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October 5, 2002

Joe Torre



Q. You've always said it begins and ends with pitching. You just didn't get any pitching in this series, or at least not the pitching you're accustomed to. Is there any explanation for what happened with your guys?

JOE TORRE: No, just a bad time to have a three-game losing streak. But, no, I have no explanation because we all know we're capable of pitching better than we did in this series. Boomer looked like he was on his way today and all of a sudden, you know, something happened in that fifth inning where it got really ugly for us. But, no, I have no reasoning for it or excuse for it. It's -- it was just, you know, not up to our standards and we paid the price.

Q. Joe, did you think Bernie could have or should have caught the ball that dropped in? Was it too deep?

JOE TORRE: You know, this is a tough ballpark in the daytime. But I thought the ball was up in the air, I thought a couple of people may have had a chance to catch it. But it's tough to tell. You know, from where we sit, we probably have the worst seat in the house. But it was, you know, Soriano got himself in a bad position. I saw it, who was it, Tejada yesterday or today did the same thing in the Dome. It's just one of those things when you turn sideways, what happens. I don't know if Bernie could have gotten a chance. I watched the replay on the screen. Looked like he pulled up a little bit maybe thinking Soriano had it.

Q. How do you sum up your season?

JOE TORRE: Well, you know, when we go to spring training, you were down there with us, you're never satisfied unless you get to the World Series, when you play or manage the New York Yankees, play for the New York Yankees. It's a nice way to be spoiled because we've been able to do that, you know, 103 wins is something to be proud of. But we certainly expected to go further than we have. We were beaten by a team that played a whole lot better than we did this week. You tip your hat off to, you know, to Mike Scioscia and Bill Stoneman putting that together, the way Mike managed. I compliment him. I thought he did a hell of a job. It's a bad taste right now, there's no question. I mean, I just told my players how proud I was of them because you don't always get guarantees in this game or life, for that matter. The only thing you can do is prepare yourself to do the best you can, if it doesn't pan out, you know, you have to deal with it. Sometimes you learn from it. So hopefully we can, you know -- obviously, all of us aren't going to be back in the spring, but hopefully the experience here will help them.

Q. What do you learn from this, other than it was a bad week, the pitching didn't do well? What do you learn on a greater scheme about your team?

JOE TORRE: I don't know yet. I have to digest it (laughing). I mean, there's nothing I can learn about my team. You don't play good for a week, it doesn't mean you have deficiencies. I mean, look at an isolated case today: Soriano, ball goes through his legs. I'm sure question is, "Little tight?" Then all of a sudden turns a double play on Erstad. I mean, that's -- errors are a part of the game. But this ballclub played hard, fought hard, and as I say, you just hope that when it comes time to play well, that you can do that. We just weren't able to do it. We had opportunities today, Garrett Anderson really pulled the plug on us, that play he made on Jeter, I didn't think he had a chance in the world to make that catch on him, and that really stalled us. I guess I got my wish. I said they scored more innings than we did yesterday, but we scored more innings than they did and we came up empty.

Q. Do they remind you in some ways of the teams you won championships with, with their aggression, their general style?

JOE TORRE: Especially '96. I think '96, with the sort of no-name people, especially the first half of the year, before we got Darryl Strawberry and Cecil Fielder, we had to just live off other people's mistakes and make things happen - you know, squeeze bunt here, a hit and run there. We've changed our personality a little bit, especially this year. But they certainly, when we saw them during the season, they did remind us - me - of the way we played back then.

Q. What do you think did happen to Wells in the fifth inning? What did you see?

JOE TORRE: I don't know. His pitch count was great. I was happy the way -- you know, when he made the error that one inning and pitched his tail off to get out of that. He bent over, said he saw the ball, when he looked up, it was blurry. He just threw in a general direction. I have no clue. He pitches so tough in situations, but the bottom dropped out for us that inning. So he has -- I mean, as I say, pitch count was fine. There was no physical problem that I was aware of or that we were aware of.

Q. You watched the celebration with Derek leaning on the rail. Did he say anything to you? Did you say anything to him?

JOE TORRE: No, no. We -- kid had a hell of a series. When he -- all of a sudden, I look over, there he is . I guess, you know, when you've experienced it, you watch other people eat that hot fudge sundae. I had trouble watching some of that before I had gotten there. But once you experience it, you're sort of curious how other people experience it. And I -- when the last out was recorded, my eyes went right to Mike Scioscia just to see if he would let his guard down. The son-of-a-gun wouldn't do it, had that straight face, shook hands. That's a lot of baloney. You know what's going on there.

Q. Do you feel like you need to get back to a little bit more of what you used to do, in terms of that '96 team?

JOE TORRE: It's tough to say that because you can only go according to the personnel you have. You can't make a hit-and-run hitter out of Giambi. He had a great year for us. You have to really go according to the ability you have. At that time we had guys similar to the players that Mike has now. So I think a manager, in order to manage, you have to understand the flexibility of what you're able to do with the players that you have and to identify that - like sitting around with a bunch of line-drive hitters to wait for big innings, it's not going to happen. They played well defensively, they did so much. And, you know, aside from that hiccup in the first game, they really pitched well out of that bullpen.

Q. You had said before the series started that you were scared of a five-game series. Do you think if the series had been a seven-game series you might have prevailed? In other words, do you think the best team won?

JOE TORRE: The team that played the best won. Am I going to say they're the best team? I'm too proud to do that. They played a whole lot better than we did. As I say, it just turned out it was a bad week for us and a good one for them. But they did what they needed to do, and we weren't there. Seven-game series, if we -- we need to play better. Just like experiences. Experiences help when you've been to postseason, yeah, if you play well. Then you get in those late-inning situations, your guys have been familiar with it. I think you have a little edge there. But we never got to that point.

End of FastScripts�.

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