home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 7, 2003

Joe Torre


Q. Did you somehow expect that all along it would be you and Boston?

JOE TORRE: Well, you know, I think when you saw what kind of club they were all year, that you knew they were one of the better clubs, the better hitting clubs. And I give Oakland a lot of credit, losing Mulder the way they did, and to still do what they did getting to post-season. But with everything so fresh in the post-season, you lose a game, you lose two games and then once you start winning, obviously you're capable. Good teams can win three games in a row. It did not obviously surprise me that we are playing Boston, because they are so good.

Q. Lineup and rotation?

JOE TORRE: I can't give you a lineup, only because I haven't put one together. The same players will be playing that have been playing, but I just haven't put it together, not for any particular reason other than I just haven't sat down to do it and I haven't given it to my players yet. But the rotation will be Mussina, Pettitte, Clemens and Wells.

Q. Your consideration of Clemens in Game 3 at Fenway, did you think about '99 at all or is that too long ago to consider that as a problem for Clemens?

JOE TORRE: We just came off a series where our pitchers pitched well and that's really what I gave the thought to more than anything. I mean, Roger, and knowing how we like to do it, we like to split left-handers up. That's basically the only way you can line them up to do that, with Mussina starting the first game and having Andy go the second game. I really did not consider where; it was just that we pitched well and I just kept it that way.

Q. Are you making any roster changes or is it the same 25?

JOE TORRE: Again, I haven't told the players yet but there is a chance we'll change.

Q. Having grown up with all of the New York rivalries, Yankees against the Dodgers and Giants, Giants and Dodgers and then managed with the Cubs/St. Louis and gone through Yankees/Mets, where does the Yankees/Red Sox rank and what makes it different?

JOE TORRE: Well, you've got that East Coast energy. I remember when I was broadcasting for the Angels and interviewing Freddie Lincoln, when he went out and played on the West Coast I asked him what the difference was. He said the energy; he missed the energy back east. The only thing that would come close to this rivalry for me is when I grew up in the '50s and having the Dodger/Giants rivalry, were incredible. It was warlike. And more so in those days because players didn't change teams as often. I think evidenced by the fact that when Jackie Robinson was going to get traded to the Giants, he decided to retire instead. That's where the hatred was. I think this rivalry is better than any rivalry that's going on right now. I was in St. Louis and you're right, that Cubs/St. Louis rivalry, it was pretty intense, but I think this, energy-wise, is bigger.

Q. Is the loss in Game 1 against Minnesota a wake-up call, because it was really such a sloppy game; was there anything that you can pinpoint, turning it around so quickly, scoring first in the second game?

JOE TORRE: It was a sloppy game and by the time 48 hours passed it got a lot sloppier, too, and we had not played the next game yet. I just think -- I don't want to say overprepared, but overhyped more so than anything else. The players were ready to play. They took nothing for granted. I think they got in their own way, more than anything. Because Mussina pitched great, he certainly pitched well enough to win and I think maybe the day off helped. I didn't think so at the time because you certainly don't want to have an extra day to think about the ugly feeling you had. But I think everybody realized that, you know, we have to play a little bit better. The only way we can do that is to make ourselves believe it's a baseball game and nothing more than that. I think we just got too hot.

Q. One of the things coming into this series was Torre will have a lot of flexibility with his rotation but you stayed the exact same way. Did you think about the flexibility?

JOE TORRE: Thinking first off instead of saying we just did this and we're going to do this, you certainly think of your options, if there are different ways to go, and there was nothing in moving people around that made me any more comfortable than what we just went through. I'd have to have a damned good reason to change what had just been successful for us, and I really haven't have anything that was strong enough to make me change that.

Q. Do you think you can take advantage of Boston early in the series, considering the emotional way their series ended last night and the travel?

JOE TORRE: Again, I don't want to get into that overpreparation again. We are going to go out and try to play our game and not to pay too much attention to what they went through. Because we did that two years in a row, we had to go to Oakland and play a Game 5, we lost the first two games at home, won the next two games here and then came here to play Game 5. Yeah, you get tired. But again, the need to go on is probably more motivating than anything else. I don't anticipate that we are going to do anything that we wouldn't do if they had the same amount of rest as we did.

Q. Assuming that you believe in a little bit of magic and that the Red Sox have it right now, what worries you more, facing a team that has a lot of talents or a team that has a lot of magic working for it?

JOE TORRE: Well, normally if you have a lot of talent that, sort of coincides with magic. They don't have a soft spot in their lineup. I held my breath last night when I saw Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson collide. I couldn't be happier when I saw him moving and moving his lips when they had the close-up. We played them tooth and nail. We had some games where we outscored them but we certainly don't plan on trying to beat them that way. We need to have our pitchers pitch well. It was a 10-9 split this year, so we know we are evenly-matched. Hopefully we can get some breaks and they are important ones. We can't get caught up in anything other than preparing to play them and relying on our pitchers. We did that in that last series, and the starters in the first four games -- I mean, the first three games kept us close. And the game the other day, we had more breathing room and then Boomer had probably an easier time not having to make every pitch count. So we are just going to play and hopefully play as well as we did last series.

Q. I know there's always a lot of pressure here, Yankees/Red Sox, about as intense as it gets, for those players who were not here in '99, does anything need to be said in terms of really trying to concentrate in not thinking about the buzz all around?

JOE TORRE: I guess that's an advantage for both our clubs, because every time we play, there's buzz. Every time we play, it's important for us to beat each other. So, I don't see that there's any more conversation, especially since we just played a series. If they were the first series we were going to play, then you might have to sort of talk to some players or talk to the team. But the fact that we just played a series and we've played these guys 19 times and knowing how intense the last two series, especially, were, I don't sense that anything has to be said.

Q. This was asked before but you mentioned that it was not a big deal with switching around your rotation, but having seen what Roger went through last time in '99, what's the difference now; is it more peace of mind for him now, do you see anything different in him?

JOE TORRE: I see Roger differently. And again, I'm not about to not pitch Roger in Fenway Park. I mean that -- to me, is more harmful than anything else. But I do see him differently. I mentioned on several occasions that he seems to be having more fun. Not that he is not intense the day he pitches, but I think he realizes that he's been successful beyond his 300th victory, and I think he has a good feel for himself right now. And I'm comfortable with him. I think that's probably what really made it as easy as anything, just to leave the rotation the way it is.

Q. Do you see a benefit in not having to face Pedro until at least Game 3, and with that, does it behoove you to get off to a good start in the first two games with him coming back in Game 3?

JOE TORRE: Well, yeah, we can't worry about Pedro but I sure as hell don't like facing him any time, whether it's 1, 2 or 3 or after that. I think what really makes it important for us to get off to a good start is the fact that we're playing at home. I think that puts extra pressure on the home team knowing that you're going to go to Fenway for the middle three. Again, we had as much success up there than we've had here, but it's still with the format now, I think that Pedro really does not enter into the equation because it's home that we probably have the pressure more on us than if it was Pedro pitching. He's never fun; I don't care what game he pitches.

Q. Jeter and Nomar, have gone through their whole careers getting mentioned in the same sentence all the time; what's your take on a comparison?

JOE TORRE: They are great players for different reasons. They have different talents, but they certainly know how to rise to the occasion. Jeter probably can't match up in a lot of ways to Nomar, maybe his arm, his power and all of that stuff. But Jeter, on the other hand, does things that I really can't put down and figure out what it is. But he always manages to come up big for us in big games. I think it's going to be a great series. Hopefully we give the fans something to be proud of. I think it's important, if I had one wish, is you want one team to win this thing; you don't want one team to lose it. I think that's something that both Grady and myself will take a lot of pride in.

Q. Is Rivera throwing the ball, is he as dominant in those two games against Minnesota as he has been in any post-season?

JOE TORRE: Well, he's a key. We would not be here, we would not be wearing the rings that we are wearing now if it was not for Mo. He's like a regular player, whether he's a shortstop or a centerfielder or catcher or whatever, I know when I used to manage against -- say, I'll just pull a team out of the air; the Cubs. When they had Bruce Sutter, you had to beat them before the sixth inning or seventh inning, because at that time the closer pitched 7, 8 and 9. I think Mo has to be in the back of team's minds when you know he's sitting there in that bullpen. Right now, he's throwing the ball as well as he has thrown in all of the years I've been here. Again, I don't like pitching him two innings, and I know our pitchers, we didn't purposely sidetrack anybody in that bullpen but when you get your starters pitching seven-plus innings and you have Mo who has not pitched for a few days, it's very tempting not to use him there. And it wasn't to avoid other people; it was just the fact that you had the ability to go to him. Right now, knock on wood, he loves the competition and he seems to be feeling well.

Q. What's your take on the team's two biggest run producers, Manny Ramirez and Jason Giambi, how they stand right now and how they stack up against each other?

JOE TORRE: Well, Giambi will explode any time. These guys are liable to hit three home runs in a game. Last night, the one that Manny hit that won the game for them. They are capable. Pitchers, even though they have slumped, you still never stop being afraid of them. Again, we hope -- and I think a big key to both clubs -- is getting the people on in front of them, to make it tougher to pitch to those guys. So I think there's going to be a lot more pressure on the top of our lineup to get on base for Jason.

Q. It was mentioned that you have a few new players going into this post-season that you did not go into it with before. In Game 2 in the seventh inning, when you had mentioned that the team was walking up and down the dugout saying let's go, started gritting their teeth, very determined, do you think it was at that time the team came together as a post-season force?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think when we came together is when we scored some runs and were able to bring Rivera into the game. It really changes your personality. But again, we can go back to '98, and that ballclub had been together for a long time, so to speak. And we were tense. We won 114 games during the season and went into the post-season; we were tight as a clam. It doesn't mean you can't play that way. It doesn't mean you can't play with pressure on you. That's what the post-season is all about; it's about pressure. And if anybody tells you there's no pressure, then they really don't care. There's pressure, because the season is short now, and you have to be able to perform in spite of that. I remember having several meetings during the course of games with the Paul O'Neills and the Tinos and Bernies and all of those guys, just to try to put things in perspective, because the manager, it's a helpless feeling, believe me, sitting there and watching like you guys or people at home. I don't manage; these guys go out and play. And then you get to a certain situation of the game, you have to make some moves. But there's a lot of tension, and you just have to deal with it and not pretend it's not there.

Q. What does winning a series do for you in terms of confidence, in terms of getting a little swagger back?

JOE TORRE: It's very important, no question, winning. I don't know about the swagger. That's confidence, I guess that's what we get out of it. Last year we won 103 games, I guess it was, and then go in and lose three out of four to the Angels. So the fact that you win that many games, we won 100 this year, and again, that doesn't guarantee you anything. We have two teams that won 100 games that aren't playing anymore. Certainly, with the first round under your belt, it does sort of get you over that hump, where you feel pretty good about yourself.

Q. Do you remember what you were thinking after Mussina was officially signed and you got to think, hey, I get to play around with Mussina, Clemens, Pettitte, Wells; what was that like?

JOE TORRE: It was a great feeling for me knowing -- and Rube Walker, the late Rube Walker who was my pitching coach when I started managing and all the way through the Brave years, taught me a long time ago how important pitching is. I don't care how many runs you have, you have to have 27 outs. You can't freeze the ball when you have a lead. It really stuck, when I was managing the Mets, and he saw the dominos start falling. We trade Seaver and then we trade Matlack and then we trade Koosman, and those are the people that won the World Series for them in '69. It was at that time, and during that time, that Rube made a big impact on me as far as the importance of pitching and knowing that one run in certain situations has to be enough. The only way that can be enough is with pitching. So when we signed Moose, and I called him personally because I had heard rumors that he didn't like New York or would rather be somewhere else, and I just wanted to let him know that there was someplace other than downtown Manhattan to live in New York, if that was the thing that was going to make up his mind. But he told me that was not necessarily it, and I was just happy that we were able to get him here. And he's been terrific. He's a professional. I think what's important is that he has three guys that go along with him to keep any one guy from having to carry the big load. The last series was very indicative of that, where he pitched well enough to win but Andy picked us up, followed by Roger and Boomer.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297