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October 29, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. When you went to Oakland down 2-0 and you turned the series around with a 1-0 game, can you do the same thing in Game 3, against a guy like Anderson?

JOE TORRE: There's no question, we need to win a ballgame. You know, we have Roger Clemens. I have a lot of confidence in all of my starters, but we were just out pitched both games and there's not much that you can do, except, you know, congratulate them and move on. But we need to do that. We are home. We have had that recent history in our memory bank where we won some very tough ballgames when we have had to and we would love to do that tomorrow.

Q. You are home and hopefully you had a good rest on the way home, after you got up this morning --

JOE TORRE: This afternoon. (Smiles).

Q. Did you play any of these games over in your mind? How big is this game to Joe Torre, this game tomorrow night?

JOE TORRE: Well, every game is big to me. As far as replaying the first two, there's not much replaying to do. I really wasn't faced with any decisions that, you know, that I could second-guess myself about. You know, we were just flat out dominated by their pitching. As far as the game tomorrow, there's no question, it's a big game for me, it's a big game for our club because we have a ballclub -- we've been spoiled a little bit. We've won every World Series that we've been in. I know we've had -- in '96, really was the only time we've had to come back from a deficit, if I am not mistaken, in World Series. So, it's big. But we've managed to play big games very well, and we need to. Again, we need to pitch. We need to dominate. Andy Pettitte was terrific last night, but Randy Johnson was better. So we certainly need the Rocket to set the tone tomorrow night and be able to give him a lead to work with.

Q. Given the regular season that he had, do you feel that you have the right pitcher at the right time, and are there any lingering concerns about Roger's physical condition and how much that he can give you tomorrow night?

JOE TORRE: Well, as I said earlier, any one of the four I have a great level of confidence, because each one of them have pitched a game and won in some post-season play, so I think that being said, you know, they all have the ability and the emotional stability to do this thing. As far as the physical stuff, you know, you never are really going to know until he goes out there. However, we feel good enough about him to have pitched him in Game 3, because if we felt that he was not able to pitch a game 7, we would have pitched him in Game 4, physically. Mel felt good about it. I know Rocket -- from the Oakland fifth game, through the Seattle game and this one, he feels better each time. So we are confident that we will get deep into the game with him, if he -- obviously, he has to throw strikes and all that stuff, but I think the physical part is there.

Q. When you played after facing Koufax and Drysdale back-to-back, did you have to fight off saying, "Well I don't care who we are facing the next night. He is not going to be as good as those two guys"?

JOE TORRE: Well, yeah but you can't say to yourself, you know, that means you are automatically going to win or automatically going to get a base hit. There's no question -- the thing about facing a Koufax and a Drysdale, is the fact that it was a challenge. It was a challenge. You wanted to go out there and make good contact, have a good at-bat. I remember when I was a rookie, I was a 20-year-old rookie facing Koufax, he struck me out three times in a game and I went up there the last time and I said I'm not going to strikeout and I realized I got myself out, I popped up the first pitch and I realized I had a hell of an at-bat. I sat on the bench and I said, "what the hell did I do that for?" It so happened we had dinner at the same place that night and he invited me over for a bite to eat, I said, "you come to me, I've been coming to you all day; I'm not going to go over there." But it's certainly, you know -- first of all, facing Schilling and Randy Johnson, I mean, it's no different than when we face Maddux and Glavine and Pedro. I mean, taking nothing away from them, they are all great pitchers, but you don't automatically phone it in because you cannot beat these guys. You have to find a chink in their armor and hope that you can exploit it and we were not able to do that. In the first game, we gave up too many runs early to be in Schilling's game and last night Andy matched him until the three-run homer by Matty. We pride ourselves in being able to match the great pitchers, pitch for pitch, but the first two games, we have not been able to do that.

Q. What do you remember about the '96 Game 3 that Cone pitched and what is the feeling among your team now, compared to being down 0-2 back then?

JOE TORRE: Well, we were down last night, there's no question. But we have grown a lot since '96, I certainly have. '96 was my first World Series and I was sort of numb the whole series. You know, pleased as I can be by being in a World Series for the first time. I remember we pitched David in the Game 3, and there was a lot of trust involved in this. I did trust him, knowing that he's going to keep it together for us, and the fact that he's going to give us a good game and his heart played a big part in that and he did. As far as our club now, you know, we are frustrated but by no means do we feel that we are not capable in this series. We, as I say, we faced a tougher task, not pitching-wise, but situation-wise early in the Division Series. When I look at that, in the Oakland series and winning in the fifth game, we had every reason to believe, to say, "all right, you know, we did something that's never been done before and now we can relax," but then we came right back and beat Seattle in five games. As far as letdowns or anything like that, I don't think we do that.

Q. What kind of look did you get last night coming back home on the plane?

JOE TORRE: To be honest with you, I didn't go back there because it was late, and there was a lot of family on board and it was a little crowded last night.

Q. What sense did you get from them?

JOE TORRE: When I walked out to go in the interview room after the game I said, "Well, here we go again." And they all sort of looked up with a half-smile. They know what they have to do. They know the season is not over. They certainly tip their hat to the Diamondbacks. Sure, they are a young team, as far as being in existence, but when you look around, there's a lot of veteran players over there. So, you understand that they are legitimate. They would not have gotten past the Cardinals and the Braves if they were not.

Q. After years of hating to hit against Clemens, other than the day he signed his contract to come here, when did he become part of this team? When did guys stop hating the thought of him?

JOE TORRE: I think once he puts on a Yankee uniform, you understand that he's on newer side and all that intimidation that goes along with him is yours. I think it's just natural, just competitively, that you are going to -- maybe not literally hate somebody but you have to make yourself hate somebody because this is sort of a war. We need to win, otherwise you're going to win. That's what it is all about. You know, effort is what I base my opinion of players on. But we are really -- we are really judged by results and we understand that we want to win. And Roger, when he came over to our ballclub, we felt, certainly that he gave us that edge. You know, it took him a little while to get used to it on his part, but as far as the rest of the ballclub, they felt very comfortable with Roger being in the uniform, the Yankee uniform.

Q. You've said a number of times that a third game of a playoff series is the swing game. Could you address that again, and taking into consideration that this time the swing game is at home?

JOE TORRE: Yeah. I've always felt Game 3 in any kind of series is an important game, because either you're up two, down two or even, and you could really move the momentum to your side. Last time we went to Oakland down two, and the time before that in '96 we went to Atlanta down two, we certainly looked forward to playing at home. We never relish going on the road, even though going on the road never really has bothered us, but we certainly look forward to tomorrow night to be in front of our hometown crowd. The last three times we were here were pretty impressive, Game 5 against Oakland and then Games 4 and 5 against Seattle.

Q. Understanding that nobody really hit Schilling and Johnson the last two nights and that scoring is going to be down in the post-season anyway, there's only been two games since the playoffs started that you guys have busted out offensively. How concerned are you about the offense and specifically related to Jeter?

JOE TORRE: You hate to drop it on any one individual. We have never been a ballclub -- someone asked me the other day, if we looked flat or whatever it was the first game and we got our butt kicked and that's what it amounted to. We have never been a ballclub that's planned on going out to outscore anyone. We need to pitch. As boring as it may look or sound at times it is necessary for us to go out there and make a low-scoring game our advantage. But again, we have had where both these pitchers against us could have pitched nine innings. Schilling had the big lead and he didn't need to and we need to hold them at bay and we have not been able to do that. So, I am not really concerned about our lack of offense, because there's been a reason for it the first couple of days; you face two really good pitchers. We need to make sure we stay within ourselves. I think that's the most important thing and still not think in scoring runs four or five at a time. We still need to think small and put the ball in play and be aggressive. We have not had the opportunity to be aggressive because we have not been on the bases.

Q. Back to '96, when you lost those first two games, you told George you would win the next four games, do you have the same feeling now as then?

JOE TORRE: Actually, he came in right before Game 2 and I said we may even lose this game tonight because we are facing Maddux -- we had been off about eight days, and I said we'll come back to Atlanta, win three and come back and win it for you Saturday, and I was right. Maybe that's part of the reason I'm still here. But I think I was so thrilled to have been to the World Series that I was going to enjoy it, in spite of, you know, getting our rear ends getting kicked early. Again, at that time, even though I, you know was tongue-in-cheek when I said that to George, it was basically knowing that I had David Cone in Game 3, and knowing that in a short series, whether it be five or seven games, one game can turn the momentum and, you know, sort of add doubt a little bit to the opposition because we had been on the reverse side of that. That's how I know what the symptoms are.

Q. When you look at Arizona's options at designated hitter, how much depth do you see there and how does it compare with other National League teams you've faced in the World Series?

JOE TORRE: They have a lot of depth. They have a very deep bench, and I think that's one of the necessities if you're going to win, to have a deep bench, especially in the National League where you pinch-hit for the pitcher, you have a number of opportunities to do that. I think it is going to advantage Bob Brenly to the point that, you know, it's less complicated in our league, because when you want to change a pitcher you go change a pitcher, you don't have to worry he's hitting second the next inning. Again, he has options whether he wants to go left/right and he can flip it back and forth. I think it is an advantage for him, not that it, you know, it gives him a better chance to beat us or anything. But I think he's got the option now of being able to put another hitter in the lineup, it still comes down to how we pitch, whether they have eight or nine hitters.

Q. More so than the previous teams you've faced?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, probably. They have a deeper bench, there's no question and I think that gives them more of an advantage over the other National League clubs.

Q. You've said in the past the home field in baseball is batting last. Considering the huge change in temperature coming to the ballpark here and the way the crowd has been throughout this playoffs for you guys, could it be more of an impact for you guys coming back here?

JOE TORRE: I think -- we hope it is, yes. It still is going to come down to our being able to perform. You know, it's nice to have the support of the fans, but we certainly can't count on the fans to play the game for us. We've got to play the game. But, you know if we get a little momentum going in our direction, the fans will give us a lot more momentum, there's no question and motivation. But again it is up to us. We cannot say we're going home now, we'll be all right because we are hope home. We still have to understand that work to do.

Q. Taking into consideration how well Schilling and Johnson pitched, do you have any regrets about the lineup tinkering, and if you see them again, would you use the same lineups?

JOE TORRE: I don't know that yet. I obviously was not a genius yesterday with all the right-handers, did not do us any good. When I come to it, I'll look at it. I certainly feel -- you know, we have done well against certain pitchers with the right-handed lineup, even though you sit Tino -- he's been the one constant. I think if there was the one hesitation which I did have and I didn't make that decision until the end was Tino and he was the only one that I really was thinking about playing against Randy Johnson. So that would probably -- if there was going to be a changes, would be the one I could consider. Again, not that I would not do something else, but at first blush.

End of FastScripts�.

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