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October 18, 2003

Joe Torre



Q. How much of an effect with what happened in Game 7 for Boone and Giambi will have in this series? Do you think their struggles are similar, pressing-wise, or mechanical, whatever?

JOE TORRE: It's tough to answer that question. That Boston series was so much tension. I mean, it was very difficult. Booney, I think Booney more than anybody else. Booney, I think every at-bat, tried to make up for stuff that didn't happen. I think the fact that he hit that home run, obviously, it was a huge home run for us, that it probably will help him more than Jason. I think Jason, he's done it here. He's been comfortable here. He just went through a tough time in a postseason. But, again, all the stuff he didn't do in the postseason didn't count anymore because we won. I think that alone, aside from the two home runs, is the fact that I think Jason's fine. But I think Booney probably will feel that he's accomplished and he's helped, more so than Jason.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Florida's speed and how you expect that to factor into this series?

JOE TORRE: Well, that's a big part of what they do. We certainly rely a lot more on our scouts for this series than we did the last series, not that we didn't get input from them. But having played the Red Sox so often, we knew a lot of the stuff. But with the Marlins, and knowing what they tell us and watching what we were seeing, you realize that, first off, they don't go away; they don't get down. I mean, they were down to two great ballclubs and they just kept playing hard. But the speed is definitely the one thing you think about when you think about their club. They have people who can hit home runs and all that. But the speed is something that can disrupt, can move defensive people out of their proper positions and do a lot of things. I think it's gonna put more pressure on our pitchers to try to keep their men off the bases. For sure, the speed is something that, for years, I think all managers would like to have in their back pocket to use.

Q. What do you see going on with Soriano with the play, with struggles? Did you consider taking him out of the leadoff spot?

JOE TORRE: No, I didn't. The only time I took him out of the leadoff spot in the postseason was for Wilson, Pedro. Soriano is a little bit like Bernie Williams for me. He doesn't give you much warning when all of a sudden he starts hitting. He's so explosive. He can do so many things. I kick myself in the rear end for the other night. I'm just glad we won. When it was bases loaded and Timlin had just walked Garcia on four straight pitches, then he threw ball one to Soriano. I gave him the take, 1-0. Only because he, you know, wasn't very selective. It looked like Timlin was just -- looked like he had trouble throwing strikes. But, to me, Soriano, all of a sudden, will "boom. The thing about it, he's not a one-way player. In other words, he doesn't have to pull the ball to get hits. He can hit the ball down the rightfield line, rightfield, through the middle. I think it's probably the fact that we won the series will give him a little extra air in his lungs, too. I don't consider moving him because, as I say, he's so explosive. He's such a threat out there.

Q. For you, personally, since the home run, has life been kind of a blur or is it pretty much like previous years?

JOE TORRE: No, it's not like previous years. The years we have won, we had never been tested in a Game 7. We really weren't relishing playing the Red Sox because we knew how tough they were offensively. Not that, you know, we thought we'd have an easy time with Oakland. It was just the fact we knew, playing them 19 times, how difficult it was. As far as me, that series, the World Series in 2000 against the Mets, it's just not at the ballpark, it's everywhere around you. I think there was a lot more pressure, a lot more tension. Didn't sleep very well. But that game lasted -- I mean, that series lasted five games. This series, going to Game 7 and understanding no matter how hard you play and how well you perform, if you don't win against the Boston Red Sox, it's a failure.

Q. Does that make the World Series anticlimatic?

JOE TORRE: I don't know about anticlimatic, hopefully it will make it more fun. To me, it's just like trying to qualify for something. I think once you get there and make the Olympics, I've never done that, but the Olympics, knowing athletes, what they have to go through to qualify for the Olympics, and that's why you see so many of them enjoy themselves in the Olympics, because getting there is the tough part and being a part of it is very important.

Q. Who is your Game 2 starter and how does the rotation stack up after that? And what went into your decision on both the Game 2 and whatever you're planning for the rest of the series?

JOE TORRE: Well, it's interesting. Thursday night, we really didn't care or know who was gonna pitch. Actually, as of last night when we left here after our meetings, we didn't know for sure. What we did, we figured that Boomer was the only one that was physically qualified to pitch Game 1, of our four starters. We could have gone somewhere else. And Game 2 and 3, we talked to both Pettitte and Mussina yesterday and said that -- we just told them Mel and I were sorting it out, trying to figure out which way to go. We didn't have it until we came to the ballpark today. Andy's done well at home, so pitching Game 2. If it does go beyond 4 and 5, he'll have Game 6 and that will be at home also. Moose threw us 30-something pitches the other day. He threw again today. So he should be fine for Tuesday. Then Roger will pitch Game 4.

Q. I was wondering what you thought of everybody kind of perceives this as a David-versus-Goliath situation. How do you feel about that?

JOE TORRE: I think Mr. Steinbrenner, we're always Goliath because of how much money he spends, we're supposed to win and all that stuff. But, again, that team on the other side of the field, they don't know that they're not supposed to win. The only people who figure that are the ones, I guess, who look at us like we should be the favorites, we should have no problem. But we know better. We know when a team plays hard, the field is level. Not only playing hard, but they have the ability to get here, going through the San Francisco Giants and then the Chicago Cubs, especially that Cubs series, having to win three straight and going there for the final two. But we're used to it. We're used to being the team that's supposed to accomplish. When you go back just a couple of years ago and losing Game 7 the way we did in Arizona and everybody perceiving our season as a failure, so you know where we sort of shake out here in postseason and what's expected of us.

Q. You've obviously seen the starters take cuts in the past in the postseason. Do you worry at all, ever, when the series switches to the National League parks as far as relievers, starters?

JOE TORRE: I really don't worry about that part of it. My concern is to make sure I'm on my toes with what I have to do because managing is so different when you manage in National League rules, American League rules. You really have to be aware of where the pitcher is at all times, when you want to double-switch. We added an extra pitcher. We have Hammond eligible. We took Almonte off basically because there may be an inning you need one pitcher just to get the last out of an inning, so you can pinch hit. So I think that's more of a concern for me because we haven't done it all year, other than spring training. So I think that's more, as I say, of a concern.

Q. Considering that this is baseball's biggest stage, considering the emotion of the Boston series and then everything that went into the Boston series, are you surprised, curious, wondering why your principal owner hasn't been more vocal?

JOE TORRE: No. I mean, I learned a long time ago that whatever, whether he's vocal or isn't vocal, it can't be a surprise. It's his ballclub. He certainly has the right to feel and say what he wants. I tell that to my club every year. You may hear something or you may say something, just don't take it personally because he's a passionate guy, he wants to win, he expects to win. He doesn't have patience for not winning. This is nothing new. This is nothing you're hearing from me you didn't already know. Whether he chooses to speak or not speak, my concern is my team. My job is to get our club ready to play and hopefully succeed.

Q. Chris Hammond sounded very, very disappointed before the last series when he was left off of the roster. Can you tell us a little bit about how you went about telling him that he would be on the roster, how he reacted to your informing him of this and how you see yourself using him?

JOE TORRE: Well, I don't know how we'll use him. I know that he's been effective against right-handers, and left-handers, I'm not concerned because we have two other guys coming out of there. When I told him he was not a part of the Championship Series roster, he was disappointed. I mean, I certainly wouldn't want him to say, "Oh, that's good." I mean, I don't want a pitcher on my team or a player on my team that wants not to be a part of it. Then when I told him today, actually -- Brian Cashman and I decided late yesterday afternoon or early evening, which way we were gonna go. Brian called me at 9:30 this morning, because we had to have it in by 10, to see if I had any second thoughts. We didn't really tell those guys until today. I told Almonte, actually I got to the ballpark about a quarter after two today. They didn't have to be here till 4:45. I told Almonte first because he got here ahead of Hammy. When I told Hammy, he gave me the same reaction he gave me when I told him he wasn't gonna be, "Okay, thank you." He's always been respectful. I certainly would be a little concerned if he takes not being part of a postseason roster as, you know, "No big deal."

Q. Does it take guts to move Jason to number 7 in a game like the other night, and, also, can it be a positive statement to the other players?

JOE TORRE: Well, no, I don't think we have to make a statement to the other players. They see the way I treat people. Again, it doesn't matter how much you make or how many home runs you hit, we have one purpose here and that's to win games best we can. I make line-ups out or play players just because I think that's the way we can win on a daily basis, not because somebody's making this kind of money or he's a friend of mine or I don't like him. So as far as making a statement to the other players, I'm trying to win a ball game. The way Jason accepted that, again, didn't surprise me. But it certainly made me feel good about the respect he has for the decision. Again, it was just a crap shoot the other day. I just felt I wanted to do something different because he was struggling. I thought maybe because he takes so much responsibility upon himself that just let me get him out of this fish bowl and see what happens. He certainly responded. Not necessarily because we moved him to 7, but maybe he felt less pressure; I don't know.

End of FastScripts...

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