Johnson in 2016
September 10, 1963 |
Walnut Creek, California
I expect to win. I've never been content with anything I've ever done.
I've refined my mechanics, refined my pitches. I've gotten more confidence, and I've gotten more determination. I've got a better idea what I'm doing out there.
It's hard to mix with a crowd when you're walking down the hallway and everybody else is a foot shorter. I remember hanging out with my friends, like at the mall, and thinking people were staring at me and talking about me. It made me turn inside myself. I became more shy and quiet.
I had a long conversation with Steve Carlton. He told me that on the days he pitched, he felt it was his responsibility to make everyone around him better, to lift his teammates. That's what I try to do.
I listened to all types of music, and obviously when I got to Seattle I was very much aware of the music scene there.
I learned a lot from not having success, and realizing when you do have success, how hard it is to maintain it, and what you have to do to maintain it.
Maybe I've lost a little, but I think everyone does over time. People have been writing that I'm getting old every year, and eventually they're going to be right. There's nobody in this game that's doing the same things they once did in the peak years of their career.
I threw a lot of balls and walked a lot of batters. Not something I'm proud of, but something I learned from.
I would think flying would be pretty cool. You would be able to fly away from all your enemies and get where you're going much faster. But being invisible? You probably wouldn't use that for the good of man.
When you can throw 97 miles an hour and put the ball over the plate anytime you want, it's fun.
Work hard. And have patience. Because no matter who you are, you're going to get hurt in your career and you have to be patient to get through the injuries.
Tiger Woods, Larry Bird, Wayne Gretzky, a pitcher just before a game, I would imagine they all have nervous energy. But as you perform, the nervous energy dissipates and you start to relax and you start to do what you do best.
People who say they're not nervous – I would be kind of curious to see how successful you are at what you do and how long you've done it. And what is success in your eyes? Have you separated yourself from everyone else in that craft? Or have you settled amongst the pack?
I'm tired of people questioning me because of my age. If you looked at my numbers and watched me throw and covered my birthdate, would age be an issue?