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October 20, 2000

Bobby Valentine


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bobby Valentine.

Q. Beyond how they play on the field, what do you like about this group of 25 men you have on your team?

BOBBY VALENTINE: Besides the way they play... Hmm. Well, they're sensible. Most of the guys know the difference between right and wrong. Did I say they were sensible? They just understand. That makes things easier whenever I have to do something, they already understand. So... I like that. I like the cars they drive, most of the houses they live in, I like the places they go to dinner and sometimes invite me.

Q. Joe Torre grew up in Brooklyn, he actually went to some Subway Series. As a guy who's a little younger who grew up in Connecticut, what does a Subway Series mean to you?

BOBBY VALENTINE: Well, it means that it's the end of October and the best team in the National League is playing against the best team in the American League. It's a World Series. I know we're going to have a nickname here, and Joe probably doesn't mind that because he's managed in other World Series that didn't have nicknames. But this is the year 2000, it's the World Series. That's what it means to me. As far as playing the Yankees, that means a lot. We could go into that. But I'd rather not. (Laughing.)

Q. Well, go into it.

BOBBY VALENTINE: Well, about Joe being from Brooklyn and going to Subway Series, I guess there's a whole thing there. There's the Yankees and who they have been forever and who they have been in recent -- who they are right now and in the recent past. And who the Mets have been not forever, only since '62, and they decided to build a new building in the swamp to compete against the building of all buildings that we're in today. It's that whole thing. I'm from Connecticut and I think that has -- there's a little stuff there. I think that the Mets were the out-of-city team. They were the suburban team, the World's Fair team that had something to do with bringing thoughts and people from outside the little New York area. Now I know we have an amazing amount of fans in New York, and we are New York's favorite team, because this is a National League city, right? I've been hearing that forever. But that's a whole thing there. It's neat.

Q. Can you run through your line-up and your DH choice.

BOBBY VALENTINE: Yes. Is today a good day to do that, Katy?


BOBBY VALENTINE: Is Joe doing it? He has a lot more experience.

THE MODERATOR: He did it earlier.

BOBBY VALENTINE: I will definitely do it then. (Laughter.) We have Timo Perez leading off. Explanation needed? No. Alfonzo, Piazza, Zeile, Ventura, Agbayani, Payton, Pratt and Bordick. The reason I have Mike for my DH, he's not catching and I'd like to get him in the line-up.

Q. If someone said to you before the season began that you would be going to the World Series with an outfield of Payton, Agbayani and Perez, what would you say?

BOBBY VALENTINE: I would say, "Geez, some guys are going to have to get injured or released or both." That's what happened. I had seen Agbayani play in the past, and I thought that he could play in a team going to the World Series. I had known about Jay and hoped and prayed for him, but in the beginning of the spring I didn't think he'd be playing here. I didn't think that his health would ever make him the centerfielder that he is. And Perez I had no clue about, other than have Omar Minaya and Jimmy say that he was a real interesting player who could help the team some day.

Q. What are your impressions that it might have been unjust a little bit from Benny Agbayani predicting the Mets would win in five? Is that a help or hindrance to have that statement made?

BOBBY VALENTINE: You weren't there when I tried to take a little heat off Benny. He was asking which game he thought we were going to lose. I'm sure that's just how Benny said it: "We'd win in five." He didn't put his Hawaiian shirt on and say, "...Or six or seven and I hope we win." But... You know. Someone's going to win this series, and it might be in five.

Q. Joe said earlier today that when you were on his team, he could see that you had a feeling to manage. How much of your managerial style do you get from playing for him?

BOBBY VALENTINE: Probably got some of my style from him because he really let me get close to him for a little while. And then like most managers, as I grew closer, they decided it would be best if we had a lot of distance, and then he released me. (Laughter.) But, Joe had just -- you have to remember, he had just stopped being a player and stopped being a player-manager the year I got there. I believe the year before he was the player-manager. So a lot of his feel at the time, as I remember it, was from a player's perspective, which made it real easy. I remember one time though, it was about the -- you know, let me just tell you that we didn't have a very good team, and I didn't play very much. If I did, we would have been even worse. But there was one time I think in Joe's managerial life that he learned a little something. He had the same office as I have there. Eddie Kranepool's on the team, Tom Grieve, soon to be general manager and my good friend, was on the team. There was one other older guy, all of whom -- we weren't playing. But I had this thing where I was on the bench all the time. Like I thought maybe if he saw that I wasn't on the bench, it would give him a reason to release me earlier. I kind of looked out for the guys sometimes because Krane would be in Joe's office with his feet on his desk watching the game, and a couple of the other guys would be on the floor often watching the game on Joe's television. It was the only television in the clubhouse at the time. And if Joe was ever kind of moving that way, sometimes I'd sprint up there and do a bang on the door. And I was either in the bathroom or something one time when Joe went up to the office during the game. There were two guys laying on the floor watching the game, one with his feet up on the desk. I think it was one of the first times Joe went, "Oh, boy, there's some other stuff that goes with this, other than the hit-and-run and steals and pitching changes." But he handled it with ease. He kind of went in the bathroom, they said he went in the bathroom -- Tom Grieve told me what happened. He just went in, closed the door, he did what he did, came out, closed the door, walked through the office, never said a word until the next day. By that time, actually, that time Krane was the only one left, when he left, Krane was the only one left in the office. But I learned from him. He was gracious. I don't know, some of you probably know, years later, he was coaching -- I mean, he was announcing in Anaheim, and I asked him if he would even think about being a coach for me in Texas. That's all interesting stuff.

Q. What did he say?

BOBBY VALENTINE: Hell no. What are you, crazy? (Laughter.) Money and security I have, I'm gonna go with you to Texas and be a coach? Actually, he was gracious. He said, "With the money I'm making, I'm going to go and be a coach for you in Texas?"

Q. This is your first time in the stage. In the context of your career, what are your own feelings right now about this?

BOBBY VALENTINE: Well, I'm happy as a lark I'm thankful for a job well done by a great organization and a great group of players. I'm glad I have a chance to share this with as many friends who are in this town right now sharing it with me.

Q. As someone who very diligently watches and reads everything he can about the game, through the years watching the post-season and the World Series, what have you learned from managerial moves there, and how has that affected you?

BOBBY VALENTINE: Wow, much too heavy. From managerial moves in the World Series, I don't know. Watching, just from watching, I don't know about from reading, probably the thing that always rang true in my mind was when there was a lack of consistency where sometimes things change in a World Series that people didn't do for 162 games. I always kind of frowned at that.

Q. Could you go into why you're starting Pratt, that whole thing?

BOBBY VALENTINE: Because I don't want to DH him. I think he's our next best right-handed hitter. There's a left-handed pitcher tomorrow. Todd Pratt's been a big part of our team for two years and more. I think he's as deserving as any person who's ever put on a uniform to play in a World Series game, and this might be his only opportunity.

Q. Is there an approach to managing? Or your approach to your players, has it changed all in the last couple years?


Q. In what way?

BOBBY VALENTINE: In 100 or 1,000 ways. Change... I like to get crazy about it. But change is one of the things when it's put on you, you dislike it. When you do it on your own, you embrace it. I think a flower comes out of the ground and it changes until it's its finest -- at its finest point. Then it dies. As we go through life, I think we're supposed to change and change from within. We do things that you learn along the way. So who knows? I've changed.

Q. Anything specific?

BOBBY VALENTINE: I've gotten a lot grayer. How about that? And why hasn't Joe? Has anybody ever asked that? (Laughing.) It's the water on this side of town, huh? You change. You learn. You stub your toe and you make sure you turn on the light the next time you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Figure it out.

Q. You say you've frowned at doing things differently from the way you've done over 162 games. Basketball coaches compress their rotation for the playoffs down to seven or eight players. Aren't there things that you do in the playoffs and the World Series because of urgency, that, "We do it now that I wouldn't do in July?"

BOBBY VALENTINE: Probably. I've been here, starting tomorrow, one day, okay? So probably there are things that necessitate you getting away from the norm. But, that being said, my answer to the question was when I've watched things on television, the things that have made me frown the most were when people have not -- when Wade Boggs was all of a sudden bunting with men on first and second. And I saw him play for five years and never saw him bunt. You know? It goes on and on and on. Those are the things that stick in my mind. Things might necessitate straying from the norm, sure. Even that happens sometimes during a season, when a situation necessitates something less than a consistent move. But that's all I can say. I've seen it and I've frowned on it. I'll probably do it. I hope it works out. (Laughing.)

Q. I know what you said, I understand what you said about the changes you go through in managing. Can you talk a little bit about the growth process of this team in the last three or four years and how getting Mike Piazza and Mike Hampton sort of put you over the top there?

BOBBY VALENTINE: It would be really hard for me to put it all in nice chronological order. All I know is there was a lot of change that was needed with personnel for whatever it was, four years ago, that Steve initiated most of the change. Most all of the change was good. The people who came in worked hard to blend together. There were parts that were missing every now and then. I think that we either filled from within -- and a little bit of a difference here, I think, is when people asked me before about difference, that during the season, we've kind of filled from within with Benny, losing the established guy, Ricky; and then Benny, losing the veteran centerfielder and doing Payton; losing a rightfielder and doing Timo. The moves from the Yankees were not from within, and both ways worked, which I think is a great thing for baseball - that you can look and see two World Series teams and see how different styles get people to the same place. But, yeah, Mike and Mike, we needed that offensive presence. We got Mike Piazza to fulfill that. We needed another presence on the mound of experience, tenacity, and talent, and we got Mike Hampton to fill that. To say nothing about the addition of Armando Benitez. He was also a very big, big addition.

End of FastScripts�

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