Whatever I'm going to try to do I try to do as well as I can. In baseball, where there's no such thing as being perfect, you can always do better. If I've made a mistake, I want to be aware of it. You make a lot of mistakes in ball games. You get away with maybe 50% of them, maybe more sometimes. But when you make a mistake you can't just slough it and forget it.
What do you think drives you?
I think it's just competition. I'm the same way about everything. I want to win, and I want to do things well. And I want to be capable of doing my best. If I were to go out and get beat and then realize after the game that I got beat because of something I did the day before...to me, that'd be the worst way to lose. Now, if I get beat because of something I couldn't do or didn't do on the field, at least I know I gave the best I could. But if it was something that happened off the field....
You mean like not getting enough sleep or running around or something like that?
Well, let's say it's hot and you want to go swimming, and you swim for an hour and all of a sudden your arms are tired, you're stiff. If I could look back at that and see how it cost me a ball game, I'd be disturbed with myself. I'd be wrong. I'd be wrong for myself and I'd be wrong for 24 other guys, because I wouldn't be capable of doing the best I can. I'd be ashamed of myself.
Nobody else would know what you'd done.
I'd know it. When I get beat, I want it to be on the field. I don't want to beat myself the day before. So I'm careful. After I pitch a game I say to myself, "Well, this is my day, my night," and I'll go out. I might go out the next night, possibly, but the third night and the night before I pitch I sort of cool it a little bit.
What else do you cool during the season?
I give up golf. I don't know whether golf hurts my pitching, but it's not worth taking the chance. Especially if you've seen me play golf. I'm not going to make a living playing golf. Two or three years ago we had an off day one Monday. I had pitched Sunday, so on Monday I went out and played golf, and then we went to San Francisco and I started a game and got knocked out in the first inning. I didn't think about the golf at the time, but about three months later I played in a Dodger golf tournament and the first time I pitched after that I tore something in my shoulder. I began to think maybe it wasn't a coincidence.
Couldn't you play golf but swing a little easier?