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October 20, 2000

Andy Pettitte


THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy. How much more pressure does playing the Mets bring to playing in the World Series.

ANDY PETTITTE: I think there's more pressure, obviously. Just because the -- how much interest the city has put into it, with the fans and how much excitement is going to be there. But, again, it's a World Series, and we're trying to defend -- we're the defending champions. There's pressure on us. But I think playing with the Mets adds a little bit more to it.

Q. Could you speak about the warrior mentality of this ballclub?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I mean it's been amazing. I think that a lot of people had written us off. And I think there at the end of the season, the little stretch we went through there, we might have lost a little bit of confidence. But then once we clinched, we were able to just really put that all behind us. We realized that it was going to be a battle, beating Oakland, and we were able to beat them. And obviously, Seattle was a tough series. But I'll tell you, the guys just battled. And I don't think we're too old yet to win another championship. I know that there was a lot of doubts being arisen. It's definitely gratifying. This year has been especially gratifying, how hard it was at the end of the year, how hard the series had been for us. To get back is just real exciting for us.

Q. The Mets had started out pretty much every game very fast, they scored 16 first-inning runs. How important is the focus for you to shut them down early? Especially Timo Perez seems to set the table for them quite nicely.

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, he's done a great job, obviously, especially in the last series. It's going to be important. It's going to be important for me, just as I said yesterday, I've kind of struggled at home in World Series starts and stuff. So it's going to be important for me just to get a couple innings under my belt, get in there, get relaxed, get comfortable. That's always important. But hopefully I can keep him off base; and obviously, it will make my job a lot easier if I can keep him off.

Q. What's the reaction been in the Yankees clubhouse to Benny Agbayani's prediction, and what does it say about your team and your team's experience at this level, that nobody from the Yankees is popping off in the same manner?

ANDY PETTITTE: I guess they've made a few comments and stuff like that. But they haven't, I guess, had the experience or whatever that we have as far as dealing with all this or whatever. We've been quiet. We're going to try to do our talking on the field, and we're trying to stay focused and just worry about that. We know it's going to be a battle. We know they got a great team. I'm sure that they're looking to win it in five; and I mean, we're looking to win this thing also. So I think if you asked anybody on our team who's going to win, we'd say, "We're gonna win it," also, so it's going to be a great series.

Q. From your days when you faced David Justice as an opponent, can you talk about how he's able to keep his power even against left-handed pitchers?

ANDY PETTITTE: To tell you the truth, actually, I've had a lot of success against DJ. So it is amazing, I can't believe that I've had the success that I did when he was with Cleveland against him. But he's a great hitter. He's got power to all fields, and that's obviously a big key to it. He can go the other way, and the big key, I think facing left-handing pitching, keeping your front side in. He keeps everything in. He doesn't get scared. He doesn't back off the plate if you brush him back or whatever. He's very disciplined; and when he gets a pitch to hit, he usually doesn't miss it.

Q. Can you give us an insight into Joe Torre's loyalty to his veterans? The guys who even struggled in the past, you, Cone, why it means so much for him to keep with his guys even though it seems another guy might be better at the time?

ANDY PETTITTE: That's just the way it is. That's the way he is. I think a lot of it might have to do with him playing this game. He realizes how hard it is to play the game, and he's had success and he's had failure. I know he's always told us, I think he's hit .360, one MVP, he's hit .260. He realizes what it is to struggle, how you can get in a funk. Again, he never forgets what we've done in the past and what players have done in the past. That's the ultimate for a baseball player, to have a manager like him that remembers the things you've done in the past and will stand by you through thick and thin. I mean, I've said it 100 times, I feel like I owe him a lot just for standing by me last year, whenever the organization was maybe wanting to go ahead and get rid of me. So it's been great for me just to be able to stay here and be a part still of this special team that we've got here.

Q. What's it been like to have been a part of 12 straight World Series victories?

ANDY PETTITTE: Any time you set records that have been around for a long time, obviously that would be good, it would be great. But, again, we have to realize that it's World Series games, and what we've done is pretty incredible, to win as many as we have in a row. When you talk about a sweep or whatever, in this one, it's not likely. We're just going to go out, hopefully, we can get the first one. Obviously, that would be a big one to get. Again, it's just been really nice to be a part of this team and to do what this team has done over the last six years.

Q. There's been a lot of discussion about the Mets' left-handed pitching. What's your approach?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, again, as far as talking about how I'm going to try to pitch them, I'm just going to pitch my game. The approach will be: Try to get ahead of their hitters, obviously. Like I've said, I give up hits. I've got to make big pitches with guys in scoring position and in situations like that, hopefully I'll be able to continue to do that. But the big thing for me is just not to walk guys, because, again, if I walk guys in addition to the hits that I give up, it could be a long game for me. So that's the big key, is just get ahead of their hitters.

Q. Have you allowed yourself to think of a World Series threepeat? What would that mean to you?

ANDY PETTITTE: I really haven't thought about it that much; I really haven't. We realize we have a lot of work ahead of us, it's going to be a tough series. To start thinking about that, we'll do it when the time gets a lot closer. It would be special, obviously. I think the last team to do it was Oakland, I think, if I recall correctly. But it would just be another great part of this run that we've been on, to be able to win another championship.

Q. Acknowledging there's always pressure here to win and of course you want to go on, do you carry it as far as the premise that Yankees have everything to lose and the Mets have everything to gain here?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think so. Yeah, definitely. We're the defending champs. I think a lot of people, or most people, expect us to win or say we should win, because we have the experience and stuff like that. We really, I think if we win, we were supposed to win. If we lose, then the Mets did an unbelievable job. So I think it really is, we really don't have a lot to gain except another World Series title, which would be awesome, and a threepeat. They've got a lot to gain.

End of FastScripts�

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