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October 25, 2000

Paul O'Neill


THE MODERATOR: First question for Paul.

Q. Can you talk about this series so far for you? And Joe talks a lot about how much you've been through in the LCS and stuff. Your approach?

PAUL O'NEILL: This is the time of year where individual things are set aside, because obviously it's just a race to four. In my mind, if you win a World Championship, then everybody's pretty much done their part. Throughout the year, it's a long year, and if you're at this point, I think that everybody on our team knows they've helped us get to this point. That's the important thing.

Q. You're at this stage right now, one win away from where you want to be, the World Championship. What do you say to yourself? There's a part of you that's excited. The other side, though, you want to make sure you don't get too excited and lose focus?

PAUL O'NEILL: Yeah, well, you're exactly right. I mean, you want to go out and play right now. You don't want to go home and wait. You're anxious. This has been a gut-wrenching series, no doubt about it. They've been one-run games. When you walk off the field, you know you've been through a battle. That's a credit to the Mets. Obviously, they've got Leiter on the mound tomorrow. I'm sure they're confident with that. We've been to this point before, and we never assume that -- you don't get a prize for winning three. There's no doubt about that. Obviously, it would be great to win tomorrow. But you can't come to a ballpark assuming that you're just going to walk out there and win; it's got to be done on the field. As close as these games are, I mean, I don't expect anything different tomorrow.

Q. The last month, obviously, you weren't hitting well.

PAUL O'NEILL: You know, I really don't want to talk about me right now. I think Denny had a great game. Cone got in, had a great game. Mariano had a great game. This is the time of the year you talk about the New York Yankees. I don't want to be rude, but that's just the way it is.

Q. That's where I was going.


Q. I was going to Cone. Just his contribution today, that it seemed small, a one-hitter. Yet, in the sense of a team, it was a comeback for him just as you'd come back. Is that the mindset?

PAUL O'NEILL: Well, I mean it's a credit to Joe. I mean, Joe believes in Cone. I mean, he hasn't pitched in a while. He comes in, and he goes home feeling that he's done something for this team tonight. And as a player, that's what you -- I mean, it's great. There wasn't anybody on this team that wasn't rooting for Cone to get out there and -- he's got the tying run at the plate with Piazza. That's a huge out for us. He can go home knowing that he was part of this win. That's a great feeling for any player. I'm sorry if I went on a tangent there.

Q. Going back to the Yankees, are you able to step back and think about the legacy this team has since you've been here? Are you able to step back, or is this something that will happen later in your career?

PAUL O'NEILL: Well, I think we'll realize later exactly. I think that while you're on the road, you kind of keep your eye on it. I know we're one win away from something very special. But that last win can be the toughest. And right now, I think that everybody kind of walked out of that locker room anxious to get home and rest, because again, these games have been very tough mentally.

Q. How much has Joe's loyalty to his veterans to the guys that have done it meant to you and the other guys? And do you think that's been more of a factor in his decision-making this year than in past years?

PAUL O'NEILL: Well, I mean, when you go through things with the same group of people, the same core of people, you never lose faith in people. In this game, that cannot always be true. It's kind of "What have you done for me now, or lately?" And Joe doesn't forget. That's a credit to him and what he's brought to this team, and being our manager has kept this team close.

End of FastScripts....

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