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October 26, 2000

Derek Jeter

Andy Pettitte

Luis Sojo

Mike Stanton

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Torre.

Q. Can you put this in perspective with your other championships and your feelings, your different moods of those, compare it to how you're feeling right now?

JOE TORRE: You know, it's a culmination of the year. When you win the first one, of these three, it's great, because it takes so much to do it. Then you win two in a row, it's a special thing. You really never even fathom that you're going to be back there again. You figure there's going to be a rock in the road somewhere. Then, when you struggle like we did most of the year, as far as being consistent, we had trouble being consistent, then I had a real good feeling about going into post-season play after that terrible three weeks we had. Because I knew it was a different type of pressure that we were experiencing at that time. But this ballclub, all of a sudden, I don't want to say "came together," because we're pretty much together anyway, but that dreaded plane ride from here to Oakland -- and nothing against the city, obviously -- it was just to have to go back there and play Game 5, there was some anger that came back. "We make this trip, let's make it worth while." I know one thing. It was probably the most scared I've been when Mike hit that ball. I screamed, "No!" Because any time he hits a ball in the air, it's a home run in my mind. I saw Bernie trotting over for that. I said, "Wow! I guess I misread that one." But it is really super-satisfying, because it just wasn't -- it's never easy, but we had a lot of trouble putting things together this year.

Q. Can you talk about your pitching this Series? It was tremendous.

JOE TORRE: You know what's interesting about our club, we try to insulate ourselves basically from public opinion, for good reason. This town, again, it's not a criticism, it's just that there's so many things going on, there's so many distractions, we tried to -- that clubhouse is a special place. The way we feel about ourselves is a special thing. When I have meetings, I always tell the players, "It's more important what we think of ourselves than it is what other people think of us." Let's admit it: We struggled a big part of this year. Unless we had this closeness as a team -- different people come in, but we always welcome them in, and they sense they know it's different, because when they come here, they want to know what to do to fit in. Just being together and not being distracted by the fact that our bullpen was questioned, Rivera was questioned, and, again, rightly so. I'm not saying they shouldn't have been. But they managed to keep their heads on right. And Mike Stanton, he is a remarkable person for me. He sits there for the media every day, whether he's good or bad, and basically lets his actions speak, and he certainly has been really something.

THE MODERATOR: We'll let the players take some questions, too.

Q. Joe, this is an historic Series. There was a lot of buildup and anticipation in the press among fans for this. Looking back, putting it in perspective, did New Yorkers get the Subway Series they deserved?

JOE TORRE: Well, I'm sure most of them wanted seven games. We were dreading Saturday, no question -- not for anything other than not really going to enjoy an off day tomorrow if we had lost this game. But I think the Mets should be very proud of what they did and the job that Al Leiter did tonight. He deserved to win or lose that game, because he was very courageous in going out there for nine innings. But I think that the fans should be very happy with the competitiveness of both teams, and the games were very close. They lived up to the advance notices, I think.

Q. Joe, how will you ultimately want history to view this five-year period with this core group, if this is maybe the last time for this core group?

JOE TORRE: You know what's interesting is you sort of get that same question every year. There are going to be some people missing next year. But this core group, as you call it, winning four World Series out of five years in this day and age when you have to come through layer after layer of post-season play, we can put our record, our dedication, our resolve up against any team that's ever played the game of baseball in my mind. We may not have the best players, but we certainly have had the best team.

Q. Luis, can you talk about after everything you've done here, what it means to be here?

LUIS SOJO: Well, I don't know how to explain this moment. I mean, it's a dream come true. I mean, I was in Spring Training, when I see this guy, first time, I go, "Why?" I mean, when they got Vizcaino, I was thinking about the Yankees the whole year. When they got Vizcaino, I said, "Okay, I'm done." I forgot about it. And when they put me on waivers, I always remember this, because I told my wife, "If nobody picks me up, I'll shut it down." And here I am. The first phone call that I get is from the guy from the Yankees, and I have just got to thank you, man.

JOE TORRE: I said no. (Laughter.)

Q. Joe, could you talk about what David Justice meant to the ballclub starting late summer and into the fall?

JOE TORRE: That was part of the distraction that went on this year. Everybody was talking about Sosa and Gonzalez -- not to say they're not great players, but I have to give Brian Cashman a great deal of credit for finding the perfect fit for our club. David Justice, I think it took him a little time to adjust to our team. Any time you're with a club for a period of time and you get traded, you are really not sure of the environment. But he came in and was every bit what we needed at that point. He filled a big gap, because we had lost Shane Spencer early. We expected him to be a big part of our offense. But to come in, be the left-handed hitter, he probably played more outfield than I anticipated he would. But a very tough competitor. I mean, you look at his numbers for post-season and what he's done for us, especially against left-handed pitchers, it is remarkable -- a remarkable gift for Brian Cashman.

Q. You touched on Al Leiter. If you could expand on that a little bit, your thoughts on his performance tonight. At the risk of you second-guessing the opposing manager, were you surprised?

JOE TORRE: No. Just the way I felt about Hernandez the other day, he pitched well enough to either get the win or the loss at that point. Andy tried to lobby to stay in the game, and he says, "What does it take to have me stay in the game?" I said, "You probably have to speak Spanish and scream at me." I thought Bobby made the right choice. That's an emotional choice that nobody should second-guess. He put his blood and guts into that.

Q. Luis, with so many stars on the team, like Derek and Mariano Rivera, what does it mean for a guy who's -- I don't want to say the "little guys " -- but to come through like this and basically win a World Series?

LUIS SOJO: I know you guys didn't expect me to be here, but I mean, it's very special. I got the chance to come through in the first game. I did. I said to El Duque, "I want to hit with a man on base." I saw Lee Mazzilli, he told me to: "Stay back, trust your hand, try to hit the ball up the middle." All my career, I don't hit Al Leiter good. He told me to hit the pitch down the middle and everything would work out good for us.

THE MODERATOR: Anything for Andy?

Q. Andy, could you just talk about the second inning when Leiter dropped the bunt, how surprised you were, and did that take any concentration away from you?

ANDY PETTITTE: Coming into the game, all I heard about is how he only had four hits the whole year, or something like that, thinking -- actually, it was a great job by him. I threw a force away. I'm kind of falling off the mound that way. I was very surprised. He laid down a perfect bunt, he got it right by me with me falling off the mound. Tino bobbled that a little bit, just enough to jar me a little bit there. It was a nice -- I was very surprised. It was a nice bunt by him.

Q. Andy, could you describe getting a lot of the big outs tonight with men in scoring position? Also, if you can contrast the way you pitched tonight with the way you pitched that clincher in San Diego?

ANDY PETTITTE: You know, again, winning the game last night puts you in a position where obviously I feel like you can relax a little bit more. So I felt very comfortable tonight. The second inning there, it rattled me a little bit. I had to regain my focus there. You get a couple of pitches, you feel like you are a making good pitches, and things don't work out the way you want them to. So your concentration gets broke a little bit. I just tried as hard as I could to stay focused and locked in.

Q. This would be for all of you, and Derek and Andy. We've been talking and I guess writing all year as if this were a last hoorah for the Yankees. Are reports of your imminent demise exaggerated? Do you view this as a team that is having a last hoorah, or one that has a couple more hoorahs in them?

DEREK JETER: I even ask that question. We're happy we won a championship. No one is focused on what's going to happen next year. We have to have a chance to enjoy this before we worry about what's going to happen next year.

Q. Derek, I guess this is a simple question: What does it mean to you to win MVP, and what does it mean for you to win a World Series every year?

DEREK JETER: MVP, you could have picked a name out of a hat, like I was saying before. It seems like we have a group of 25 MVPs. First game, Vizcaino came up. What Paul O'Neill's done, our pitching staff, our bullpen, Mariano Rivera, today Luis Sojo. You don't rely on one guy. You have to get contributions from everyone.

Q. How about winning the World Series all these times? What does it mean to you?

DEREK JETER: It's great. You don't know when you're going to have an opportunity to get back, so you can't take these things for granted. This, by far, was the best team we played in the five years I've been here. All five games could have gone either way. We were just able to come up with a few more runs. I think both teams were evenly matched. And we have a guy by the name of Mariano Rivera able to close the door.

Q. Derek, Joe, as a lot of managers do, tends to credit all the talent playing for him. What does he mean to you? If he decides that at his age and with all that he's accomplished that this is the end for him, what will it be like for all of you to play for a different manager, and what are you going to do to try to convince him to come back?

DEREK JETER: If he retires, I'm going to retire. He continues to push the right buttons. He's got a magic wand. Seems like every move he makes comes out to help us. But we have a group of guys that want to play for him. You can't say enough about him as a manager. He's a player's manager. He lets you play. He doesn't get on you unless you make mental mistakes. He has a lot of confidence in all of his players and in any situation.

Q. Derek, I was wondering just because the season was so difficult for you guys, I was wondering if this World Series means anything a little more than maybe some of the other World Series?

DEREK JETER: Well, every year is a different story. I'd be lying if I said this one wasn't more gratifying. I mean, we struggled this year. We've had tough times. We said before, winning isn't easy; we made it look easy. It's something that's very difficult to do. We've had our bumps in the road. We're here, sitting here again at the end of the year. We played the best teams. Oakland was the hottest team in baseball when we beat them. Seattle was tough. The Mets have the best team I've seen in the five years that I've been here. So this one is a little more gratifying.

Q. Mike, can you talk about the job the pitching staff did the whole series?

MIKE STANTON: Well, you can say all you want about how good the bullpen pitched, but I think the key was the starting pitching. They set the precedence early in the game, getting guys out. If you notice through the playoffs, a lot of times the teams that won were the teams that scored early. And these guys did a great job getting us some runs early. And starting pitching's just been outstanding.

Q. Can you talk about the fact that this Yankee team seems to take advantage of every mistake that the other teams make, and they make very few themselves. It seems to be the difference in why you guys are the champions again.

MIKE STANTON: Well, I think one of the keys that this team has been able to do that other teams haven't been able to do is to realize that we're still just playing baseball. Even though we're playing in October, you still have to throw the ball, catch the ball, and hit the ball. The pitching, if you can keep the runs to a minimum, and the hitting, if we can keep putting pressure on the other guys, then before long, something's going to break. We didn't come into the post-season playing very well. Everybody counted us out. But bottom line is we're wearing the T-shirts.

Q. Can you just describe what Derek means to the success of this ballclub?

MIKE STANTON: That guy's incredible. It doesn't matter: You bat him first or second, he has the same approach. If you put the ball over the plate, he's going to hack at it. Chances are, he's going to put it in play. Defensively, he just comes up with big play after big play, and I don't think there's any doubt that he's the leader of this team.

Q. I guess you kind of symbolize the entire team in that you had a stretch in August when you really struggled, and now here you are in the World Series. Can you kind of contrast what was happening then and going through your mind then and what you're feeling right now?

MIKE STANTON: Well, I hate to say it, but I'm kind of known for that, having a stretch during the season that I don't get anybody out. But Joe, you can't say enough about Joe. He kept running me out there. And before too long, I was able to work my way out of it. And playing in the post-season, your concentration isn't a factor. That's something that's always there. But this is when baseball's fun. Playing when there's only two teams playing, and this is the big stage. This is when you get to shine.

End of FastScripts....

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