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October 20, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Pitching Roger Clemens in Game 4 ,that only gives him one start, but was there motivation to allow him to recuperate from the Division Series?

JOE TORRE: That's probably a big part of it, yes. First of all, I didn't know what to expect from Game 5 of that Division Series, and then when he did show the energy and the velocity and all that stuff, I was pleased, but I knew he would need time to recoup. He's probably still not going to be 100% tomorrow, but he has a feeling that it's going to be a little bit better than what it was last time.

Q. You pushed a lot of the right buttons in this series. How much of that is analyzing your opponent and the stats and everything, or going by your gut in key situations?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think more or less, a gut, but, you know, the gut comes from knowing your opponent and I know that there was some -- the questions about, you know, walking Ichiro. I mentioned to somebody earlier today, I said, it was like trying to pitch to Yogi Berra; how do you pitch to Yogi? You throw the ball in the dirt, he's going to hit it; and if you throw the ball over his head he's going to hit it. He's too good of a hitter. I would rather be second-guessed for the next guy getting a hit than second-guess myself if he got one. A lot of it is gut. But a big part of what I do, and I'm very fortunate to have Don Zimmer. I don't make light of that. He's managed. He's got the gambler's mentality, and it really helps me in bouncing things off him and Mel, both.

Q. People have started to get rather creative in trying to describe what Mariano has done. Is there a comparison that you can make just looking back to how valuable he's been in the post-season?

JOE TORRE: He's just like a regular player. I know when he comes out of the bullpen, but for me, you can look at him like a Bernie Williams or a Jeter because he's a part of everything that we have done and those guys, playing the games we lose, and he very rarely plays in the games we lose. He's a very special part of what we do and he has been, you know, so efficient and so businesslike. I don't remember anyone being like him. He has gotten better, and here is a kid who, you know, basically throws a fastball; again, there are different fastballs he throws and he has -- he has worked at it. Again, he doesn't take for granted because he had a good year or he's had a good couple of years that it's automatically going to happen. He's really worked at it and he has gone about his business trying to improve on what he does.

Q. Some of your players said that in Game 5, it was the loudest they have ever heard here, which is saying a lot considering how many times you have been in the home field and post-season; is there any way to quantify your advantage?

JOE TORRE: If you were playing an inexperienced club, it would take on more of an advantage. I go back to when we played San Diego. I think several of those players came up to us when they got here at Yankee Stadium and looked straight up and these people are right on top of you. Several players said to me, in the back of your mind you're saying "Ha-ha-ha, we have an advantage here." But Seattle comes here, they know what it's like. Lou has been a big part of it. Lou has been here during crazy times. I mean, the crowd in Game 5 was louder than I have ever heard it in my six years here, no question. And I think there are a lot of things wrapped up there that, the fact that we came back from down 0-2, and the city I think just needing to run somewhere and just scream. But it certainly came together on Monday for us. I would like to think it's an advantage. Once you get in that game, it's just that steady noise you here all the time.

Q. Joe, you just had a third game on the road that you won and turned the momentum of the series the other way; what do you say to a team before a third game?

JOE TORRE: I don't say anything. I just go around check the temperature. I know everybody is ready to play this game. I know Lou said that they beat us five out of six here and there's reason for them to be confident. And we beat them four out of five there; I can't figure it out. Certainly, it's supposed to be our home field and we are supposed to have the advantage and vice versa. But when you get in the post-season, the teams are so good and we both have closers, and I think when you have a closer and Mariano proved that there, being on the road isn't that intimidating because you have somebody who can close the deal. I think that's a big part of being able to win on the road is to have the team that can do it. When you're in post-season; they are capable.

Q. The pressure you felt in '98, down to Cleveland after a 114-win season, what do you imagine the pressure is like for Lou, 116 wins and down 0 -2?

JOE TORRE: The thing is, they have practice at it. They were in Cleveland and down 2-1 against the guy who beat them in Game 1. I think that in a five-game series, that maybe was more intense than it is today for them. Again, you don't want to fall down 3-0, for sure, but that was a huge game for them to win in Game 4. But there's no question, they are under pressure. They won 116 games and they certainly don't want that to go for naught. Not that it would not be a great record, but we all want to get to the World Series, there's no question. On our side, we know what it was like when we won one game and turned it; as Tom asked me, we want to try to keep the momentum on our side.

Q. Other than the premature home run trot, when have you stopped thinking about Soriano as a rookie?

JOE TORRE: I guess during the course of the year, you know, we've had several meetings about inexperience at second base, things he did and I just noticed that he bounced back from those criticisms very easily. Again, you don't know what's going to happen when you get to October, but when I watched him perform in the Oakland series, it was really impressive for me. I mean, the kid never changes a beat. He's the same guy, has a smile on his face, doesn't say much. And just at the plate, he just seems to have a presence about him. And on the field to me one of the big things was catching it and throwing it to first base for the last out of the game. That tells me something about a rookie, and he has no trouble doing that. But he has taken to the post-season the way Jeter did in '96 for me.

End of FastScripts....

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