"It's funny," said Kison, "but I don't care that much about money. Here I am talking so much about it and if I had to, I'd play for nothing back home in Pasco, Washington. I wouldn't play every day for nothing, bin still I'd play. Money doesn't mean that much to me yet. I'm not a clotheshound like some guys on the club. To me, clothes are necessities, like food. I don't love to eat. I eat until I'm content, that's all. But it seems the more you taste big-league life the more you want—or think you want. You get caught up in things that never meant much to you before. You become something different. I'm not the same person I was a year ago, six months ago or even a few weeks ago.
"When I was a kid I admired the milkman. I wanted to be just like him someday. Then you grow up and your sights change. Your goals get larger than they were, and Pasco is no longer enough for you. I still love to go back and hunt, but I don't think I could go back and drink beer on Saturday nights for the rest of my life. Once I said I could never stay in baseball unless I was in the major leagues, that if I didn't make it, I'd return to college and get my degree. College is getting farther and farther away. I can see myself as an organization man in the minors now. I wouldn't like it much, but still I can see myself doing it. It doesn't take long in baseball before you become like everyone else. I mean, when you first come to the majors, you hear guys talking about things, like girls and stuff, and you think, that isn't me. I'll never be like that. But pretty soon you realize you'll evolve into what everybody else is. I don't think I'll mind that. It doesn't look so bad now. And when it happens all I'll think about is protecting myself up here. I know that right now there's some kid in the weeds, some kid riding a bus someplace, and he's checking my ERA in
The Sporting News
just like I did when I was in Waterbury."
Kison looked around for his waitress. "Jeez, where is she? I only ordered eggs." He sighed disgustedly and then continued, "I guess I've learned a lot. I've learned that baseball is for the owners and sportswriters and fans, and not the players. We just perform. For instance, the other night a guy came to my hotel room and asked if he could come in and talk. He said he was a Pirate fan, that he followed me closely and thought I was great. So what could I say? Anyway, he kept talking and talking about how great I was and how no one will believe it when he tells them he was in Bruce Kison's room, and all the while he's looking at me with these big eyes like I'm some kind of hero or something. Finally, I said to him, 'It isn't that big a deal, you know.' He said, 'It is to me.' Then he left.
"People idolize us too much. They give us importance we don't deserve. I am the first pitcher ever to win a night World Series game, but I don't feel important. I still think of myself as a kid. Baseball is still a sport to me. But it's a business. I'm just a piece of property. I know that. But that doesn't mean I want people to make a living off me. Take my wedding, for instance. I don't want people to make a living off my wedding. That's a helluva way to start out."
The waitress appeared with his eggs. She placed the platter in front of Kison and he looked at them for a second. He picked up his fork, picked at the eggs and then said, "I wanted them well done. These aren't well done." The waitress took the plate back to the kitchen.
"They'll probably just throw them on another plate and bring them out again," said Kison. Then he laughed a little. "That's funny. I'd never have done that a year ago. But there are a lot of things I used to do I'd never do now. When everybody's looking at you, you can't always express what you feel. I think that's the most important thing I have learned up here. I mean, you don't tell everything you know anymore."