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October 11, 2000

Kazuhiro Sasaki


Q. What did Lou say to you when he came out in the ninth inning last night, and did it settle you down?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: He told me to go ahead and go off the normal motion, not the slide step, and every time he comes out, I get nervous thinking, am I going to understand what he's saying. (Laughter.)

Q. Has there been a time when you didn't understand what he was saying?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: If I look like I don't understand, he usually turns to Alex or Joe and tells them.

Q. Jorge Posada has had success against you in the season and were you mindful of that when you faced him in the ninth inning?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: I did know that he had hit two home runs of me earlier in the year, but I didn't change anything on my pitching. I just didn't want to give up a home run there in that situation.

Q. Where did last night's game rank in terms of your career? You may have had some similar type games in Japan?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: Not to put any ranks on the games, but I was very nervous and the atmosphere was just great. Just something that was wonderful.

Q. During that inning, there were times when you looked like you had a huge sigh of relief. You exhaled when Sojo's ball curved foul and Posada hit the line drive down the line. Can you talk about the nerves that you were feeling out there?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: At that time, I was really relaxed, because I knew that those two balls were going to be foul when it hit the bat, and so I was relaxed.

Q. If you don't understand what Lou says, how do you understand what Alex says?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: When Lou talks to me, when he is excited, his English is very fast, but Alex speaks slowly so that I can understand what he is saying.

Q. What adjustments were there for you this year in terms of both the hitters and the strike zone?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: At the very beginning of the season, I was trying to get the feel for the strike zone, but now, I've got it down and so everything is okay now.

Q. Do you find that the umpires in Japan are more consistent, calling the same or similar strike zone; that it varies more widely in the U.S.?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: In Japan or here, the umpires aren't really that different. When the umpire says it is a strike; it's a strike. When the umpire says it's a ball; it's a ball. And so I really don't want to worry about that.

Q. What differences have you found in the culture between here and Japan, and also the behavior of the fans?

KAZUHIRO SASAKI: I don't know about the culture, but the fans in Japan, they play trumpets and they play drums and it is really a loud atmosphere. But here in the States, it is everybody's voice. It's more of a fresh fans' atmosphere, so that's kind of the difference between the fans.

End of FastScripts…

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