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October 7, 2004

Derek Jeter


Q. Derek, Joe just mentioned that last night you made a statement, obviously, in your first inning, similar to the Game 4 statement against the Mets in 2000. Was that on your mind when you got up to the plate, just to try to do something there and put them back on their heels like you did against the Mets?

DEREK JETER: I wish I could say -- but no, my job is to get on base, that's the bottom line. It doesn't make a difference whether it's a home run, single, a walk, you try to set the tone and get on early, try to make something happen, so I was fortunate to hit a home run, but that's not what I have been trying to do.

Q. Derek, keeping in mind the way you guys went last night, is there momentum in baseball from game to game?

DEREK JETER: No. If that was the case, we would have lost last night. So they always same momentum is as strong as the next day's pitcher. One of the things you have to realize in the post-season is usually you get some pretty good pitchers every day, so you got to forget about it, win or lose, and come back the next day, so I don't think there is any momentum. I am sure they will be ready for this ball club.

Q. What was your reaction when you heard about Kevin breaking his hand that night and how important do you think it was to have that meeting where he apologized to you guys?

DEREK JETER: Well, I didn't hear about it until after the game. I don't know exactly what inning he did it, but, obviously, you are disappointed because he is one of the guys that we need on our pitching staff. He had a meeting, said what he wanted to say. I think that probably helped out in terms of everyone understanding what happened. He let his emotion get the best of him. He is pretty emotional, he expects a lot from himself. Probably wasn't the wisest thing to do, but hopefully, he can pitch well tomorrow, but Kevin is pretty hard on himself at all times, and in that particular instance he was a little too hard on himself.

Q. Derek, the Twins have always had a big home field advantage here in this building. You guys have really played well here over the past few years. Why do you think that is?

DEREK JETER: I don't know. It's a little different now, when they had the old turf it played a lost faster, a lot quicker. This is a little slower, but it's still difficult if you haven't played on it before because it's funny hops, it's -- the surface is kind of weird. So yeah, they have the home field advantage here because they are used to playing here, but this year, as well as in years past, we have always been a pretty good road team, so I don't think it really matters where we are playing. The bonus of playing on the road is an opportunity to get up first.

Q. So Derek, the Yankees set a record this year for come-from-behind victories. Is there something about why it unfolds that way, something about this ball club?

DEREK JETER: I don't know if that's really a good thing, we have fallen behind early. But we have got some guys who can hit, to say the least, and one through nine we got guys who can beat you. If it's not Alex one day, it's Sheffield. If it's not Posada, it's Bernie. If it's not Bernie, it's Matsui. So we know we put together a stream of quality at-bats and we understand that the game is 9 innings, it's never over until it's over, so anytime you have been able to accomplish something as a group, we have been doing it pretty much the whole year.

Q. Derek, how encouraged were you about the way that Kevin Brown threw last weekend in Toronto?

DEREK JETER: He pitched extremely well. I think the first time out he was probably a little rusty when he pitched against Boston, and then when he pitched in Toronto, it seemed like he had a little life in his ball. I know from facing him when he was in San Diego he is not a guy you enjoy because he doesn't throw the ball straight, so his problems have only been his health. When he is healthy, he is up with the top pitchers in the game, so tomorrow he will be fine and give us an opportunity to win, but he is as good as they come when he feels good.

Q. One of your teammates said that last night's post-season game, it's as if you are playing a regular season game. You don't make it bigger than it is. Is that the approach you have?

DEREK JETER: I think it's the only approach you can take. Baseball is baseball, whether it's in April or in October. It's just the stakes are a little bit higher. I think there is more question, you are under the microscope a little bit more, but it's still the same game. So I just try to take the same philosophy. You have to enjoy yourself, still have to have fun. It's all I have known since I have been 21 years old, is playing in October, so this is the time you have to enjoy.

Q. Derek, as one by one, the guys who were veterans when you came in are gone, and it's just a handful of guys left from '99, 2000, that era. Do you feel that you have to do more, say more, do more to set a tone than in the past, not just because you have the title of captain, but because of the circumstances around you?

DEREK JETER: Not really. I have said time and time again, even though the personnel changes on the team, I understand my responsibility. You know, I don't try to do anything differently now than I did my first year, my second year. I have always said things to people, it doesn't necessarily have to be in a group meeting, but I have always -- whether it's one-on-one, you know, a few times I will speak up. I have probably spoken up more in the last few years than the couple years before, but I have always had that responsibility for a while.

Q. Last year before the games here a lot was made about how much of a factor the crowd noise can be. You guys were able to take it out pretty much by scoring a lot of runs early, 3-nothing in the first game and 6-nothing in the second game here. Is there another way you can do something to block out or not make that a factor, and did you see that as the biggest reason that you won last year?

DEREK JETER: The crowd we played in New York -- this is going to be louder than the crowd in New York. Here we did score early last year, sort of took their fans out of the game, but we are used to noise. It's been like that year after year, playing in the post-season in New York, but here the fans are great, they support their team, especially the last couple years, the last three years they have been winning, but the best way to keep the fans out of the game is to try to score early and get a lead.

Q. Derek, you obviously have the ability, personally, to help beat teams in a lot of ways. You have power. You don't need me to list them for you. Does your ability to have a well-rounded game help give you that confidence that you have out there, to know that you can beat a team with speed or with a hit or with a home run or with fielding?

DEREK JETER: The way I look at it is there is many ways to win games. It doesn't necessarily have to be a home run. It can be a bunt where you set somebody else up. So I think you get to this point of the year, like I have said time and time again, there aren't too many high-scoring games, it's usually low-scoring close games, so a bunt in the third or fourth inning can be the difference in a game, and I just try to pay attention to the little things. You know, every out is important. I think every play, every pitch is something that you have to pay attention to. So I try to focus on the details of the small things and that helps us win or lose games.

Q. Could you talk about just two things quick: One, how much you have gotten to know Kevin Brown as a teammate, and secondly, do you think he senses that tomorrow is a chance for vindication for him after what happened last month?

DEREK JETER: Brown is kind of -- he is kind of quiet, he keeps to himself a little bit. I am not saying there is anything wrong with it. But I got to know him a little bit. I know that he expects a lot from himself. He expects to go out there and pitch well every night, every day he pitches. I think he probably would view tomorrow being a big game for him. He wants to do well. But he has been in these kind of situations before. He has pitched in the playoffs, pitched in the World Series, he has come up big for his team, so in that sense I don't think it's anything new for him, but I would expect him to go do his best.

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