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October 16, 2003

Grady Little


Q. Do you think that all of these elimination games you guys have been through, does that help you cope with the pressure of today and what's special about this team being able to survive?

GRADY LITTLE: Well, I certainly think that the experience of anything is always better. If it's a factor here, I think we can benefit from it, from what we've been through already. I think the largest factor with our ballclub is that they don't quit. They just keep going, keep playing, having fun, and they never feel like they are done. They just keep grinding until it's over.

Q. I'm sure you're hoping it doesn't come to this, but just in case, is Wakefield available tonight, and if so, how long can he go for?

GRADY LITTLE: Well, we don't necessarily hope it doesn't come to that. He's available and he'll be out in the bullpen with his spikes on if we need him.

Q. Do you personally feel the extra pressure, every manager's decision being that much more important in a Game 7, much more scrutinized than maybe it is in any random game in June, July and August?

GRADY LITTLE: I think that the reality is much different than the perception of that. My perception of pressure is nothing that goes on on a baseball field here tonight. I think these boys are ready to play. We've done everything we can do. We'll start the game at 8:20 or whatever it is, we'll play nine innings and we'll come back in afterwards and see how we did.

Q. Can you be more specific on the mood of your ball team, Yankees Red Sox here at the stadium; is it backs against the wall or is it really just having fun?

GRADY LITTLE: Just having fun. We had our backs against the wall three games against Oakland and we've had our backs against the wall here last night. I feel nothing different in that clubhouse when I walked out of there three minutes ago than I felt when I was walking through the clubhouse at spring training and we were getting ready to play Boston College the first game, to tell you the truth. This group is a unique bunch of individuals that love to play and not a lot bothers them.

Q. I know you're concentrating on this series, but what's your opinion of what Florida did to Chicago coming back and beating Woody and prior coming back from 3-1 to go to the World Series?

GRADY LITTLE: They were two good ballclubs. They battled a long way to get to that point, to play in a Game 7 of their series. Both those clubs are good. Somebody had to win and somebody had to lose. Florida did a great job, they are the winners and they are waiting to see who they are going to play.

Q. Win or lose, can you just talk about what an incredible series this has been between two long-time rivals?

GRADY LITTLE: It's been incredible, all right. A lot of us that are involved in the ballclubs right now, I think in the dugout, it's a little bit different than the fans' perspective of the whole thing. We are down there trying to focus in on each particular game and trying to win that particular game. It's like the series we played against the Oakland A's; a lot of people have told me since then that it was a great series, a classic series in post-season play, but it's something that we never realize in the dugout. We are so busy trying to take care of business there that we don't really get to step back and appreciate the whole thing like we will in the wintertime when we look at it on video completely and kind of get the feel of it. Probably the feeling for fans in the New York area and the Boston area, all of the Red Sox fans, all of the Yankee fans all over the country, they are getting a big thrill out of this and they are anxious for this game to get started tonight just as we are.

Q. A lot of story lines came out of Saturday's game, and the pitching match-up between Clemens and Martinez turned out to be just one of them instead of the primary one. Can you talk about what you are looking for tonight from Pedro on this grand stage?

GRADY LITTLE: We feel confident every time this kid takes the mound, just as the Yankees do when Roger Clemens takes the mound. There's two good competitors going out there. Saturday is behind everyone. Today is a big game. Both teams are proud of the guys they have on the mound, so let's play.

Q. Do you like the haircut or are you going to let it grow back?

GRADY LITTLE: I think it doesn't matter to me. (Laughter.) I think it's going to come back looking like yours, anyway. (Laughter.) I did have some color in it before, but I think I'll let it grow back. It comes back.

Q. More importantly, what does your wife think of it?

GRADY LITTLE: She doesn't care. She cares about me on the 1st and 15th. She doesn't care what I look like (Laughter).

Q. Coming off the incident on Saturday at Fenway Park, has there been any discussion or any concern about the safety of Pedro Martinez here at the stadium?

GRADY LITTLE: We have been very impressed with what we've seen here in Yankee Stadium since we arrived back here and I don't think that there will be any problem here tonight. There's a lot of security, good security. We just want the kid to get warmed up, go out there and pitch and see how he does.

End of FastScripts...

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