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July 11, 2000

Joe Torre


Q. Derek Jeter with the MVP, are you particularly proud of the Yankee performances tonight?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, I just came in from the clubhouse. Bernie Williams, I was too pumped -- jumping and everything. The game means a lot. Very proud people in our locker room and I'm sure the other locker room. Derek Jeter, I saw his parents coming down the elevator today, and I know they're really proud, and it's great. I mean the kid is such a great kid to manage. His priorities are in order. And I know he's very proud of it, even though a lot of times he doesn't show much.

Q. Do you ever feel like just taking Derek to the track? He seems to be such a good-luck charm.

JOE TORRE: That may be a good idea. I haven't tried that yet. Nothing else has worked. (Laughter.)

Q. In all seriousness, do you ever just marvel at the good fortune this guy seems to have?

JOE TORRE: Well, the harder you work, the luckier you get. After the first year, I guess 1997, I called him into the office one day and just -- knowing he had won the Rookie of the Year, knowing he was a bachelor, knowing he was playing for the New York Yankees, knowing he won the World Series -- just sort of feel him out and see what his mind was doing. He answered all the questions in the right way for me, to convince me that he knew where, as I said, his priorities are, and his head's screwed on right. That's not easy for a youngster who seemingly has this thing going for him and really hasn't had a -- when he's had a bad time, he's been able to deal with it. He just seems like he's far beyond his years in experience.

Q. Being in New York and having been a part of the Yankees and the Mets, and Jeter having done what no other Yankee has done, what does it mean to New Yorkers, to the team?

JOE TORRE: Well, as I say, he's a very proud young man, and it means a great deal. I know when you come in to an All-Star Game -- and I'm one of them that says it's not important if you win. In my case, it's important to get everybody in the game, and that drives me nuts sometimes. But when you get the uniform on, you want to win. And I know Derek had gone 0 for 2, whatever it was in his other All-Star Games, he told Willie Randolph, he said: "I'm going to swing at the first pitch. I'm not going to get behind in the count here." And he struck out the other two times. You know, Derek Jeter is a Yankee. And if there was ever a young kid that even the veteran players looked to, it's Derek Jeter. So I think it's a very proud time for the New York Yankees, because their future did a good thing tonight.

Q. For the City of New York?

JOE TORRE: No kidding. The City of New York. You don't like to sleight the Mets for sure, because they have their fans; we have ours. And they don't cross over. I got to say that much. But for sure, the Yankee fans will let him know it when we go home for Thursday's game.

Q. The Yankees, as you know, they've had a rich tradition. Do you find it amazing he's the first Yankee ever to win this MVP Award?

JOE TORRE: Yeah. With all the history books that have been written by a lot of Yankees, it is hard to believe, because you know Mickey Mantle made it every year -- all the great Yankees, DiMaggio. But, yeah, that's hard to believe. You couldn't want a more proud individual or one that's going to be the first one up there.

Q. You managed a perfect game tonight. Would you comment?

JOE TORRE: I had a meeting with the players before the game and said it's very difficult getting everybody in because of the National League Rules where you don't have the designated hitter. I made up my mind even with the score 3-2, I said to Zim: "Let's get everybody in. If they tie the game, we go home." You don't want the pitcher to hit for himself. The only one that didn't get in was Chuck Finley. We had talked about needing a pitcher to be able to pitch the extra innings if it was necessary. But we were lucky. Everything fell into place for us. We got some breaks. They made a couple errors, and it worked out for us. And of course, that last inning really helps you breathe a sigh of relief when you get those three extra ones up there.

Q. Seeing as how you had to get everybody in the game, was it hard taking Derek out after he had gone 3-for-3?

JOE TORRE: I thought of leaving him in again; but, again, we have pretty good ones -- he was hitting about .390, too -- with Garciaparra. I wanted to have them have three each, since I had to have Bordick in the game as a pinch-hitter. I tried to split the game as best I could. I probably could have given Delgado another at-bat, but we were trying to get Giambi a hit. That third time, I said, "Go up there and get yourself a base hit."

Q. It's been a special time for you here in Atlanta, and the fans gave you a big chant tonight when you came out. What did it mean to manage here in Atlanta the All-Star Game, since you played here and you played for the Braves and you managed against them recently?

JOE TORRE: Well, I lived in Atlanta for nine years, and I enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, I only managed here three years. But it meant a lot. In '96, I was sort of disarmed when we came down here after losing the first two games at home, and fans gave me a standing ovation, and it stunned me a little bit. I knew the reception would be friendly, but I never dreamed it would be that way. And I was very touched and continue to feel that way with the reception I'm getting -- not only here at the ballpark, but around town, when you go and eat dinner or take your children out or whatever it is.

Q. As a coach, in evaluating your career, I'm just wondering how would this rate in terms of, "Okay, you won the World Series a few months ago. Now you won an All-Star Series."

JOE TORRE: Well, my career is like two parts. The first part was my playing career, which sort of was a little empty, even though I thought I did well, put some pretty good numbers up. But not having been in a World Series in my playing career was very empty for me. What has happened to me in the last five years: three World Series, going to post-season four years, winning three All-Star Games, this is a wonderful time of my life right now. It started with the birth of my daughter in December of '95, and it really hasn't quit yet.

End of FastScripts…

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