts, and Doug Mientkiewicz: they've got all of these defensive guys. And then they hand us our starting rotation, we had the closer, so, yeah, we were built for the playoffs. It was a matter of if we really got there, but once we got in, we felt like we could do some good things, even though we were down 3-nothing, like I said earlier, we felt like we could get back into the Series. But once we got past New York, I think, we were determined to bring a championship to Boston. And to do it in the way we did, we didn't think we'd do that, but, you know, it worked out really good.
HT: St. Louis were hot too, but you guys weren't going to slow it down, you know?
DL: Yeah, I think it was, our offense was on such a tremendous roll there. It was tough for anyone to pitch nine innings against our lineup. We scored a lot of runs. And our pitching was good.
HT: And your bullpen!
DL: Yeah. I mean, all aspects was working. I mean, the thing about the Playoffs and the World Series, it isn't necessarily the best team that wins, it's the team that gets hot. And winning eight in a row, was about as hot as you could get.
HT: Now, I've heard you saying, that it was a personal challenge for you to come up in the big game, in Game 4 and Game 7 against the Yanks, but still, it was a personal challenge and you came through, but did you ever think about, what if you blew either of those games?
DL: No, but I know a lot of people that thought that, because look how Billy Buckner got treated. The guy makes an error and he's living somewhere out in Wyoming or something, because they threw him out of town. But, no, I mean, I never thought that.
HT: Because I love how you talked about how you went just go one pitch at a time.
DL: Yeah, I did. Because that's what I thought that was the best way to go. You go into Yankee Stadium, and you think you're going to shut that lineup down for a seven, eight innings that could be overwhelming. It’s kind of a boring saying, the old one pitch, one out at a time theory, but I think it worked. I should try to bottle that up and try to bring it into the 2005 season.
HT: You really slowed things down in Game 7. Was that difficult for you? Because you tend to work kind of on the faster side, don't you?
DL: Yeah, sometimes too fast. You get going so fast you never really stop to think exactly what you're doing. But a lot of things, I tried to slow the game down because I felt like it was going to work, but also I slowed the game down because I was trying to enjoy it at the same time. That was an unbelievable atmosphere, and we got out to a big lead, and so you could kind of enjoy what was going on, and take it all in. So I was trying to slow the game down as much as I could.
HT: Right. Yeah, because it wouldn't have been the same if you had beaten the Twins in one whole thing, you know.
DL: Absolutely not.
HT: Even if you swept the Yankees 4-zip, but you did it 4 to 3, I mean, God…!
DL: It was dramatic.
HT: How was Schilling as a teammate? Was he a guy that you'll never forget?
DL: He was good. If you've ever played with the guy, you'll never forget his preparation. He's second to none. I mean, this guy's prepares, prepares, and then just prepares. I mean, this guy knows everything about what hitters are doing, about what he's trying to do. He studies during the game. But I think that taught me a lot, you know, you can't just go out and throw your glove out there and expect to have a success. But he was actually a really good teammate.
HT: I would imagine Schilling probably works out like Clemens, I mean he's probably pretty heavy duty, every day working out too, isn't he?
DL: Yeah, he does and he doesn't. I think he's just one of those guys that has a naturally gifted arm. No, he's not one of those guys that you see in working out in the gym working out for an hour and a half, but he's also going to study for three hours a day.
HT: What about you, do you work out year round?
DL: Yeah, yeah, I try to. I mean, I take about two weeks off and work out. But I think Schilling, he's just blessed with a phenomenal arm and preparation which brings him a lot of success.
HT: Right. And where are you at right now? Are you planning on getting bigger?
DL: Yeah, you try to gain as much weight as you can…
HT: 'Cause you lose it anyway, right?
DL: Yeah, in about six to eight weeks you go out and try to lift weights. Definitely during the season, you try to gain muscle mass, because throughout the course of the year you’re probably going to lose some. But when you win the Series though, by the time we do all the activities and stuff, it does cuts into your off-season time. The realization of Spring Training's two months away, you've got to get ready for the next year.
HT: But as a pitcher, do you mostly do leg workouts or do you…
DL: Oh, I do both. You're not really going to put that much on in six to eight weeks.
HT: Hitters do.
DL: Well, I mean, yeah, you could. But as a pitcher, you don't want to be in there bench pressing. I mean, you could do it, but not to the extent…you don't want to hurt your shoulder. You do a lot of legs. You do a lot of running. Sports nowadays you have to work out pretty much 12 months a year because everyone else does.
HT: Now we talked a little bit about what, when you're a Closer in the bullpen, you have a lot of time in the bullpen. But when you're a Starter, you have the four days in between. What do you do?
DL: I golf a lot.
HT: Oh yeah?
HT: So just take it easy…
DL: Yeah. We have a lot of guys that golf, so we go out and play as many courses as we could. And so, it worked out good where as far as, golf courses allow us to play and in turn we give tickets so it's one of the perks of playing for a big city.
HT: Do you do…I know, you chew tobacco, right?
HT: But are you a big drinker or smoke cigars or stuff like that?
DL: I do everything in moderation. I only chew tobacco during the season. I think and other stuff too. During the season you’re spending more time with the guys than during the off-season, you're more with your family, so you can't be doing the same with both.
HT: Would you say you've always had a fairly good work ethic, or has it gotten better over the years?
DL: I think it's gotten better.
HT: Because obviously you're a natural athlete, you know.
DL: The older you get, you realize you can't just…you have to work at it. So often, you expect your body to bounce back. But when you're younger, you don't have to work that hard because of your natural ability. The older you get, you have to work harder.
HT: Right. Now I don't know, where you're leaning towards, which teams or which league you're leaning towards. We'll know by the time this interview comes out, but in your career, you've experienced playing with, in the Mariners, A-Rod, and Junior and the Unit, and in the Red Sox, big time organization, with Pedro and Manny and Nomar and…
DL: I was very fortunate. I've seen a lot of…I've seen arguably maybe the best right hand hitter in Nomar in back to back years. Pedro's Hall of Fame career, you know, the two years he put together were unbelievable.
HT: And A-Rod, Junior and The Unit..
DL: Yeah, all on one team! So, yeah, I've been very fortunate to see a lot of great players and now be part of a World Series.
HT: Now, what's important to you, though? If you…I don't know where you're leaning towards, but you might miss some of that big time pressure, depending on where you go. But is it more important for you to step up to become the number one pitcher?
DL: Uh…I think having one World Series makes it a lot easier. I mean, it really does. If you had never won one….
HT: You have more options now.
DL: Yeah, I think, yeah, exactly, you have more options on where you want to go. But winning's always your number one priority. You always want to to somewhere where you know you've got a chance to win. But, like I said, I guess time will tell.
HT: Because I think, financially, you're gonna get what you deserve. Especially with Scott Boras representing you. And you deserve it, because of your performance. You’re obviously a big game pitcher but are you looking to become the number one somewhere?
DL: Yeah, you always want the next challenge in your career. And the last three years we had Pedro, and then we got Schilling. I think you'd love to be the guy on the rotation where the players on the team expect you to go out there and give a number one type job. But there's a lot that comes with it. You’ve got to be somewhat be a role model for the young guys, and kind of show them what you've learned throughout your career and I think the guys that I've played with have taught me a lot and you feel like it's an opportunity now to go to a city and try to bring a Championship there.
HT: I asked you about, you said you wouldn't want to play in like Japan or something like that, but is it important for you perhaps end you career in Detroit maybe, or…that's not so important.
DL: No, it's intriguing, the fact that I was a, you know, I grew up there. But I would never, you know, you'd never say never to any major league team. You have no idea where you career's going to go. There's obviously a lot of intriguing places out there. But, no, as far as where you want to play next year, or where you want to end your career, it's the old saying, that time will take care of that. You've just got to work hard and look forward to bringing your talent to another city.
HT: Right. By the way, you guys gave Nomar a full share, and a ring, didn’t you?
DL: No, they only gave him a ¾ share and I don't know if he got a ring or not.
HT: Oh, really?
DL: As far as guys who weren't there all year getting a ring, I don't know exactly how that works.
HT: I think I heard that the team decided, or the organization decided that he was going to get a ring.
DL: Oh, really? I hope they do. Again, a World Series championship is not made in one year, it's made over time.
HT: Look what he meant to the organization before, until he fell out of favors.
DL: So, hopefully he does get one. He deserves it.
HT: Because, he was in the franchise even before Pedro came into town.
HT: Is there any chance that you might settle in Boston, living in Boston in the future? Because, you know, a lot of sports stars, when they become heroes in a town, they end up living in the town that they were…
DL: Uh, probably not.
HT: Oh, yeah?
DL: Just because of, well, 1: not playing there, and 2: I'm not a particular huge fan of the cold.
HT: So you're like a Florida guy, huh?
DL: You try to live somewhere that's warm in the winter. But I know Luis Tiant lives there and Dwight Evans, and Jim Rice lives there and they reap the benefits of being a hero. I don't think they've paid for a meal yet.
HT: Right. You're a five pitch pitcher?
DL: Yeah, fast ball, change up, slider and a curve ball.
HT: So that's five, is it?
HT: Okay, sinker, cutter…
DL: Yeah, sinker, cutter, curve ball, change up.
HT: And slider?
DL: I call it cutter. I mean, it's actually a cutter or a slider, though it's more of a cutter.
HT: And a full scene fast ball, right?
HT: Now, obviously, it's important for you to have a good infield, isn't it?
DL: Uh, yes and no. I mean, you create your own. I think a lot of infields depend on how you pitch. You can have the best infield in the world, but if you're out there throwing balls and taking thirty seconds in between each pitch, you're going to bore them to death. You can put a mediocre team out there and work fast and throw strikes and keep everyone in the game and make them look really good.
HT: Right, because you're a ground ball pitcher, right?
DL: Yeah. But it doesn't guarantee success or failure either way. A lot depends on how you pitch and how you control the flow of the game.
HT: At this point, is velocity still important? Or are there things like command and delivery?
DL: Command is everything.
HT: And deception?
DL: You have to be out there six to eight innings each time. Overpowering stuff can get you by for a little bit, but you've got to be able to command the strike zone and mix it up.
HT: Right. When you've had your down years, was it because you didn't have good command?
DL: Yeah, I mean, some of it had to do with it.
HT: Because it seems like you always had a good sinker, right?
DL: Yeah, and I kind of added the other pitches over the last…I added the cutter, as a starter, the sinker, change and curve ball, as a reliever.
HT: Is it more satisfying for you to strike 'em out or to have a ground ball out?
DL: Oh, definitely a ground ball. A double play or to get a big power hitter to hit the ball on the ground is more satisfying to me than a strikeout.
HT: Right, because it's your bread and butter.
HT: When you're really on you’re pitch count stays way low too.
DL: I try and have them hit the ball as early as possible.
HT: You probably take pride in the quick games you pitch, but do you think from your experiences recently, that you need to take more time to be more successful?
DL: Um, probably, in certain situations, yeah. Especially when things aren’t going your way. You can't just play rapid-fire sometimes and I get the ball and just keep throwing it. Sometimes, things are going bad for a reason. If you can sometimes step back for a moment and assess what's going on, I think it makes you a better pitcher. But for the most part, I think working fast benefits everybody.
HT: Tell me, how difficult is it to snap out of a bad season or a bad string of starts, because Kevin Brown didn't look good in the second half and we kind of knew he wasn't going to be good in the post season, but you were able to turn it around.
DL: Yeah, I think you've always got to believe in yourself. But, as far as slumps, I mean, they're hard to get out of because I think the biggest thing what happens is you start, you overanalyze everything, instead of just realizing in the course of a year, everyone's going to struggle and try to make not that big of a deal, and you end up making a big deal of it, and instead of having one or two games, it escalates into four or five. But, I mean, slumps will happen. The good players and the good pitchers stop them probably shorter than most.
HT: Right. Because, when you're given the ball, in the stage that you always dreamed of, in the Game 7 or the Game 4 or whatever, kids…bottom of the ninth…you know, whatever, World Series, you know, kids dream of that, but when you actually get it, you know, as viewers, we actually see the fear in some players when they actually get, when they get the ball, you know?
DL: Yeah. Again, I think it comes from when you were a kid, and you always wanted the ball, you were never that kid who said ‘Please don't hit me with the ball!’ And, you know, it was that opportunity of a lifetime, you wanted to make the most out of it, not only for you, but for your teammates and the city and so that was more my mentality than fear of…You can't have a fear of failure, because you'll fail every time.
HT: Right. Because like Tony Clarke was up at bat, and it was one of those moments several times and he looked scared shitless, you know what I mean (off the record).
DL: Well, again, I mean, I think that's what makes sports great, I guess. A lot of times, unfortunately, people's careers can be marked by what you do in big games and the Playoffs, and so you kind of make a name for yourself if you can perform well, and, unfortunately, if you perform poorly.
HT: Yeah. You know, because I tell you, I've always known that you were a great pitcher because we played you so many times over the years. Because I watch every game, even living out in L.A., I watch every Yankee game every day. But, I tell you, the way you pitched and the way you responded this year in the post season, you've gotten thousands of fans from your performance this year.
DL: I've probably got a thousand fans back, because I probably lost them for a while. No, I think, this year, I hope people can kind of respect what I was able to go through. You know, everyone struggles in life, and has a bad day or a bad month, you've just got to hang in there and believe in yourself and a lot of people maybe don’t. And as far as when you get an opportunity maybe of a lifetime to pitch a Game 7 or Game 4 of the World Series. And don't be afraid to fail, go out there and enjoy it and pitch well.
HT: Have you ever wished you could work with and be taken care of by a coach like Leo Mizili or a Petersen?
DL: Uh, no, I've been fortunate. The guys we've had in Boston have always been good. But, no, I think Leo Mizili or a Mel Stottlemyre, those guys come to mind…Leo Mizili, you look at what he's done, with all the group of guys that he's had. The last year they were probably picked to come in 8th in the National League, and then they win it again. And these guys are special talents and you'd like to pick their brain for the course of the year.
HT: Yeah, I mean look at Jared Wright, you know?
DL: Yeah, exact…
HT: And people forget this guy was like the golden child for the Cleveland Indians back in…
DL: Yeah, absolutely. He got hurt and was off the map for a while, and he goes to Atlanta on a minor league deal and ends up this year reaping the benefits signing with the Yankees.
HT: Yeah. And he's not all heat anymore, you know?
DL: No, he's turned into a…Yeah, you've got to give a lot of credit to the pitching coach there.
HT: What's your take on this whole steroids issue? Is it cheating to you?
DL: No, I would say it's not, because we didn't have a policy before.
DL: You know, for the longest time, basically until last year, even last year…I didn't really study the program that they put in place. But I think they probably caught you three times before actually anything happens. I mean, this goes back to 2003 and before that. It wasn't cheating because there was no rule. So, everyone had free reign to do what they wanted and I think people got to keep that in mind.
HT: That's interesting because as a pitcher though, if second guys are hitting home runs off of you…and then you get guys like Ichiro who's doing it all natural.
DL: Yeah, but its personal choice. I mean, they weren't breaking any rules because there were no rules. And again, I hope people keep that perspective that you can't get on these guys for using steroids back before because it was perfectly legal to do.
HT: Interesting take. What about, I've heard rumors from baseball insiders that there's certain pitcher that have been taking it, and their stats have gone up. Do you…so, even with pitchers…
DL: No, I mean, you ask any baseball player, you know if someone, maybe if it’s a pitcher or a position player, maybe not a member of your team, but maybe someone in baseball. But I think the percentage of what people think use it is a lot less than maybe what is being talked about right now. I don't know what the percentage is, but…Again, just because I don't take it, doesn't necessarily mean the guys that do take it are doing anything wrong. We're all grown men and we can make decisions on our own, good or bad, they’re decisions they made…But I guarantee you this year there'll be a whole new policy for it, though.
HT: Right. You got the experience of pitching a no-hitter. Does that rank way up there with your list of accomplishments?
DL: Yes, that's a complete an individual achievement, but yeah, there's so many, a lot of teammates helped me along in that, but…I think the no-hitter, I think, Starting in the All Star Game was great, and definitely this year at the World Series tops it all. Having played a little over seven years and you look at nowadays, how long guys can play. David Wells is getting 18 million and he's 42 years old. I hope to do just as much if not more with my career.
HT: Going back to the no-hitter, was it, as a lot of people say, like a surreal feeling?
DL: It's a feeling that's hard to describe. You really honestly felt like they weren't going to get a hit. It's kind of not making much sense, but you get that feeling that you can throw the ball pretty much right down the middle and they're going to hit it at somebody. You know, I've always felt, having been part of one, and having one almost pitched against us, there's actually from the sixth inning on, there's more pressures on the hitters to get a hit than there are on you to get them out.
HT: Yeah, the interesting thing is, Mike Mussina’s come close so many times, but when he's on, he strikes them out. But in your case, your infielders can't make any mistakes.
DL: Well he almost had a perfect game against us in 8 2/3’s and Carl Everett got a hit, I remember being in the dugout, or it might have been the bullpen, either way, you could feel the intensity. Again, there's a lot more pressure on the hitters. They end up trying harder than you as pitcher, because they don't want to have a no-hitter thrown against them.
HT: Do you feel it coming at around the sixth inning or…?
DL: Um, yeah I think the sixth inning we, I might have struck out the side for maybe the first time in my career. At that point I felt, at that time, one time threw the lineup away. And it was a special day and, like I said, these are moments, no matter what happens in your career, you can always put a tape in and watch the game.
HT: And you bought everybody Tag Heuer watches, didn't you?
DL: Yeah, yeah.
HT: That's nice. Do you think you'll be wearing your ring?
DL: Every single day. I can't wait to get it.
HT: Oh, yeah? So you're not one of those guys who's just going to put it away and never wear it?
DL: No, absolutely not.
HT: Oh, yeah? That's great.
DL: It took hard work to get it. I just hope wherever I am, they special deliver it to me instead of sending it through the mail.
HT: Right. Are you a very superstitious pitcher or person?
DL: No, not at all.
HT: No, okay, cool. But you do you have your routine and your quirks when you're pitching?
DL: Yeah, you try to do similar things. I mean I don’t take the same route every day to get to the ballpark. One thing I do is I go out to the field the same time and I start throwing at the same time. That's about it. Other than that, I just try to fly by the seat of your pants type of thing.
HT: You mentioned a little bit about like Wells still pitching at 42 years old. Do you have specific long-term goals?
DL: I'll play until they take the jersey off my back!
HT: Oh, yeah?
DL: You've just to look at life as a whole. Now if you’re fortunate enough to live a complete life, and you retire at 40, you've got a long way to go. I mean what else are you going to do? And as long as I'm not embarrassing myself…I probably wouldn't end up going to a team and being a long reliever at age 40. As long as I'm playing a competitive role, and doing it at a high rate, I'll play as long as your body let’s you.
HT: Because, fortunately, with an agent like Scott Boras, the money's going to take care of itself….
DL: But again, if you played that long, if you're a David Wells or a Roger Clemens, and if you're playing at 42, you've made enough. C’mon! Money's not really an issue. You're still playing 'cause you still can. And I think that gives you more of a reason to work out at an earlier age because you know longevity is there if you keep yourself in good shape.
HT: You're the first pitcher to win all three deciding post-season games and obviously this season's performance was unbelievable. You've had a no-hitter, you've gotten 42 saves, what was it, 21-game winning season?
HT: You were close to winning a Cy Young once and you're going to be involved in more future All-Star games. How would you want to be remembered?
DL: For the Red Sox?
HT: Well, as a pitcher, as a player.
DL: Hopefully to keep pitching in Playoff games. People remember you for that. If someone says, “What to do think of Derrick Lowe in 2004?” No one's going to say, “Oh, he was 14 and 12 with a high ERA. They're going to say, “Oh, I remember the Playoff games.” On the flip side, if I were 21 and 8 and had a terrible post-season, they would remember that. But I think, the more you can pitch in the Playoffs…You know, I've closed games, started games in the playoffs and had success, you hope people remember you for that, than just what you do in the regular season.
HT: How many total games have you won?
DL: I have no idea! Not a lot, because I've only started the last three years.
HT: So you don't think to yourself: “if I win this many games, and Cy Young awards, I could still have a shot at the Hall of Fame?”
DL: No, the only way I can make the Hall of Fame is if played until I was about 75 years old, and they’d have to take my softball stats in.
HT: You think so? Because you've closed and you'd still have to win a couple Cy Youngs probably but…
DL: Yeah, like 75 wins! I mean, you're going to have to kick it in high gear here for about the next ten years.
HT: Yeah, that's true because they say even David Coen isn't a Hall of Famer, you know?
DL: Yeah. When you're talking about a Hall of Fame career, you're talking…you've done really well from probably age 22 on, where I didn't really start having a lot of success until I was 28. But you don't play the game for the Hall of Fame. You play for the love of the game and to win championships.
HT: I'm really beginning to get the feel of your attitude. You've got a very good realistic attitude and you're enjoying what you're doing and the moment. I like it.
HT: What’s the best pitching performance you had before the 2004 post season? Would that be the no-hitter?
DL: No, actually I would say the Game 5 against Oakland in 2003.
HT: Oh yeah.
DL: We were down…I would say that for me personally.
HT: Best pitching performance you've seen.
DL: Pedro Martinez. I think it was in '99 in Yankee Stadium. He had one hit, struck out 18.
HT: Best game you've seen from bullpen or been involved with.
DL: Best game?
DL: Again, the Pedro game was the best game my eyes have ever seen.
HT: Oh yeah? Not Game 7, or Game 4 of this year's…
DL: No, because…Again, I think it's different when you're playing in it, but the best game I've ever seen, you know… if that makes any sense For me personally, Game 7 was one of the best games I've ever pitched in.
HT: Pedro's been in the news so much this off season. Is Pedro one of the guys that you really always looked up to?
DL: We've actually had a very good relationship over the years and I value him as a good friend. And I think the sad thing about him is, just because it is Boston, it's not going to get any easier for him to go to New York Mets 'cause he's misunderstood. I mean, this guy does so much for the community and so much as a teammate. And I think, no one cares if he shows up, instead of being there at 4:00, he gets there at 4:45 or 5:00. As players, we don't care because we know what he brings to our team every five days. But they're going to miss him. I think they're making a big mistake by letting this guy go. Because you can bring guys in, but they're not going to be a Pedro Martinez.
HT: Right. So, it sounds like the fact that you got to play with him was a like a big highlight?
DL: Oh, absolutely. I mean, people pay thousands of dollars to watch this guy play and I was able to sit back in a chair and watch this guy for free every single day and you know, it's memories like that that you'll always remember. And plus, he's a great guy on top of it.