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October 16, 2003

Joe Torre


Q. Can you talk about your thought process with lineup changes?

JOE TORRE: Just something a little bit different. Jason has been struggling. He just feels a great deal of responsibility. We don't talk about this on a regular basis; I just sense that he's taken on more than any one person needs to take on and I just thought I'd drop him in the lineup and probably find him with the bases loaded twice. But that's the way it goes. The only bad news about this, because of the problem with the broken water main, I didn't have a chance to tell him before he saw it, but he had no problem with that. He said, "Whatever you want to do, Skip."

Q. Could you foresee any circumstance tonight where you would use Mariano for more than six outs?

JOE TORRE: I don't know. I don't think so. You certainly don't want to jeopardize somebody physically. The game, this is the most important game we'll play this year, up to this point. I don't even want to think about that.

Q. How many of your players had problems coming in today based on what happened?

JOE TORRE: They probably all had some kind of problem. A couple of guys got here before it happened. I was one of them. Bernie was one of them, several other players. I think Jason got here a little bit late because of that. Roger normally shows up late the day he pitches -- I say late, but late he got here two hours before the game. I don't think anybody had a problem. They were all out there stretching. Jason is the only one that just got out there stretching. Nobody was late to miss anything.

Q. Was there anything that you saw yesterday that convinced you that he's not ripe, as opposed to two or three days ago?

JOE TORRE: No, it's the same. If anything I had high hopes when he hit that home run the first time up. You want to try to build on something. Again, it just looks like he's just squeezing the sawdust out of the bat. It's unfortunate human beings have to play this game, and sometimes we get to the point of trying too hard and that's what I sense. Again, you could ask him, he could say he's not trying too hard and all that, but I'm just giving you my perspective.

Q. You've been part of a lot of history already. Do you say anything particular to a team before a game when that team knows this game is going to be remembered probably in 50 years, whether it's a good game, a bad game, a close game?

JOE TORRE: I'm not sure they care about 50 years right now. They are thinking about the next couple of hours. I can't say anything to this ballclub that's going to make them play any harder than they are playing. I thought yesterday was a good game on both sides. Again, it's our job to try to control the game a little bit more because I think our starting pitching is probably our strength, but again when you go tonight with Pedro against Roger, that's pretty special. I think we are all waiting to see it, and obviously, with a Game 7 situation, everybody is available, probably except Andy Pettitte on our side. And I'm sure Grady has the same thing over there.

Q. You've had the good fortune to go to the World Series so much over the past few years, can you even relate what must be going on with Jack McKeon at his age, the team coming out of nowhere like that and going to the World Series?

JOE TORRE: I know he tries to be cool. I know Jack; and he's a nice man. I know Dusty; he's a nice man. It was sort of a bittersweet thing for me to watch last night. But Jack McKeon, never having experienced it and all, suddenly coming out of nowhere with the job offer he had with the Marlins, I can't describe it and I know he can't, other than he's tickled pink and he's going to approach the World Series the way whoever wins this game is going to approach it. This is going to be fun after what they have been through and after what both of our clubs have been through.

Q. You've talked about how since Rocket won his 300th, there's been a change in his temperament, he's much more at ease; what will you look for?

JOE TORRE: It's not a groove, like Andy. Andy was fine; he's probably not as nervous last night, he just didn't have the command he normally has. Roger, I think a big part of Roger is when he just tries to throw too hard. What I have seen over the last half dozen or so starts is the fact that he's been pretty much in command of his emotions, his stuff, all of that put together. And again, last week, when he pitched against Pedro, as emotional as that game was, I thought he kept everything in perspective. I think, basically, counts, just like any manager would look for. Hopefully he doesn't use up a lot of pitches like Andy did last night early in the game because that's never a good sign. Again, because it's not a good sign doesn't mean you can't win the game; it just means it's going to be more of a struggle.

Q. Has this been the most draining series?

JOE TORRE: No question. We've been pretty spoiled. When we won those other divisions and Championship Series, we win them in five games, we win the division in three games and you were never faced with a lot of this. We were in '97 and we lost Game 5 in Cleveland. We lost Game 7 in Arizona a couple of years ago. It's a high-wire act. There's no question. It's always that way when you play the Red Sox, but when you realize it's October and the winner of this game goes to the World Series, that drains you. But again, it's something that you don't allow yourself to give into until the last out is recorded. It's fun. It really is fun, but you don't know it's fun until it's over with.

Q. Do you personally feel any added pressure in an elimination game like this, knowing that your decisions in this game --

JOE TORRE: Thanks for reminding me.

Q. -- may be more scrutinized than in any other game?

JOE TORRE: I'll do what I think is the right thing to do. You know, I think when you've done it as often as I have -- and during the season, there are games that I'll mess with and lineups and stuff. You know, you hope you're doing the right thing. I think the experience of doing that makes you understand, you can only do -- it's not like I put the names in a hat. I didn't do that. I just put it down. I think one day, a manager would like the next day's paper, just to see if it was the right thing to do before he had a chance to do it. No, I feel comfortable with what I put out there. Hopefully it works.

End of FastScripts...

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