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October 26, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. Really over the last three, four years you've almost had a magical ability to discern the right decision. What went in to your decision to keep Curtis on the post-season roster in the World Series and you leave Spencer off and the other guy comes in and wins a ball game with two home runs?

JOE TORRE: Chad Curtis is a bench player, and he's had more experience coming off the bench than Spence. You know, Spence is more of an everyday player and Chad, was able to play once in a while and still be productive. I didn't expect this kind of production, but it was terrific.

Q. You made a point of going up to Curtis after the homer, getting right in his face. What did you say?

JOE TORRE: It was just an emotional thing. I said you had a hell of a first World Series game, young man. He played the other day. But that's a hell of a thing to be able to look back on and enjoy, sure, that was huge, what he did today.

Q. Do you know yet who plays leftfield tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: I'm going to wait on that and see what happens. You know, it's normally Ricky Ledee, and he plays against right-handers. Chad played against left-handers and that's all he faced tonight were left-handers.

Q. Joe, you pulled the old reverse black cat. Before the game you say the team's not a team that's going to hit home runs and outslug anybody. Today they go and hit four home runs.

JOE TORRE: I was ready for you guys when we had hit two home runs and we were losing. I was going to say see we weren't a home-run-hitting club. We had six home runs against the Mets this year and lost a game. I say we'll hit home runs, we're not home-run hitters but sometimes those things happen. I just like the approach we took, the two right-handers, Knoblauch and Curtis, against Glavine hit the ball in the rightfield seats. That's the right approach. They took the same approach against Andy and were successful. We're going to hit home runs, but, again, we can't go out there expecting to do those things.

Q. Are you still amazed by what this team does in the way it comes back?

JOE TORRE: I am. We're sitting there 5-1, it was a little quiet in the dugout. Then Chad hit the home run, all of a sudden a little more life. Then Tino hit the home run. Grimsley came in, he wasn't sharp but was able to get all the outs. Nelson was terrific, I think Nelson was the key guy for us in the seventh and eighth inning. But, yes, I'm still amazed and yet I'm not amazed because we do things, we grind, we play nine innings a game. I think that's the highest compliment I can pay our ballclub is that we go out there and we play nine innings. And good things happen. Don't ask me why good things keep happening to me because I don't have an answer for that.

Q. Is this situation tomorrow more like Texas for Roger than Boston given the more objective crowd situation, I guess?

JOE TORRE: I know Roger doesn't necessarily agree that Boston carried a little extra baggage, but I really think it did. The way they played it up, and rightly so. But I think this is closer to what, you know, control the emotions a little bit. May have learned something from Boston, but Texas was a wonderful outing for him. I anticipate that that's the way he'll approach this one. Not that it guarantees we're going to win, but as far as getting ahead in the count, being able to make more quality pitches, which a lot of it is emotional when he's out there. That's what drives him. That's why he won five Cy Young's, because there's a lot of passion in his belly.

Q. Even if you had lost tonight you're still in pretty good shape. How important was it to win this game?

JOE TORRE: I felt it was a very important game because as a manager you feel that every game is important. I know my players, it's the one thing I keep stressing, don't think in terms of winning two out of three when we talk about during the season, we have to win every game. Every game is a series in and of itself. But you don't want to lose your momentum. That's what it's all about. Especially in five- and seven-game series, you lose that momentum and you start getting on your heels a little bit and getting a little uneasy. So that's why it's important to win. I know we had a 2-0 lead and we're two more games at home, but you don't want to let that other club in at all. And, you know, we did it in '96, we were able to stop the bleeding a little bit, went there and won a very emotional game in Game 4, and then watching what the Mets almost did coming back after a 3-0 deficit to get a couple outs, tieing it 3-3.

Q. Psychologically, what does it do to Atlanta tomorrow night?

JOE TORRE: Well, they're professionals. I watched Jimy Williams be interviewed down 2-0 to Cleveland. Someone asked him if, you know, I know he said your club is down. He looked at him and said what are you talking about, down? We fought the odds all year. Bobby Cox's club has won four games in a row before. That's what I'm talking about, short series momentum. No question we have the momentum right now. This game was a tough one for him to take, I'm sure. But we can't allow the fact that we only have to win one of the next four, we can't look at it like that because they get a couple games under their belt, they go back home, it changes. So, sure, they're down, I'm sure they feel, you know, in a way they're relaxed; they have nothing to lose. They come out here tomorrow and play loose and get a lead and who knows what happens.

Q. Although Glavine was pitching well, you were hitting the ball well from the first inning. Let me ask you this: As the game went along, were you hopeful that if he stayed in there that you would catch up to his pitches?

JOE TORRE: There's no question we hope we can catch up to him. He's not overpowering but he knows how to pitch. He's the same as Maddux is. Maddux isn't overpowering either but they're both capable of winning big games. I didn't think we were hitting the ball hard off him. In two at-bats Paul O'Neill hit the ball about six feet. He's the type of pitcher that will give most clubs trouble, because of the change of speed. So I had -- I was hoping we'd catch up with him, but I had no visions that we want to keep him in the game because we feel we're going to get to him.

Q. In the three or so weeks that Grimsley was off the active roster, did you go to him once in a while or at all and say there's going to be a moment for you? What do you do?

JOE TORRE: I couldn't promise that. In fact, I went to Jason during our workout day, one of our workout days at home before we went to Atlanta and I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I said we may stay the same way, then got -- Mel and I talked about it and basically decided to go with Jason because of the National League rules and the fact that he can pitch more than one day at a time. And so there's nothing I can do for him. Just -- the only thing you can tell him, and I've told several players during the course of the year when you send somebody to the Minor Leagues, Bellinger, sent him to the Minor League two or three times, you never know, then all of a sudden he's on the Major League roster for the World Series. You never know, players have a habit of being short-sighted when it involves them. But with injuries so easy to come by and not knowing what goes on in the manager's mind, because the manager takes a little time to think about it, too, the only thing we encourage them to do -- which he did do -- is throw on a regular basis. We didn't, however, want him to throw batting practice to our team because we didn't want his animosity knocking the bats out of our players' hands either.

End of FastScripts…

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