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October 25, 2000

Andy Pettitte


THE MODERATOR: First question for Andy.

Q. What do you think you learned facing that line-up the first time around?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I don't know if I really learned a lot. I was making a lot of quality pitches, and usually when you make good pitches you're going to get guys out. I made a couple mistakes there late in the game, obviously to Zeile and to Trammell. But pretty much I threw a pretty good game. I was keeping the ball down, moving it in and out the way I like to. That's always my approach. Just try to get ahead and just -- again, when I get ahead, try to make quality pitches and try to get the guys out, obviously.

Q. You've had success on the road this year; but given the fact that it is the World Series and that it's getting closer to the end of the Series and that it is in Shea Stadium, do you have to have your concentration sharper than normal, pitching on the road?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I think so. Maybe a little bit. Obviously, I feel like I've had a lot of success in the World Series on the road. And I think that maybe my focus might be a little bit better on the road sometimes than it is at home. I'm not sure. But I've pitched well on the road in the World Series. But going into the other team's park, you have to realize you're going to get in trouble. The crowd's going to get loud. That's when you've really just got to try to block it out, get in a little tunnel vision and just make your pitches. You still have to stay relaxed. If you don't stay relaxed, you're going to be in a world of trouble.

Q. Can you talk about the difference in Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium as a left-handed pitcher's park?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, this is -- since I've been pitching here, it seems like a fairly pitcher-friendly park. So obviously, you got to somehow worry about the short portion of Yankee Stadium, where here the dimensions are pretty fair all the way around. This is a good park to pitch in. I don't mind pitching here at all. As far as comparing the ballpark, my approach would not change one bit whether it's here or at Shea.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Joe's loyalty to his players, what it's meant to you? And do you think -- has there ever been times where that might have gotten in the way of what's best for the team?

ANDY PETTITTE: Obviously, I mean I've said it over and over, his loyalty to me has been tremendous. I don't know if I'd be here again. I've said it a thousand times. I don't know if I'd be here if it wasn't for him standing by me, and other people on our coaching staff. It seems to me like every decision Joe's made since I've been here as a Yankee has been the right decision. And things have always gone -- wrong or right, the organization has always done a great job of making decisions. Sometimes people raise their eyebrows at them. Then all of a sudden they turn out to be great decisions. That's the job of a manager. I think that Skip's the kind of guy that's just going to go down with the guys that got him here. And as a player, you love that. He's been in the situations that we've all been in, and he realizes things that you can do in certain situations. Sometimes you're going to fail at them. You're not always going to succeed. So that's a big responsibility that the manager's got.

Q. Is having won 14 straight World Series games, was it almost like a shocker to lose one?

ANDY PETTITTE: It really was. I was really sitting there, very confident that we were going to win the game. And even when we were down two there, it was almost like -- I think we felt like we were going to have some magic. Obviously we realized sooner or later it was going to end. That was a big game for us last night. The Mets did a great job; they battled. Benitez has too great of stuff to continue to come in and struggle in situations like that. He came in and had a good inning to close us out there, but we were playing with a lot of confidence in the World Series, obviously. But I think everybody realized sooner or later we were going to lose a game; and unfortunately, it was last night.

Q. I know you don't want to lose any games, but being as dominant as your team has been over the last few years, do you like the idea of a more competitive series, get the juices flowing a little more?

ANDY PETTITTE: No, not at all. (Laughter.) It's been a long year. It's been a hard year. It would have been nice to win four straight to get back down to my hometown in Texas or whatever. But everything's been hard for us this year, so the World Series might as well be hard. It's a series now. These guys -- they've got a good ball team, and they've got too good of a ball team for us to come in and to win four straight from them. So we planned on it being a hard series. I know it's going to be a hard series now especially. Hopefully, we can just continue to play solid. And hopefully, we'll come out on top.

Q. Because the games have been going so long, last night your bus was at 1:00, are you going to scout the whole game or maybe leave in the fifth inning just to get a good night's sleep?

ANDY PETTITTE: I'm not sure. So far, everybody's been staying. If Skip pats me on the shoulder and tells me to leave, I'll be more than happy to leave. It's definitely been late nights. No, I'll probably stay. We kind of got in the routine now, just the three games that we played: Go to bed at about 3:00 and wake up at about 11:30. Almost like you had to get used to starting the games at 8:30 now, the games are just so late. So I'll probably hang out for the whole game.

Q. In '96 after you lost the first two games, I'm told that there was a great deal of upset in your clubhouse, and David Cone stood up -- I don't know if he conducted a meeting -- but there was kind of a rallying yell. Do you recall what that was all about, what he did?

ANDY PETTITTE: I really can't say I recall. I really don't. I mean, I know we were down. I know, me personally, I was down, just losing the first two games at home. We finally got back to the World Series after so long, how frustrating it was. But, yeah, we realized we had a good team, and a good pitching staff and a strong bullpen, and we felt like that we still had a chance going out there. I think that's where we really started showing the character of this team, what kind of character it has.

Q. You personally, can you tell us about the club? Is there some concern about getting Bernie Williams going? You need his bat. How do you feel personally about that?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I think we'd all love to see Bernie have a great night tonight. Obviously, Bernie's a big part of our line-up, and we need Bernie to get going. But we've always had guys that struggled in certain series, and the other guys pick it up. We've done that since I've been here. And if Bernie continues to struggle, we'll continue to try to pick it up. And I'm sure the other guys in the line-up will continue to pick it up. Obviously, it would make things a lot easier if Bernie could get hot. Paul was struggling for a little while. Now he's swinging the bat real well. Tino was struggling late in the season. Now he's swinging the bat great. The guys are upbeat. We're positive. I think Bernie's positive; and hopefully, he'll be able to break out tonight.

Q. The Mets play so well here. Was there any talk today in the clubhouse about how the team really has to come out early and kind of take control of tonight's game, kind of keep from getting swept away?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I know we all realize how great they play at home. They have been extremely tough here. That's always one of our keys, is to try to come out and to get some runs on the board early where our pitchers can kind of settle in. I think it makes it easier when you get a couple runs early to work with. Maybe it helps you relax more. I think that's always the key that we always talk about in our clubhouse, we want to come out and try to jump on people early.

Q. I know you're pitching against the Mets and not Al Leiter. Is it tough to block out the fact that he has pitched so well here at home? I mean, he has a pretty dominant record here at Shea.

ANDY PETTITTE: I mean, I have no idea how he's pitched here, whatever. I haven't heard anything. Al's going to be tough on us. Al's going to be tough whether we're here or at Yankee Stadium or wherever. Again, my approach is I'm just trying to go out there, get ahead of the hitters, and pitch my game. I'm going to give up hits, and I have got to try to figure out how to get a few of their guys out and stuff like that. I'm sure Al's going to pitch a great game. Hopefully, I can give us a chance to win. That's all I'm going to try to do. But I can't concern myself with how he's pitched here. I've just got to try to concern myself with their line-up.

Q. After all of the hype and anticipation about a Subway Series, what have you noticed that's been interesting in public reaction to the games, either at the ballpark, away from the ballpark? What's struck you?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I mean, I think when it first started, before we even played a game, it was more, I think, from talking to people around town, it was more exciting. Now, all the stuff that's happened and some things that happened have kind of, I think, taken away from the atmosphere and the World Series. It's really been kind of discouraging to me, just the way everything's panned out and stuff. It's almost like the focus is not even on the teams anymore, it's on the individual players, and stuff like that. So I think with everything that's happened and stuff like that, it's kind of lost a little bit of its luster, as far as us playing the Mets.

Q. Given the fact that if you guys win you'll be up 3-1, have you thought about the possibility of pitching what could be the series-deciding game tomorrow? How will you go about trying to keep your emotions in check if you took them out for that, being up 3-1?

ANDY PETTITTE: We expect to win tonight. We hope to win. Then obviously, that would give us a chance to clinch tomorrow. I've been able to -- I've had that situation already in my career, in '98 out in San Diego. Again, it's the same approach. I never really approach a game any differently. I'll just try to relax out there. If I get too wound up and get too caught up in the emotions and too caught up in the crowd and too caught up in the things that are going on, I really tend to struggle a little bit in those situations. So I'll just try to stay relaxed and stay focused, and just try to pitch my game. Hopefully, we'll have the opportunity to do that tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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