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October 21, 2000

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe.

Q. Once again, your roster move with Vizcaino seemed timely and magical.

JOE TORRE: It wasn't to hit against Wendell, though. It was to hit against the first pitcher, Leiter. He had one hell of a night. He's a good player. Even when he bobbled that ball, he didn't panic, and threw the runner out at first base. He's been a good player. I mean, Brian Cashman has made a couple key deals. You look at Justice as the main one, and Neagle. But when you look at the Sojos and the Vizcainos and Polonia, there's some little things that really fit well.

Q. What was the mood on the bench like after you had put a few runs on the board and they just came back right there against Andy?

JOE TORRE: Well, we don't allow ourselves to feel sorry for ourselves. You have a short baseball season if you just feel how unfortunate you are. We knew we had to bounce back. We've done this a number of times. It was a letdown; there's no question. But Nelly went out there and stopped it right there. Of course, Mo came in. The job Stanton did, especially when Glendon came in and got bases loaded, to have Stanton come out and do what he did, I think that was the key to the whole game.

Q. Did you think about pinch hitting for Vizcaino in the ninth inning there? Leiter was out of the game already.

JOE TORRE: He was probably -- he was going to get pinch hit for if I needed an extra base hit or a home run -- I mean a home run. But once we were looking for a single to tie the game, I left him in there.

Q. Can you talk about O'Neill's at-bat being the turning point of the game?

JOE TORRE: I know both Tino and Paul felt very badly about not coming through that inning. I told Paul O'Neill, "You wouldn't have had a chance to hit that time if it wasn't for that at-bat against Benitez." That was unbelievable. You talk about just making up his mind that he was going to give him a tough time. It was a sensational at-bat. Obviously, we wouldn't be here talking like this if he didn't do that.

Q. Is it because some of the previous teams maybe had a little bit easier time accomplishing some of the things, or does this team just seem to find a way to win?

JOE TORRE: I'd like to believe we find a way to win.

I heard Derek Jeter quoted today, instead of blaming us for not doing it an easy way, I think you have to credit the other teams that are good. The Mets are certainly a good team. They battled. We had a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, and that's usually our strong point. But they wouldn't let that happen. I mean, after Andy got Robin out, and then the two base hits, then Pratt had a tough at-bat, it was -- I'd like to believe we don't quit. And we've been pretty successful here over the last few years just by not knowing what's going to happen, but we're going to play nine innings.

Q. What was your initial reaction when Todd Zeile's ball hit the wall, and what did you think when the umpire did not signal a home run?

JOE TORRE: From where I was sitting, it looked like it hit about this far from the top. Evidently, I still haven't seen the replay of it. Evidently, I saw it on the way down. But from my vantage point, it looked like it hit about this far from the top. (Indicating.) That's all I could tell. I thought when he first hit it, it was a home run. Then when I saw it hit the ground, it looked like, as I said, it hit a couple of feet below the top.

Q. You mentioned Mike Stanton. But can you say a little more about his two innings pitched? He looked like Mariano Rivera out there tonight.

JOE TORRE: Well, he did this for us in Oakland in Game 5. He's done it numerous times. I mean, today, to go through some of those right-hand hitters -- I was asked the other day, and a legitimate question, how effective is he going to be, he hasn't pitched in so long. The Seattle club is mainly right-handed, and we didn't really use him. He went out there today and threw strikes. It was huge; it really was.

Q. Can you talk a little bit more about your bullpen? It seems to be coming around where it really counts, as opposed to the last week of the season, you weren't getting as much good innings out of them?

JOE TORRE: To be honest with you, we didn't get a chance to use our bullpen the last couple weeks of the season. We were getting our ass kicked every day. We were down by six, seven, eight runs, we didn't get a chance to get to Mo and those other guys. These guys have been here before, I think that's important. They've been here before. Not that it guarantees we're going to win, but we're able to focus; and I think that was big for us.

End of FastScripts....

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