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October 16, 1998

Joe Torre

NEW YORK CITY: Workout Day

Q. Can you talk about this World Series and your family life versus two years ago with everything that you had going on?

JOE TORRE: Well, two years ago everything just happened at one time, basically. I mean, my oldest brother passed away in June and Frank had a problem in August and came into the hospital here in New York. Of course managing the Yankees, you know, starting, I mean, being hired the November before, I mean just a lot of things in my life at age 55 that, you know, everybody figures especially in baseball that you will be winding down and things started winding up. This year I am obviously more settled living in New York and Frank, thank God, is on his feet and it is my second time to the World Series which you know, sitting in this room I am a little more familiar with it. I mean, it still is as exciting, but the first time is hard to replace.

Q. Have you decided on your starting rotation into the second and third game?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, we are going to go with, obviously, Wells in Game 1. It will be Hernandez in Game 2. Cone and Pettitte.

Q. The Padres won three games in Atlanta. They are an excellent road team. Your thoughts on that.

JOE TORRE: I think the only advantage you have really in being -- we are pretty proud of our fans as the Padres are. But we have played well on the road and in order to win, especially when you don't have the home-field advantage, you have to win on the road and especially when you get to postseason, the high is that you really don't have time to think about where the hell you are playing. And when you are hot, you stay hot and home or away really doesn't mean a whole lot. Unless you get to late in the game where you get to score and go home as opposed to having to protect the lead. We know the Padres are a very good club. I think it a good match. It is going to be a good World Series. Because again they are playing with a lot of confidence. They overcame a lot of things to be here and so we are anticipating a good World Series.

Q. Can you talk about the factors that went into the rotation, particularly the heightened role of El Duque?

JOE TORRE: Well, Game 4, I mean, obviously was probably the most important game that we played against Cleveland and the way he responded on the road with a lot of calm and very efficiently. So we just feel that we wanted to pitch him up front and then David Cone the big part of that because we arranged the other rotation around David Cone. But again, going to San Diego, even though it is going to be warm here this weekend, I just felt better if I pitched him in the warmer weather.

Q. Do you think that the idea that there was any pressure on you guys to finish this off after the great, great season, is a media creation or is it a reality?

JOE TORRE: Well, you get here. I think getting here is where the pressure is. There is still pressure obviously in World Series. You want to win. But getting to the World Series is so tough after playing 162 games and getting into postseason and then having to fight, bite and scratch and everything else to get here. I feel that our season of 114 wins getting to the World Series has really been our goal. I mean not to win 114, but get to the World Series in spring training. You don't think about in spring training that we want to go and win the World Series. You want to get to the World Series. Then when you get there, well you have played well enough and won enough games, then of course, we want to win. As far as legitimizing our season -- I hate to even think in negative terms, but if San Diego happens to win the World Series I really -- sure it takes a little bit of the luster off what we have accomplished by getting here, but I think that was our goal initially.

Q. Kind of along the same lines, Davey Johnson had said that he thought maybe your hitters were putting pressure on themselves to get here and now that you guys are here, maybe they will relax and your offense will start clicking more like it did during the season?

JOE TORRE: I hope he is right. I felt we sort of eased a little bit of the pressure after we won Game 4. I thought we swung the bat better in Games 5 and 6 against Cleveland. Especially Game 6, although Game 5 we had plenty of opportunities, didn't score as many runs as we had opportunities. But I felt the pressure sort of eased up a little bit. However, this ballclub has been -- they are very tough and they like to pressurize themselves all the time. They do it during the season. So I am not sure that, you know, their makeup is such that they are just going to come in here and sort of being cavalier about it.

Q. Same token, the idea of Padres not having the expectations of having this epic season, 114 victories, is it possible that they have less to lose and that might be in fact a positive force?

JOE TORRE: Well, again, I think they have overcome some odds. Similar to our ballclub in '96, I mean, we -- sure we got in it. We won 92 games, lost the first game to Texas, there was a lot of, you know, people predicting doom for us and we got through that one. I'd say if we were lucky anywhere it was in that series. We were losing the second game and we won on a wet ball being thrown away but, you know, they are so loose right now I have to anticipate, only because they keep doing things that people say they can't do and they are playing with a lot of confidence. So, yeah, sure, we are obviously going to be favorite, I guess, and coming as -- going in as the underdog as we did against Atlanta in 1996. Again, I am not sure it is any less pressure on you because each team, I think has their own goals aside from what you like to predict for us. And we felt that we had a chance to beat Atlanta in '96 and I am sure that is the way the Padres feel right now that maybe other people aren't predicting a lot for them, but I am sure they are for themselves.

Q. Is the attitude professional in the clubhouse?

JOE TORRE: Damn right. The attitude here is basically we got here, hey let's continue this thing.

Q. He has been close to unhittable during the playoffs so far, what do you tell your players facing Kevin Brown in Game 1?

JOE TORRE: Pitching can dominate a game, no question. We had our share of that stuff going for us and we faced some problems with pitchers during the course of the year. I don't tell my players anything. I don't want to really confuse them in any way. We know Kevin Brown is a good pitcher. Clemens is a good pitcher. Martinez is a good pitcher. We just go out and try to do our thing. Hopefully we -- if he makes a mistake we can take advantage of it. As I say, I am sure they feel the same way. Pitching can stop it. I mean, pitching can stop hitting in a heartbeat, and we just have to hopefully make some breaks and take advantage of something that we can take advantage of.

Q. Rivera had a great series against the Indians. Can you comment on how his development over the last three years has shaped your team and where you think he stands now among the stoppers in baseball?

JOE TORRE: I think Moe, he had two roles here in '96, he was our setup man, an unusual setup man, always pitched the 7th and 8th inning. Made managing easier for me because there were no decisions at that time. Last year he had a little trouble with the change in roles because he was the closer and there was really nobody sitting behind him. So it took him a month or so to really feel comfortable in that situation. Then what happened in Game 4 in Cleveland, I was happy that he was able to come off this year and then really not pay attention to that because that was what a lot of talk was. And even coming into the postseason but he put those problems to sleep. I think his stuff right now and I knock wood on this, not that I am superstitious, but I don't want to take a chance, but his stuff right now is probably as good as it has been all year. He is mixing some pitches. He is doing different things with the fastball. And right now, I mean, I go to him with a great deal of confidence.

Q. How much of your time is caught up in dealing with family and friends and getting tickets to them and all that or are you able to delegate that?

JOE TORRE: Well, you were here when I said all the family was calling saying well we are here. We will just come to the World Series. We won't come to the Division Series, so the pressure was on to get to the World Series, so I can see all those people. But my wife does that, thank goodness. She is a little angry at me because there is always -- I am finished, I am out of it, I am done and then somebody calls. See if you can get a couple more. But, I am really -- I am isolated from that. My wife is wonderful that way. She doesn't, you know, put any pressure on to have dinner with this person or go out with that person. It is get up in the morning, have something to eat, go to the ballpark. By the time the game is over, you are ready for breakfast anyway.

Q. Your reaction at all to Boomer's comment about saying you guys are going to win it in five is that just typical Boomer?

JOE TORRE: I think it is just Boomer. Picture him in the paper and that is Boomer. He is -- somebody asks his opinion, he is going to give one. That may be the way he feels. It is not something you really want to talk about because -- we have gotten this far. I think a big part of what we do is respecting the people we play. I think the remark was made more or less tongue-and-cheek type of thing, because somebody was probably pushing him. He will be in here later, you can ask him that. But I am sure it was done more in jest than anything else.

Q. What is the craziest thing you have ever seen Boomer do, and how long did it take for you to get used to the way he is?

JOE TORRE: Well, I am not used to it yet. Probably going out to the mound with that Babe Ruth cap on last year and you know, not realizing what he was doing -- knowing he had bought it and mentioning to me that he would love to do that some day and all of a sudden that some day was the next time he pitched, that was probably the weirdest thing -- hopefully that remains the weirdest thing that I see him do.

Q. Do you have a starting lineup?

JOE TORRE: Yes, I do. It will be Knoblauch, Jeter, O'Neill, Williams, Davis, D.H., Tino Martinez. Brosius will bat 7th. Posada 8th and Ledee 9th.

Q. Anything that made you go with Ledee?

JOE TORRE: Left-handed hitter, good defensive leftfielder.

Q. What kind of message will you send if you can beat a pitcher of Brown's caliber first game, does that make this first game maybe bigger than other first games of other World Series?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think a short series, any time you can win a Game 1 and I think the pressure is on us because we are playing at home. I mean it is necessary for our ballclub to show up here these next couple of days. We would love to win two. If we win one, then it becomes the best of 5, stuff like that. But again, you want to make sure that people know you are on the field and I am -- it is -- maybe that first game is going to be a feeling out. Because it is a little different than playing Cleveland or Boston or Texas because you have seen those guys all year, but you are playing a club that you don't play. So I think there will be more feeling out in that first game than anything else.

Q. What is Pettitte's situation right now with his father and everything?

JOE TORRE: Well, he is under a lot of stress and strain right now. His dad is going through some surgery and hopefully -- I know Mel talked to him this morning and told him he would be pitching Game 4. I am not sure when we are going to see him. But not having to pitch the first two games-we will leave it to him. We know he is -- we know he is throwing. He has someone to catch him where he is, so we will play that one by ear.

Q. Was he here yesterday? Do you know where he was when he heard everything?

JOE TORRE: To be perfectly honest, I don't know that. I knew the day before because I didn't even see Martinez or Jeter yesterday thanks to all you tall guys next to him while I was sitting on the bench. I know he came in to throw I am not sure -- I think he left yesterday because I had talked to Mel the day before when he had called him.

Q. What is the tone -- you had a meeting today, what was the tone of your meeting today talking to this Yankee team before a World Series?

JOE TORRE: Roger, only thing we did today is what we do all the time, we get -- I have a meeting with our advance scouts in the morning and then we get all the information and then give it to the players. So that is basically what the meeting was. There wasn't anything talked about other than, you know, nuts-and-bolts stuff of pitching and hitters and defense and stuff like that. It was about a 45-minute meeting.

Q. The Padres not ever having seen Hernandez, is he the kind of pitcher who particularly benefits from people being --

JOE TORRE: I think all pitchers benefit by having the opposition not see them. To me, it is more advantageous for a pitcher to change leagues than a hitter to change leagues because a hitter's success is based on seeing a certain pitcher unless you can put them in a category. If he throws like, say, Joe Smith or something, then you can sort of have an idea what to look for, but hitters base their success on having seen someone. So yes, I think a pitcher is at an advantage pitching against a club for the first time. But again, when you are in another league, there is not a whole lot of matchup stuff that we have against the Padres. For that reason, that there really hasn't been a lot of guys -- have faced -- like Kevin Brown a handfull of at-bats except for a couple of guys, like a Chili Davis or a Tim Raines or something like that.

Q. Can you talk about Wells and his ability to rise to the occasion this year?

JOE TORRE: Well, to me Boomer has always had great stuff. He takes great stuff out there pretty much all the time. Doesn't necessarily have the same command all the time, but I think it started in May this year when he pitched his perfect game that he called all this attention to himself and he has really, in my mind, become a very tough competitor at that time. In the past I have seen him go out there with pretty good equipment and you know, get frustrated and become more of thrower than a pitcher. But I think from May on this year, after that perfect game, he has been as tough a competitor pitching-wise than I have ever seen.

End of FastScripts…

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