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October 23, 1999
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Game One
Q. Just talk about El Duque's pitching performance. How long since you've seen
something like that in a series?
JOE TORRE: He continues to just make you shake your head. He was sharp right from the
get-go tonight. I really didn't know what to expect. He's still in there shaking his head,
mistake, mistake, mistake. But he took control early, as did Maddux. It was one of those
games that we just anticipated and that lived up to it and I'm just glad we were able to,
you know, get through in the eighth.
Q. Was it a tough decision to take him out?
JOE TORRE: No. We were behind in the game. You know, you don't want to take him out, he
doesn't want to come out, but that's the difference with the designated hitter; you have
to face that decision. When you're behind in the game, you need to do that and you need to
score. It would have been a tough decision in a tie game to see what I was going to do,
I'm glad I didn't have to make that decision.
Q. You talked a little bit before the game about National League rules and you've got
to really be thinking. In the eighth inning there was a lot of chess play going on there,
JOE TORRE: You have to try to figure and figure ahead. Putting Curtis in the game,
without Sojo here, he was basically my pinch runner. We didn't expect to get all the way
down to Ledee that inning. You really have to be on your toes, no question. American
League you don't necessarily have to write changes in, National League you do because you
have to look at that card and see where you are by the end of the inning. But we were --
you know, we were in a good situation.
Q. You were able to get them to waste two guys.
JOE TORRE: That's what it's all about. You try to run the other manager out of players.
But again, it's a situation where I've got a bullpen and, you know, he has got -- he's got
the bench that he has to try to get the matchups. It's all about matchups. And when he has
to make the move first, then it's easy to counteract it.
Q. Walk to Strawberry and the error on the following play, was that pivotal two at-bats
in the game?
JOE TORRE: No question. Maddux, the leadoff walk, he did that one other time. He
pitched his way out of it. With the leadoff man getting on, Brosius with the base hit, was
it a walk, base hit? Base hit. Then the walk to Strawberry. Strawberry makes an impact,
whether he's sitting on the bench and keeping that opposing manager from making the change
in fear that they're going to face him, or coming up in that situation. He turns the game
around. He's going to hit a ball. He can turn it to 2 to 1 in a heartbeat. That was a big
play for us. First and second, gave us an opportunity to do what we like to do, just think
about small ball and trying to move the runners and Knoblauch placed a bunt in the perfect
spot, put a little pressure on the defense, and we came out and did a good job. Jeter,
falling behind in the count, two strikes, then getting the base hit. Then O'Neill, big
base hit off Rocker. I mean Rocker's tough on right-handers, much less left-handers.
O'Neill had a great at-bat.
Q. Scott Brosius has had a rough year. Just to see what he did today, how impressive is
that for you?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, even when his dad was failing, he was trying to be the same
guy all the time at the ballpark, not trying to, you know, overload anybody else with his
problems. We knew how he was feeling even though he was trying to joke and be
light-hearted all the time, but, you know, he's a special kid. And he -- you know, when he
got through the sorrow, I think it's -- you know, it was sort of a relief for him because
his dad was suffering a great deal. But he's, you know, I was just happy to see him have
the night he had tonight. He got some big hits for us in the post-season and toward the
end of the year. He didn't hit for average like he did last year, but I think there were a
lot of reasons for that.
Q. With all the comeback victories you've had and the late inning scores, would you be
shocked if your team did not get in a position to at least tie or win a game like this?
JOE TORRE: I didn't know. You know, it's different when you're facing a Maddux or
Glavine or any one of these guy, Millwood or Smoltz, 1-0. There's nothing unusual about a
Maddux beating you 1-0. But, you know, he was in complete command tonight, again, it
didn't surprise us once we got a little crack there we were able to open it up. Because
we've been a very patient ballclub. He got us out. He got us out. He got us out. We came
back. There really wasn't a lot of frustration because they have so much respect for Greg,
but we were able to have an opportunity and make the most of it.
Q. Do you think the cold weather was any advantage for the New York Yankees?
JOE TORRE: For?
Q. The cold weather. Was the cold weather to your advantage?
JOE TORRE: No. I don't think anybody likes cold weather. I said before the game that
the pitchers probably like it better than the hitters. Bob Gibson was sitting in my
office. He pitched in San Francisco all the time. Those hitters don't like those bumble
bees and the bats in this type of weather. As long as the pitcher is able to get loose
inning after inning, I think they have the advantage over the hitter. Nobody likes playing
in this weather.
Q. Considering what your team has been through personally, including yourself, is the
baseball game the easiest part of the day, considering all you guys have been through?
JOE TORRE: Well, it's -- it gets pretty tense in there. You know, what we've been
through, I think, personally, as a team, you know, I think we got in the habit in 1996 to
deal with whatever it is we have to deal with. We're part of the population, and I mean
the general population, things go wrong, sad things happen all the time. And, you know,
we're still human beings and we just have to deal with it. I think David Cone in '96 sort
of set the tone for having to fight your way through things. When we lost him with that
aneurism, Doc Gooden stepped up and did the job for us. You can't lament about what you
don't have, because nobody's going to feel sorry for you.
End of FastScripts