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October 12, 2003

Joe Torre

Don Zimmer

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Game Four (Postponed)

DON ZIMMER: First of all, last night, we won a hell of a game, and the media gathered around me and I didn't want to be rude. I was hurting and I had to get to the trainer's room, and I didn't want nothing to take away from the win that we had last night. I'm embarrassed of what happened yesterday. I'm embarrassed for the Yankees, the Red Sox, the fans, the umpires and my family. That's all I have to say, I'm sorry.

Q. Joe, after the game last night, I was talking to both Mariano and Bernie and both of them were emphatic, saying that it's up to the ballplayers to make sure that the series remains about baseball and nothing else; did you maybe talk to the team immediately after the game?

JOE TORRE: No, I did not. We talk so much to the players starting in spring training, I mean not about fights with other teams, but staying focused on what we need to do, whether it's some fan or if you go to a restaurant and somebody does things, you're an easy mark. You know, Bernie and Mo have been here longer than I have. They certainly know the responsibility, but no, I didn't say anything.

Q. You said after the game yesterday you didn't know so much had gone on. You had not seen the incident with Zim and Pedro. I'm assuming by now you have all seen replays, I wonder your reaction and your thoughts?

JOE TORRE: I was asked by my general manager who was asked by the Commissioner not to comment on anything that went on yesterday other than the baseball game.

Q. I don't think this is directly to this --

JOE TORRE: You're good.

Q. Do you think that Zim was emotional because he thinks what he did was wrong in that incident?

JOE TORRE: I think he has so much respect for the game, and you know he spent a long time here in Boston, both as manager and coach. He loves the people here. His daughter lives close by. He's very comfortable when he comes here. And as I say, he has a great deal of regard, because he's been with the Yankees I think three different times. You know, I'm sure he wishes it didn't happen. But again, you get emotions, you get caught up in it, and as we all know, Don Zimmer is a very emotional, shoot-from-the-hip guy. I think we've all reacted to things and wish the next day or the next hour that we never did say it. I think he basically feels badly about all of the attention this has gotten. His overreaction , or reaction -- not overreaction -- there's no in between with him. He either reacts or he doesn't react. He's very sensitive. Someone asked me a good question yesterday. I didn't think about it at the time, but the fact that he got hit in the head a couple of times has probably set him off a little bit easier than with someone else.

Q. How tough is it for you to sit there with someone who has been your friend, see him sit up there and get that emotional right now?

JOE TORRE: He's an emotional guy. I wanted to be here for him, not with him. He's very proud, very independent, and yet all of that gruff exterior, people who do know him, understand what a softy he is. Again, he's here for these kids. He doesn't have to be here. He doesn't need the money. He just loves being around baseball and baseball players. You know, things like this that went on yesterday, that's not baseball, and I know that's what made him feel bad.

Q. One thing you've always said is that baseball knows how to police itself on the field. How much do players today understand the policing aspects that have been going on for 100 years?

JOE TORRE: In regards to?

Q. In regards to when a guy throws inside, they are supposed to drag a bunt or take a pitcher out, but what are the responses now?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think baseball is very sensitive to all this. They have instructed umpires over the last few years to try to stop things before they start, even if the umpires at times may be overcautious. Some umpires, especially the inexperienced ones, maybe err on the side of safety, more so than not. I mentioned yesterday how I thought the umpires handled this very well, considering it was post-season and you want to keep all of the players and all of the participants in the game. I thought they did a good job. We have a veteran crew here. And again, it wasn't an easy situation. I think players probably react the same way they did years ago, but I think that baseball is probably taking a more active part in policing the game than leaving the players to handle it.

Q. Is there any concern about the safety of your players in light of what happened last night in the bullpen and have you heard at all from the Boston police regarding the incident?

JOE TORRE: Well, again, I can't comment on that because that was all part of the non-baseball stuff that went on, even though it went on on the baseball diamond. As far as the safety of my players, I feel better that we're all here. I'm probably more concerned -- and again, I've said this many times and I honestly feel this way -- I love this city. I love the people. But it takes a handful of unsavory people to cause problems. So you are always concerned, especially with the emotional game last night, players go out to get something to eat, somebody makes a remark, those are the things that probably concern you more so than having what happened to the players here.

Q. Are the fines imposed on Garcia and Zimmer bothersome to you at all?

JOE TORRE: That's another one of those "no comment" jobs.

Q. Can you explain what Brian's thinking is --

JOE TORRE: It's not from Brian. It's from the Commissioner. The Commissioner has asked both me and Grady, and I guess Brian and Theo, not to make any comments about the whole thing that went on yesterday, other than the baseball game.

Q. Did they give you a reason, that they think it will make something worse, because of something you might say?

JOE TORRE: I don't know. I really didn't ask. You know, Brian told me that, and I just shrugged my shoulders. He's the Commissioner and he's in charge here. If that's what he wants, that's what I'll do.

Q. Did you talk to George at all about what transpired yesterday both on and off the field?


Q. Do you think there's a genuine dislike between both of these teams, and what are your concerns about Wakefield and trying to hit his knuckleball?

JOE TORRE: I mentioned several times, I think there's a mutual respect. I think one incident happened last night, but I think number-wise, I think there's still a respect on our side for the players on their side and vice versa. Wakefield is a problem. And he's a knuckleballer, it's going to be a problem for us like it was the first day. When we went in the first day, we were ready to play. It was not like the first day against Minnesota and we were pumped up and that stuff. Not that I thought we weren't pumped up, but I thought we were under control. He was very good. So you just have to wait and see and hope we can break through.

Q. What is Karim Garcia's physical status?

JOE TORRE: He's going to miss tonight. I wanted him to play but his hand is somewhat swollen here on the pad and he's got a cut on that pinky knuckle. So he's not available tonight.

Q. You mentioned that you're happy he was here; of your players, did anything happen last night outside of the ballpark in restaurants or anything like that?

JOE TORRE: No. Not that I have heard. You know, I know that players and the staff usually frequent three or four different restaurants in the area, and everything seemed to be fine. I don't think anybody had any bad incidents. I know that several of our staff went to a restaurant and there were several Red Sox players and stuff, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Q. You count on Nelson to pitch in tough situations; do you think he will be distracted by possible legal charges facing him?

JOE TORRE: I hope that whatever it is that we're able to concentrate on winning two more games. I mean, that's more important than anything else that's transpired here in the last couple of days. You work your tail off from February to get to the point where you can feel good about the way you're playing and you're playing well and all that stuff. But to have something like that, sort of a sideshow-type thing, to get your focus away from that is unacceptable. He's going to have to. We know there are a lot of problems, but I think these players are conditioned in New York with a lot of distractions and a lot of times these players come to the ballpark, have children who are not feeling well at home. So I'd like to believe they are conditioned somewhat to being able to just put that stuff out of their mind.

Q. Zim mentioned how after the game he was hurting. Was there any consideration to having him taken to a hospital in the last five innings, while he was still in the dugout and what is the update on how he is feeling?

JOE TORRE: He is sore. He was sorer this morning than he thought he was going to be. When I saw the pictures last night on TV, on the stretcher going into the ambulance, you know, my understanding was he had walked there and they put him on that gurney before he got into the ambulance. I had a call from Dr. Hershon (ph) to say he was fine, he was out, in fact, he was at a restaurant eating dinner again. When he woke up this morning, he thought somebody came in in the middle of the night to beat him up. He had some soreness he didn't feel last night going to sleep.

Q. Obviously Zim did not take any questions, but do you anticipate that he and Pedro might talk today and talk things out; do you think that's possible?

JOE TORRE: I don't think so. (Laughter.)

Q. You sit on the bench next to Don. You obviously talk to him during the game. Did he say anything to you leading up to what happened or did he just bolt out of the blue and start running towards him?

JOE TORRE: I think we all bolted. When we left the dugout we left as a team, that's not instructions that everybody gets, we just reacted. Don is very protective of his players. It doesn't have to be Pedro. It could be anybody else he feels threw at somebody on purpose. He will scream and yell, and as I say, it may be a reaction to what he's gone through in his career. But he didn't -- he certainly didn't lead the charge last night. I think we all went out about the same time.

End of FastScripts...

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