To start this final day of the season, here’s a little more Andy Pettitte after his brilliant farewell performance.
Feel good that you don’t have to be hard on yourself about this one?
“That’s a good feeling. The last thing I wanted to do was be in here saying, ‘Man, I hung a slider! Game-tying home run! Can you believe this?’ And have to live the rest of my life with that one. I’m hard on myself, and I hate it that I’m like I am and built the way I am, because sit in here and tell all the other guys around me, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself, you pitched a great game. Think about the positives.’ But I feel like I feed off the negative a little bit sometimes as far as in my pitching, so I’m very thankful that there was no regrets in this one as far as pitch selection.”
How do you want to be remembered?
“I hope people remember me, and I know that my team will, I hope I was just a positive influence on people. I hope that I pushed people toward Jesus and tried to be as positive as I possibly could for everybody that surrounded me on these fields and stuff. And I hope that people look at me as somebody who went out there and gave it my all. I worked my tail off, played this game as hard as I could. I feel like I’ve milked every ounce of talent out of this body that God gave me. Never a hard thrower. I don’t really feel like I was ever a guy who had great stuff. Never able to strike out a lot of guys. Just kind of feel like I gritted and willed my way through games. I thank the Lord for giving me that ability and putting it inside me to be able to focus and get locked in and be able to relax and make pitches out there when I had to.”
Think about farewell moments like this when you came back?
“I didn’t think about that when I came back. It was more like, after I came back and I knew I was going to retire at the end of this year, and then whenever I started talking to some of the guys over a couple of months and they knew I was going to retire, and they were saying, you need to say something. And of course, I didn’t want to take any attention away from Mo or take attention away from the games or anything like that. I’m so thankful I did. That was one thing I regretted was that I never got to say goodbye to the fans. Obviously the 15 years in New York, but then the three years here and how great they were here and how great of a club we had here and stuff like that. It’s almost, for me now, just as important here. To finish it up here was absolutely incredible.”
Focused strictly on the task at hand, or reflecting at all during the game?
“I was. The whole day was hard. Just because everybody, before the game, I felt like guys were a little bit more around me than normal, and we were talking about stuff, and what a great run it’s been. So, it’s absolutely crazy. I found myself already getting emotional before the game, and I was like, this is not good. I mean It’s not good. And then during the game, underneath the tunnel, Guys just hanging down there and stuff like that, because I was sitting down underneath in between innings. I found myself an awful lot thinking about everything. It was awesome.”
Did it really feel like a postseason game?
“It was. The guys in the dugout were battling. I felt like we had to grind to score the runs that we did. It definitely felt like that, I felt like that as far as with my focus. The way the game was playing out, you know that one mistake could seriously cost you. And obviously I’ve pitched here, so I know that one mistake can really cost you, especially with that short porch in left field. It was, it was a big game. You’re trying to make pitches. My focus was, I would say, like playoff time.”
Associated Press photos