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October 16, 2004

Joe Torre


Q. The Yanks have historically been successful in the post-season after taking the first two games. Do you think as you sit here now that that stat helps, hurts or does not matter?

JOE TORRE: I don't think it matters. You win two games but you realize how important the next game is. You know, you can't think in terms of "all we have to do is," you know, after you win two games. Because once you get caught into that, now you lose a game and all of a sudden the percentages change a lot. So you really have to think each game is the most important game you're going to play. I mean, you manage each game like it's a series unto itself. In a short series, momentum changes so quickly, and that's the one thing that you really have to try to guard against.

Q. We hear so much about how this type -- this series between these two teams takes so much out of these to teams. In your opinion do you think it does drain more from these teams, than if you were playing the Angels or anybody else in the playoffs, and whether it's possible to get out of this series as a winner without limping out?

JOE TORRE: Well, it certainly, there's so much emotion in this series. You know, last year, and of courses the World Series with the Mets in 2000, that type of thing really drains you, it really does. But last year, winning Game 7, especially the way we did, you know, we had a World Series game to play in two days. You know, it was like you were going to the beach. It was a nice feeling. But this, I tell you, not only the post-season, but you limp out of here any weekend during the season that you play these guys or they come to our place. It's just the way it is. It was that way long before I got here, and you really can't get a feel for it until you experience it.

Q. Do you find that the media and fans agonize more over these day-to-day pitching selections than you do?

JOE TORRE: Evidently, from the questions and why but it's understandable. Especially in the pitching situation when you have four days, every fifth day and you have a chance to pitch this guy, and the situation we're sitting in right now, you know, when people start asking me about Game 6 and Game 7, you cringe, don't even want to think about that because you're hoping that Game 3 you win and Game 4 you win, just like Terry is hoping he wins every single game from here on out. It's something you really don't want to think about because you can't really plan that far in advance because you need to win every single game. But the fans for certain, just the experience I have going out to lunch, walking down the street and shopping and stuff, which I've done the last couple of days, people are saying, "good luck, but I can't root for you," stuff like that. I love this city. It's a little different I guess when people walk through the turn styles here, but out on the street, other than the bus route we take; then you've got to count the digits up, the digits or the thumbs, you're not sure what you're counting. (Laughter.) You know, it's good fun. I think it fuels the whole thing, and as I say, as long as it's competition, it's win a game and you stay away from the ugly stuff. It is baseball and it should be fun even though as we talked about how grueling it is, it's still a great competition.

Q. Okay, Joe, here's the pitching question: Is there any chance that the outcome of tonight's game might alter your plan for tomorrow in terms of El Duque?

JOE TORRE: I say no. But you never know what circumstances could contribute to you changing your mind. But at this point in time, I don't anticipate tonight's result having anything to do with our starter tomorrow. I mean, to me, and again, we're going to go down this road, if you decide to, you know, not pitch Duque tomorrow and then if for some reason you need him later on in the series, now if you didn't feel good about him pitching Game 4, you know, how is he going to feel about pitching Game 6 or 7 or whatever? So I think it's a psychological thing; you're playing with people's lives at this point in time and when a guy gears himself to pitch a game, you certainly don't want to take away from that. And again, I don't think it's going to hurt Moose to have an extra day. Any time you pitch in a series like this and you can get an extra day, it's an advantage for you, because, you know, every single pitch seems to take a lot out of you.

Q. With him being so routine-oriented?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, there's no question, when we make the decision, certainly Moose is a part of that. We say this is what we want to do and this is our plan and he'll tell Mel or -- Mel mainly because he has more conversations with him than me. We didn't have any evidence that he was going to have a problem.

Q. How does this place play differently on windy nights?

JOE TORRE: Well, I'll give you an example. The last time we were here, who was it? I think it was Manny hit a ball -- or, no, no -- it was Ortiz hit a ball that was going into the stands down the left field line way foul, and Matsui didn't go after it and all of a sudden it was fair, you know, and Ortiz didn't leave home plate because it was so far foul. So you really can't anything for granted here. You just have to make sure you keep an eye on the ball and just try to stay with it. Obviously that proved to Matsui and the rest of us, because everybody, even in the infield, when I went out to the mound to make a pitching change, Jeter was laughing because it was so far afoul. It wasn't like somebody loafed after it; it was just one of those things.

Q. In light of the mixed signals the Red Sox have given out on Schilling the last couple of days, where do you think the truth lies, how healthy do you think he really is?

JOE TORRE: Well, obviously they wouldn't be taking this time and you can see some discomfort he's had, not only in this series but previous games; that there is a problem. But the one thing we have to make sure is that we don't concern ourselves with who is pitching because it's not healthy for us to do that. It's tough enough trying to figure out what we're doing or that we do it right than to wonder who our competition is going to be as far as the pitcher. But I think it must be significant because I don't think anybody would go out of their way to be that dramatic about it if it wasn't the case.

Q. Derek Jeter said playing here is like playing arena baseball. You've done very well in the post-season against them here, any reason why you would do well here?

JOE TORRE: I really don't know, other than it's the post-season and, you know, we've been pretty fortunate and we've had some experience. But we haven't done well this year; I think we won one game in each series this year here before the post-season. So it is -- you're in scoring position at any place, even in the batter's box here. The conditions or the pitcher, I was just telling some of the media that this is one ballpark where you tell the kids when you're teaching players that you don't make the first or third out at third base, but it's certainly not necessarily a bad play to try to steal third here with two out because it's so tough to score from left field, with a single to left field, from second base, because it's so shallow. So you've got to really be on your toes here because the ball bounces funny and you really have to have some experience to help you. I know Matsui has gotten better in left field and Manny has gotten a great deal better but that wall isn't easy.

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