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October 21, 2003

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: First question for Joe Torre this evening, please.

Q. Can you talk about the experience of your ballclub and how it seems to, more times than not, just eventually show up in these type games as the game is finished off?

JOE TORRE: Well, there's no question that experience is something I favor all the time. I think the fact, what happened in the first inning where we malfunctioned and Moose just kept it together and patience. The whole thing, I put so much weight into the experience end of it, maybe probably because I hadn't played in postseason myself. I watch Andy Pettitte, for one, always stuck in my mind, how he pitched well and progressively pitched better after '96. But experience is all about patience. Josh Beckett was not easy tonight. He didn't give up anything. We just didn't expand our zone. We stayed within ourselves, and, of course, Matsui, this guy's incredible.

Q. Two separate questions. Bernie, the fact that obviously he's played a lot of playoff games, but to now have the home run record and the RBI record has to be incredible. I'd like you to comment on that. Then I'd like you to talk specifically about Jeter's performance today? The fact that he had the only three hits off the guy, Beckett?

JOE TORRE: We were aware of that. He kept wanting to come up again. I'm not sure about the record. Bernie, it's great what he's accomplished. I think it's tough to compare the 18 home runs Mickey hit in the series then count all postseason, more opportunities. Not that what Bernie's numbers aren't terrific, but I think they should be separate categories. Bernie Williams, again, he's that guy that just appears like he's not paying attention and all of a sudden he'll explode. That ball in the ninth inning, I wasn't sure it was going out because he hit one earlier, first time up, I thought he killed it. It just stopped right there. Jeter, it took me 30-something years to get to the World Series. He thinks it's an every-year occurrence. You look in his eyes, you see something special because he's a leader, he was a leader when he was 20 years old. He's dealing with some physical problems, but it doesn't keep him from needing to win. He had to work. As I said, Beckett is not easy. We watched him on TV, our scouts couldn't praise anybody any higher than they praise him. But Derek Jeter is, again, I like to believe they're all special, but I been watching this guy for eight years.

Q. How comforting is it for you, as a manager, to get a one-run lead in the eighth inning, bring in Mariano and have him throw like that?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, well, Zim was grilling me all eighth inning where everybody was hitting in the line-up. This National League stuff, even though I've done it for a long time, I haven't done it for -- lately. But, yeah, I mean, we had Mo up and Nelson was gonna come in if it was a tie game. But there was no question. Mariano pitched on Thursday. If we got a lead, he was gonna be the pitcher. It is very comforting. He is such another big-game guy. He keeps his head about him.

Q. Usually, guys like Barry Bonds get intentionally walked. Could you talk about the situation where you walked Pierre and what went through that decision?

JOE TORRE: I left it up to Mike. He pitched so well up to that point. Left-handers really don't bother him. But I think Pierre gave him a tough time tonight. Again, you can make a good pitch on Pierre and all of a sudden he'll put it in play and you'll wind up watching him round the bases. But I sent Mel out. I said, "Just give him a choice." Normally, he likes to pitch to everybody and maybe have them get themselves out. But he chose to pitch to Castillo.

Q. With Soriano struggling as he is, have you given any thought to maybe moving him down in the line-up?

JOE TORRE: Well, it's tough to do that when you're playing in a National League game or ballpark, basically, because where do you move him? If you move him down to eighth, you have to deal with selectivity. You're hitting in front of the pitcher, they're not gonna throw you many strikes. Right now, again, he's a little like Bernie where, all of a sudden, he can turn it around and we'll see. He's struggling now. No question. It looks like he's feeling for the ball. Hopefully, we can get him a hit and start something going. But I don't -- I really don't plan on making any changes tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about Mussina's performance? Was there a point during the game where you thought this might be another tough-luck outing for him?

JOE TORRE: Well, when that thing happened in the first inning where -- you talk about a loud ballpark. It looked like Bernie called it, called Garcia off. Neither one of them called it. Garcia saw Bernie trying to make the catch and he sort of backed off. I was really proud of Moose, how he held everything together at that point in time. The rain delay is never something that you look forward to, especially in the middle of the game. I think the rain delay was short enough where it didn't affect either pitcher. Mike Mussina, Rick Cerrone just told me that in the whole postseason, he hasn't pitched with a lead yet. The fact that every game he has pitched he's given us a chance to win, tonight was terrific. I know that outing he had on Thursday, I'm sure helped his confidence tonight.

End of FastScripts...

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