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November 4, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Is there a tremendous amount of difference in the pressure of playing a Game 5 in a Division Series and a Game 7 in the World Series?

JOE TORRE: Game 5, there's probably more pressure, and it's a different type of pressure because it is the pressure to go on. You know, if you don't survive a Game 5, nobody even knows you're in the playoffs a couple of years later. Game 7 of the World Series, I think this World Series will be one of the more memorable ones. It's been a little weird; those three crazy games in New York and then the Diamondbacks knocking our brains out here and tonight the matchup of two 20-game winners, potential Cy Young winners. I think it is going to be pretty memorable. But the pressures are different, no question. You are finally here, and after today, it just stops. It's been 100 miles an hour for a few weeks now, and it's been pressure-packed. To me, the Game 5's are probably more pressure than getting here to the World Series.

Q. Joe, can you talk about the mood right now, your mood right now, excitement, nervousness?

JOE TORRE: There's a lot of nervousness. It's anxiety. The best part about this is playing the game. I think we are all anxious to get on the field, take batting practice, play the game, let's get it going. It's exciting, there's no question. We are playing one game for all of the marbles. If you tell us in February, that's the deal, we buy in right now. But we have the guy who has been our best pitcher all year long and they have one of their two top-notch guys, and I think the fans have gotten their money's worth.

Q. Can Pettitte get you an out if you need him to?

JOE TORRE: If you ask him, he would get an out or two or three or four if you asked him to. I think everybody is going to have their spikes on tonight. We have plenty of volunteers.

Q. Is it amazing that you have made it this far with all of the offensive struggles that you have had in the post-season?

JOE TORRE: Well, the thing is , what's strange about it is we have had offensive struggles. We had some guy who struggled through some subpar years, but it seemed when we needed a little shot in the arm, we got one. That's been the magical, or the weird part about what's happened. But we managed to hold it together. We managed to play well enough that the one big inning will help us, but I guess if I look back and evaluate, I never want to say that, you know, maybe we weren't as good as maybe other teams. But I always feel offensively, we never measure up to other teams anyway. You know, we have been based on pitching. Aside from the Braves series, this is probably the first club that we've come up against that could match pitching with us. So the fact that we don't hit, I think, has really magnified. But I never think about it because you are trying to look on the positive side of how to create a run or create a rally and stuff like that, and the guys are trying hard to do that. But let's put it this way, the individuals certainly have not had as good of years as a lot of them are capable of having.

Q. I wanted to ask you with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, in all your years of baseball, have you ever seen a better one -, two-punch starting pitching-wise?

JOE TORRE: Well, I'm older than you -- I'm envious, by the way, when I say that. (Laughter.) Drysdale and Koufax, you never wanted to go to L.A. to face these guys, because one run was enough. They would beat your brains out 1-0 and Schilling and Randy Johnson are capable of doing that, there's no question. Right now, I don't think there's anybody that can rearrange a lineup as well as these two guys can, because it really affects your thinking on the other side. Normally a manager will just write our lineup down and here; I don't care who is pitching against us. But these two guys make a difference.

Q. Given everything that your team has achieved over the years, are you surprised that an opponent would guarantee anything against you guys, much less a Game 7 victory?

JOE TORRE: The whole thing is, all of the talking, you still have to go out and play. We don't pay attention. We know people are excited about being here. We are excited about being here. We are a confident group, even though we take nothing for granted, and we respect the fact that they could beat us and I'm assuming they respect the fact that we can beat them. But, again, all of the stuff, and we've gone through this. When you're in post-season, you have some people who have -- haven't gone there before. When we were at Oakland, Eric Chavez said something -- the players, not that they didn't pay attention to it, but if we need to be motivated by what people say, then we should not be here to begin with. But the game is what it's all about. What's said really isn't that important.

Q. It looks like over these seven games, Spencer has gone from being a backup to a starter; can you talk about that evolution over the seven games?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, the games are different. When you play during the season, you are thinking long term. When you get to the post-season, everything is what have you done for me today. So you change your mind very rapidly. On the other side of that, you have to impress your manager very quickly and Shane Spencer did that. He hit in one game where it looks like you're swinging the bat pretty well and you're staying in the lineup, but he certainly has taken the opportunity and opened our eyes because a couple of years ago, we thought he was a regular player, had the opportunity to play last year but hurt himself and didn't really get back into it until probably June of this year. But I'm happy for him because he works hard and he certainly has seized the moment.

Q. Is this the jump start of his career?

JOE TORRE: Could be. I think he's proven to everybody how well he plays defense and right field is probably his best position. And the fact that, you know, a few years ago, he hit those 10 or 11 home runs in a month, so he's proven the fact that he can hit the ball out of the ballpark and he runs better than it looked like he should run. So I think he has given us an opportunity to look forward to seeing him in spring training.

Q. This is the third time you will face Schilling. Is there anything from the previous two starts that might give you an edge, that you can tell us?

JOE TORRE: Hopefully some part of him will wear out today. Maybe he'll be a little kinder to us today. I don't know. The last time out, with three days' rest, you know, he's throwing a lot of strikes and we were swinging, which is fine. I don't really believe that because he's pitching with short rest twice in a row that we are going to make him throw a lot of pitches, because if he throws strikes, you still don't want him getting ahead of you where he can use a lot of his weapons to get you out. I think what -- Randy did not have as good of stuff as last time, but he had a big lead last time and Andy did not have as good of stuff. So, that's what we look for. We hope our guy is up to his game and we hope that we can take advantage, if there is a crack in the armor of Curt Schilling.

Q. I know you've been in Game 5's and I know in this run you certainly would not want to be in a Game 7, but do you sit here and go, with all you've accomplished -- "wow, we are in a Game 7, and if this is the end of the run, this is almost appropriate because this is something this team has never done"?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think the most important thing is you always want an opportunity to defend what you've done. And that's not always the case. Teams that win World Series don't necessarily get to the World Series the following year. I've always felt that when you are going to relinquish it, you want to make somebody take it away from you, and I think that's where we are sitting right now. It's ours, or if it is not ours, they are going to have to take away from us, and that's our feeling going into this game.

End of FastScripts....

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