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October 21, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Before the game, you talked and you said that all losses are the same whether it's by 14 runs or one run; are all wins the same?

JOE TORRE: Well, this was a wonderful ballgame it was an emotional ballgame especially falling behind when Bret hit the home run and Bernie coming back. We were even, but we certainly felt that we had the advantage, playing at home, late in the game, you start in the ninth inning and you don't have to defend your lead. It just changed the momentum right there. This was a big game, but the fact whether it was a sloppy game or we won by a big score or we won the way we did, it still puts us up 3-1 right now and we have confidence going into tomorrow. But by a long way, it's not over with. You have a club that won 116 games over there, and don't ever take that for granted.

Q. Joe, did Roger's leg tighten up? Why did you take him out when you did?

JOE TORRE: He was just running out. Mel went back and checked with him every inning, and he had a wrap on it and he had to take the wrap off because it was getting real tight on him, and he went out and pitched without the wrap. He had like a little sleeve on it. You know, I didn't think he drove off the mound as much in the fifth inning; that's why we had Mendoza throwing from the start of the fifth inning, just in case we needed to get him in in the fifth. He gave us -- he gave us all I could ask for, be it five or six innings, and that was -- that was five innings we didn't have to look for. It was a great outing for him.

Q. Bernie has always been kind of streaky, but his post-season numbers are pretty incredible. Were you waiting for something like this to happen tonight? Did you expect it? Or was it still a stunning shot?

JOE TORRE: It's not necessarily stunning. Bernie looks like he has some at-bats that don't make sense, for his ability, and then all of a sudden when something needs to happen, it's like there's a certain amount of magic that's tied to him. We all expect it and he never let's us down. Not that he gets a hit every time up, but I think he's had great at-bats in situations that seem to lock him in. But again, when he hit the foul home run and just stayed right there, he didn't try to pull Arthur Rhodes, which was big, because he can get in and jam the heck out of you. It was a great at-bat. The last couple years, he has not been the right-hand hitter that he was before that, but he certainly is getting better at it.

Q. You've seen a couple of home runs like that in Yankee Stadium over the years; the Mariners thought they were pop-ups. Was the winds getting stronger as the game went on?

JOE TORRE: You're asking the wrong guy. We're sitting in the dugout. We don't feel it. The other one was smoked pretty good, I thought. I thought Soriano's ball was hit pretty hard. Bernie's ball, you sit there, and you would like it to be your side but any time that thing is hit down the right field line with this short porch, you know, you hold your breath. When McLemore hit his earlier, he thought it had a chance to go out it. Was windy during batting practice. I think you guys were all out there. Again, it's tough to tell which way it goes because it does swirl. But I could not tell you, really, if it helped or hurt.

Q. You've gotten some great, big moments from a lot of young guys on the Yankees. Do you get any chuckles when you hear "aging Yankees" over and over again?

JOE TORRE: The good part about having experienced players is you bring young players in and you don't require them to do a whole lot and I think that they can develop without feeling that sense of immediacy to do something and counting on it. They deliver without having, you know -- if they make an out with a man on base, you know that we have other guys that are supposed to do that before you. So I think it helps when you sprinkle the youngsters in among the veterans because the veterans are sort of like security blankets for them.

Q. Talk about Soriano.

JOE TORRE: This kid has grown. Spring training, I had a meeting with him when Jeter was hurt, and I said, you know you are going to play every day, but you are probably not going to be with this club only because we don't have a spot for you because you should be playing every day and really didn't rule out the possibility that he could be traded. At that point Knoblauch was our second baseman and we thought Spencer was going to come along quicker than he did. "You're going to be playing every day as long as Jeter is in the lineup whether it's in the outfield, shortstop." I said the reason for this is if you happen to make this club, it's going to be as a utility man and you're going to play a lot. The kid just shakes his head and says "fine" and plays the outfield for us in the spring and we decided to make the switch with Knobby and made the switch to second base; not wonderful, but he's learning and improving all the time. For a kid who swings wild, strikes out a lot, he has an idea at the plate as far as his approach to his pitchers. Again, he did not try to pull Sasaki, and it was huge. And not to take for granted what he did in the top half of the ninth inning, anticipating Stan Javier but he sort of ancitipated and that was a big play, too.

End of FastScripts....

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