Q: This is the time of year when you get booked for commencement addresses. Do you have a prepared speech to give?
A: I just wing it. Last week, my good friend Mitch Modell, from the sporting goods company, I spoke to his group. About 1,000 people. I was eating first with the senior vice president. He asks me, “What are you going to talk about?” “I don’t know.” “What, are you bull (bleeping) me? There’s 1,000 people and you don’t know what you’re going to say?” “No I don’t.” “Any idea?” “No.” “C’mon, you’re telling me you’re about to speak to all these people and you don’t know.” “That’s right.” But when I do get up there, then I know what I’m going to say.
Q: A prayer first?
A: No, you look at the crowd and get the feeling of what they want to hear. Then I just do it.
See, when I first started, (bleep), I was so nervous about public speaking. I couldn’t eat. I was afraid I’d forget what I wanted to say. But now, I don’t give a (bleep) how many are out there now. I feel comfortable up there talking.
Q: Just like when you’re up on the stadium video screen before the game telling people in the park the rules of fan conduct — Don’t run on the field, don’t interfere with a ball in play, and don’t use profanity.
A: That’s when the fans start laughing, right?
But you know, when I was asked to do a book recently, the author wanted to include all the profanity. I didn’t want that. “But that’s how you speak,” he said. “I don’t give a (bleep), I don’t want no profanity in the book. I want my granddaughter to read the book. I would hope it would be in libraries. No profanity. If you don’t want it my way, we don’t do it.
But … I’ve been married 63 years. I’ve never used one word of profanity in front my wife, or my daughter, or my granddaughter … or anybody else’s wife.
My God, look at the words people use today. They use profanity like it’s nothing. Christ almighty. When I was growing up, I never heard people swear the way they do today.
Hey, I know, when I’m in the clubhouse or on the field, I’m bad. I know that. One time Billy Buckner (with the Chicago Cubs) beat us on a Friday night with a double off Tommy John. He beat us Saturday with a homer off Mike Garman. Sunday, I hold a team meeting. I got really (bleeping) mad. “I want him (bleeping) drilled when he comes up”… I went on and one. Finally, Don Sutton jumps up with a counter and says, “You just used the F-word 144 times and this meeting isn’t even over.”
I admit it, I’m bad on the field. But never when I speak to a group. Never. Not even a men’s club. You never know who’s the crowd — a priest or preacher or rabbi. Just don’t do it.
Q: Then people must try to egg you into it. How many times do you get asked about “your opinion of Kingman’s performance?”
A: They still bring it up! They do. You’d think they’d forget it. I know I haven’t forgotten it. It’s quite often.
But you know what gets me? They’ve got a recording of that out there on the Internet. People hear that? My wife, who’s never had a computer, I hope she never hears me on that.
Q: On my computer, it says you’re big on social media and the Internet — 90,000 followers on Twitter.
A: I don’t even know what that means. It’s scary, really scary, to me.
Q: On your Twitter feed, there’s a picture with you and Taylor Lauter. Do you even know who he is?
A: What does he do?
Q: An actor. You must get your picture taken all the time with people you don’t even know who they are.
A: Yup. Hey, people write to me, I send them a picture.