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October 14, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. You talked this afternoon about Mendoza being an ace in the hole. He came out did his job. Speak about Mendoza.

JOE TORRE: I love Ramiro Mendoza, there is no question. He has done so many good things. This year wasn't as good a year for him as we had hoped, a little inconsistent. Tonight -- he is not going to pitch a tougher situation than tonight. He has got stuff that gets lefthanders and right-handers out because his ball dives. His problem is sometimes he just drops down and his ball flattens out. But tonight after not pitching for a long time he was sharp as can be.

Q. Assessment of David Cone.

JOE TORRE: David was sensational. He got in the groove a lot quicker than I thought he would since he hadn't pitched in 10, 12 days. What did he strike out seven or eight guys? He made a pitch to Nomar with two strikes, it was wasn't that bad a pitch. It was down, but it got too much of the plate; Nomar is such a good hitter even in the 9th inning against Rivera two strikes, got the base hit. But Cone was very pleased. He gave us seven strong innings and the fact that it was cold tonight to maintain his stuff the whole seven innings was great and I was glad he was able to get the win.

Q. Could you imagine a future without him here, David Cone, he is been such an integral part of the team last four years?

JOE TORRE: We have been here together. He came over as a free agent in 1996 and I mean, I certainly love looking up and seeing him because he is such a stable influence on this pitching staff and the clubhouse. So I don't want to think about that, I just -- right now I am thinking about a day off tomorrow, which is going to be fun and then to get back up there on Saturday.

Q. Was the 8th inning what you call digging in and doing some serious managing?

JOE TORRE: That is the stuff you sit home and you watch a game you say do this, do this, do this, and you are here and you have to make those decisions and it is all based on if the guys go out there and do what they did tonight. I mean, I felt bad for Stanton. He gets to pitch to one batter. He was going to pitch to one batter either way and he got behind O'Leary, you don't want to walk him. Nellie tried to make a real good pitch on Stano and hits him. And Mendoza was terrific and -- but that -- you just had to make a decision at that point in time -- you are going to empty your bullpen and go for it and that is basically what -- that is the chess game. That is the greatest part about managing is to be able to go back and forth with the other manager.

Q. Can you take us through your thinking, particularly in that 8th inning with Merloni, Huskey and Mendoza?

JOE TORRE: Well, obviously it wasn't a clear-cut decision. I let Nellie throw one pitch to Hatteberg and things are spinning and I am talking to Zimmer and Stottlemyre, but my thinking basically was that you bring Watson in and you sort of put -- make Jimy make a decision basically because the one guy he pitches to is the pinch hitter, Merloni, and you walk him, so now you know, if he leaves Trot Nixon up, you leave Watson in and if he takes him out, you bring in Mendoza. It was just a matter of who made the move first. It was just something that when you look and see the number of players he has left and who they are and which way they hit, again, you make a decision and you hope it works basically.

Q. Since the first game you guys have played 18 innings of one-run baseball, how are you holding up on your bat?

JOE TORRE: I am holding up fine as long as it is a win. It is a lot easier to sleep, although you don't sleep very much. But it is exciting. I tell you, I realize what I have been missing for 35 years, this postseason stuff is just do-or-die. It is right now. There is no thinking about well, we will get them later on. You have got to do it right now and that is such an exciting time of year and the players have responded to it terrifically.

Q. 12 straight postseason wins is somewhat phenomenal in this day and age. Can you talk about that?

JOE TORRE: It is phenomenal. Obviously you don't think about a streak that you are on. You are just thinking about the game that you are playing and managing, but yeah, someone told me -- I guess they mentioned 11 straight and you start thinking about started with El Duque last year in Cleveland, which it is remarkable. When you have good pitching and have played as well as we have, pitching-wise, you can't say it is hard to believe because it has happened. But it is -- it is hard to believe, I guess. I can't think of anything else to say. You think about it in terms of 12 straight wins and it is pretty incredible. However, when you go out there and you say to yourself: Well, we have chance to win today, you don't think about it as far as the law of averages because you are playing every game the same.

End of FastScripts…

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