home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 16, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Can you give us your starting rotation?

JOE TORRE: Yes, it will be Pettitte, Mussina, Hernandez and Roger (Clemens).

Q. Lineup?

JOE TORRE: Lineup: Knoblauch, Jeter, Justice, Bernie Williams, Martinez, Posada, O'Neill, Brosius and Soriano. O'Neill will play right field.

Q. Do you know your roster? Is the hat here for the rest of the way?

JOE TORRE: The hat is here. It's not the most attractive thing, but neither is my hair line. So it's sort of a push. The roster, you know, we're not sure if we are going to make any changes, but we're going to not turn it in and think a little bit, just to make sure that we want to do that.

Q. Lou Piniella is a former Yankee, Jay Buhner, Jeff Nelson, and you guys played with these guys last year, has there been a thing built up between the Mariners and the Yankees the last couple years that makes it a special series?

JOE TORRE: It's special, I mean, what they have accomplished this year -- we knew it was not easy when we won 114. They went out here and fell out of bed winning 116. They made it look a lot easier than we thought it was. But it's because, you know, what we did last year against them -- of course, Jeff Nelson, coming over here after having five great years with us, and doing the same job for them that he did for us, and, of course, for them before that; it's special. You know, they are the best. They have been the best all year. I think it will be a great series.

Q. Joe, Lou was saying that the two teams are similar in that you do what you have to do to win.

JOE TORRE: I think in a lot of ways we don't rely on the home run. They don't do that either. They are a good contact club. They like to move runners, deep bullpen. I guess that's been the same sort of formula we've used. I think it's going to be a good match. You know, they are very good. Ichiro, he has really changed the dynamics of this ballclub, because he is so good. I had a chance to visit with him for a couple of days before the All-Star Game, and whatever you didn't appreciate, you just watch the way he handles people, handles himself and took batting practice the day before the All-Star Game and hit about 30 balls into the stands. He can do a lot of things that have really made that ballclub a lot better. But, you know, we do -- again, it's going to come down to who is going to pitch better, and if the deep bullpen is going to come into play and who is going to get a better result. Again, I'm looking forward to it.

Q. What can you say about what Derek has done in the post-season, up to now, and what he's done this week?

JOE TORRE: It's interesting. They put that stat on the board last night about the hits; I had no clue. You say, well, that's got to be a mistake, this kid has only been around for a few years, and you realize his whole Major League career has been post-season. I have tried to describe him as, you know, when they have described the three shortstops, Nomar and A-Rod and Derek, and not to demean other outstanding shortstops that are around, even in our league. I said, "Well, maybe he can't hit home runs with either one of the guys, or maybe he can't run with A-Rod and maybe he can't cover as much ground as A-Rod and doesn't have the arm that Nomar has, and yet, there's something about him the whole package that makes him very special and a good fit for what we do." And the one thing about it is, I look at that look in his eye when we get in the competition, whether we are up, down, even, he loves the competition. I go back to 1996, which was the first time I met him. We were playing a very good Texas ballclub in the first game of the Division Series and they beat us. He contributed by making an error and scored the winning run. I was asked by the media, Are you going to talk to him?" And I said, "I don't know," Because I didn't know him that well other than what he did for us. Right before he went home that night, he said to me, "Get some sleep tonight. Tomorrow is the most important game of your life." I said, well, I guess I don't have to talk to him. He goes out there and knows he does the best he can. It's not always a good result, but he handles the pressure very well.

Q. Talk about Hernandez going in Game 3.

JOE TORRE: Again, I don't think I'm speaking out of school. I think it's basically to give Roger that extra time that he probably would need to heal. Again, I'm assuming this. Mel and I really haven't had a whole lot of time to talk about this. We played a couple of games of cards on the plane last night and then tried to sleep the rest of the time. But I'm just assuming that's the way it's going to be, and I think because of Roger's leg -- he felt pretty good today, aside from going six or seven rounds with a heavy-weight fighter, he came out of it pretty good. I think the leg is going to be able to function all right.

Q. Is this the best team you've played since your run began, and because you guys, as the defending champions, who won't die, and them as having the best season, the best team ever, does this seem epic to you?

JOE TORRE: Well, you knew when we were going to win our division that I know everybody was assuming that Cleveland wasn't going to be there. And that was because of how good the two teams were on the West Coast. I mean, the team we just played, nobody was better than they were in the second half of the year. They were pretty damn good. But, for sure, for me to say this is not the best team we're going to play when they win 116 games, I'm foolish. They are a very balanced club. And it's interesting how they have changed their club over the last few years, and everybody says, "Oh, how can you be so good when you lose Junior and you lose Randy Johnson and you lose A-Rod." The fact that they obviously spent their money well in shoring up a lot of areas where they needed to, especially their pitching staff, and adding Ichiro has really given their club another dimension. So, yeah, I think they are probably the best team that we are going to play.

Q. How do you explain Rivera's durability?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think that when you go through the year and you try to keep enough fuel in the tank, it's for the post-season. But when you get to the post-season, even if you are tired, there's the adrenaline that just carries you, and what he has done in post-season has been remarkable. He threw the ball as well last night as I can remember him throwing it in recent years and the only reason I can give for it is just the setting. But he's a good athlete. We keep a close watch on him as we do all our pitchers, with pitch count during the course of the year. Yeah, we brought him in in the eighth inning, not, you know, a two-inning stint, but a piece of the eighth and then the ninth, a number of times. But we were careful not to do it unless he has an off-day before or an off-day after or we have not used him for a few days. We've done it in the post-season, but very rarely during the season will we go to him in the eighth inning two days in a row. So we try to save him for this time of year if we are fortunate enough to get here and he's really been able to thrive on it. Again, the other day when we had the 9-2 lead going into the ninth inning, I could have taken Mendoza out and brought someone else in, but my concern was if we did get in trouble at that point, to get Mo up after he pitched two innings, I would rather have Mendoza pitch the extra inning and then for sure have Rivera for two last night.

Q. How much does a five-game series like that, all the cross-country travel take out of you guys?

JOE TORRE: The cross-country travel, I mean, it's back and forth. You make more of a joke for it because you're advancing and you really don't get tired until this stuff is over with. It is such a high; you go on fumes. You just go on adrenaline all the time. I guess we're tired, but we're so happy about the result of this last series and the mountain we just climbed that -- we're in there having the meetings and I just left it to the hitter, whoever wants to go out and hit, fine, but if you don't want to hit -- I know Phyllis will be mad at me if I said no workout today. I don't want you mad at me, I know. I had about three hours' sleep, and I feel fine. I may not look it, but I feel fine. (Laughter.) It's just the high. I mean, this is what I want to do and a number of years, not being able to do this and then to have this happen the last six years, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. And tired never enters into it.

Q. Given everything that's happened in New York in the last month, was winning this time around a little more special, and what was it like to give the city a lift last night?

JOE TORRE: For certain. And it's very touchy for me to talk about this, only because you are rallying for all of the victims, their families, the rescue workers. It was such a devastating thing that went on, for the whole country, I mean, for the world. But New York, because it happened there, and Washington. The reason I say it's a touchy thing is our club has been so motivated every year when we go to post-season, that for me to say that this is the reason we're doing this, you know, I don't think that's fair to say that, because these players have been able to come up big in situations like this. But, for sure, every single one of them have been touched by it, and we did talk about it before the first game against Oakland, about a certain part of our heart; that's what we are doing it for. It's more of a responsibility to try to make people feel good in New York because there has been so much tragedy going on there. People in New York are tough. We'd like to be a part of that and say the reason that we are tough competitors to begin with is because we wear the NY on our cap.

Q. Talk about what has to happen for you guys to advance and what particular player has to play well.

JOE TORRE: I think the pitching. If there was one aspect of it, it's pitching, because you can control things when you pitch. If you don't pitch, then it gets out of hand and it's like walking on quicksand. It's really tough to feel secure. But when you go pitch, you can sort of organize what you are going to do and you just hope you can chip in and score a run and take advantage maybe of a mistake and try to play airtight defense. Of course, without good defense, pitching is wasted. But Jeter has been the guy that, you know, has been -- I don't want to say the backbone, because there are so many people, just O'Neill's presence and Tino has been big; Posada has had a great series, Bernie. So I don't really like to pinpoint one guy -- Soriano last night, that was a huge hit for us. But Derek Jeter I think symbolizes what we're all about, and whether he goes 4-for-4 or 0-for-4, his presence makes everybody feel pretty good. I think it's the pitching and the overall intensity with which we play.

Q. Do you have 10 or 11 pitchers?

JOE TORRE: We're still talking about that. With Roger, we think he's fine; I still favor ten. But again, we're going to hold off as long as we can.

Q. Does it matter to you at all that even though Seattle passed your regular-season win total that you have a chance to keep them from winning the World Series?

JOE TORRE: I'll be the first to tip my hat to them, just like I did when they passed us. Trying to beat them has nothing to do with keeping them from doing what we did. We're trying to beat them because we want to do the same thing they want to do, and that's get to the World Series. Again, I think the motivation -- we have to be clear on the motivation, that we are here not to protect records, but to get to the next level. You know, we've done it. We know what it tastes like and we like it a lot, and we just came through a very tough series, and I'm very proud. I don't think I have been prouder of this ballclub, the way we came back from the 0-2 to win this thing.

Q. I think you've talked about this before, but the notion that when you go into the playoffs, pretty much the rest of the world usually roots against the Yankees because of all the success they have had. Do you sense the world is rooting for the Yankees for a change this year? Have you seen any examples of that?

JOE TORRE: I think so. When you look in these different ballparks and you see the American flag first, and the signs loving New York, with the tragedy that went on, there are a couple of things. I remember Chicago was our first stop, "God bless America, we love New York." It doesn't keep them from rooting for the White Sox, but I think they sense a little camaraderie with the fact that we are from New York and with the horrific thing that went on. Boston was probably the most sensitive and emotional, as they were singing New York. New York in Boston, of all places. So, yes, I still think that people, with what went on in the real world, as opposed to the baseball world, I think the NY, as I said, on our caps, symbolizes more than just baseball.

Q. Looking at your club and the Mariners, what did you find out about the club that you might not have known before in this last series?

JOE TORRE: You never really know what kind of a team that you have until halfway through the season. After the All-Star Break, things start falling in, you acquire people during the season and they find their spots and their roles on the ballclub and I am always assuming we are going to be there. I think when it's all said and done, one of these days and we are not there -- I guess if I'm going to assume something, that's the way I want to assume, even though you never want the players to go into anything assuming they are going to win; you have to work for it. This ballclub, when we started playing -- when we could not pull away from the Red Sox with all their injuries, you wondered. You're in the clubhouse, you're on the field and you still know the hunger is there and I think that's important. Then when we beat the Red Sox, all the games we needed to beat the Red Sox, I felt real good about this team. As I say, what happened the last few days has been remarkable for me. Even though you know they can win, you know they are not going to quit until somebody else knocks them out, but still, to be able to accomplish what we accomplished at a ballpark that we didn't win a game all year in Oakland. So what I found out about our team is that the core is still there and the people that come in understand what the philosophy is and that we are there to win games and that we don't care who wins them, who gets credit for it. Last night was a good example. Roger came in with two outs in the fifth inning to get a victory and that wasn't important, and he almost broke my back when we got in the clubhouse and he picked me up; we know there's nothing wrong with his arms. He picked me up like I was a toy and just sort of rattled me around a little bit. That just sort of makes me feel good, the fact that the players understand that the one thing we want to do is win, and really, the personal stuff is on the back burner.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297