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October 15, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. Are you a different manager than you were in, say, St. Louis? Is it more a situation of a team defining the manager or the manager defining the team?

JOE TORRE: Well, sometimes things just come together and it seems to work. As far as my approach, it is the same basically. I like to give responsibility to the players and have them just try and find out how important things are to them and give them goals to work toward. But again, my individuals were fine in St. Louis, you just didn't think we had enough to do what we are doing here. Once you do it, I think the fact that you have the confidence that you can do it again, because there is nothing that beats the experience and the confidence. I remember having meetings, you know, you think of different things to do in spring training in a way of motivation and you ask certain players to -- one spring I asked them to fill out a form as far as prioritizing what they thought was important. Most of them put winning down, but I don't think a lot of them really understood what winning was about. So I think I am the same person, and believe me, you waiver at times about if the way you are doing things is the way to be successful. I remember picking up a book -- Bill Parcels' book, in the spring of 1996 and the one thing I got out of it was the fact that if you believe in something, stay with it. I said well, let me give this same approach one more shot. And fortunately we did well.

Q. You talked about Roger sometimes having trouble keeping his emotions under control when he pitches. How did that factor into your decision to pitch him in Game 3 in Fenway?

JOE TORRE: We also had to make a decision on pitching him in Texas too, which was in front of home folks. After that start Mel and I sat down on the plane on the way back from Texas to figure out which way we wanted to try the pitching for this series. At the time Boston was down two games to one, I think. So we pretty much set our pitching up not for Cleveland or Boston we just set it up the way we wanted it. When it turned out that Boston wins and I watch Ramon come -- I mean, Pedro come out of that bullpen, I am going -- yeah, that is what is going to happen. I didn't want to mess with it. We sat with all the pitchers basically. Because I know David Cone, I know we plan to do it this way, but if you want to change it, go right ahead. He was the first to say that. We set the pitching up. Roger I know was enthused to have this start. He was pumped in his last outing. He was able to keep his emotions in check. I am not sure about what is going to happen tomorrow, but I know one thing it is going to be a helluva experience, I think.

Q. Were you encouraged that Roger kept his emotions in check and had a pretty good first inning?

JOE TORRE: Very much so, and we sort of felt something coming out of the bullpen and even before the game just as his demeanor in the clubhouse seemed a little more under control. Then he showed it in that first inning in Texas.

Q. Talk about Girardi how he has helped Roger?

JOE TORRE: Well, I am a Joe Girardi person, not to say that I am not a Jorge Posada person, because the only thing that separates them -- Jorge has got a ton of ability. He is going to be a hell of a hitter, switch hitting catcher, arm strength, good catcher. One thing he doesn't have that Joe has is the experience. Joe has done it in postseason play. This will be his fourth year here. He was at Colorado, he was in Chicago, so he was sort of pretty much raised on that. I have a great deal of confidence in Joe Girardi as far as using the fingers behind the plate; having a sense of what is going on and I sense that the pitchers are comfortable with him. But I have great deal of confidence in Joey.

Q. How do you think the wall affects left-handed pitchers here and hitting style?

JOE TORRE: Well, if you get caught up in the wall, it could be a problem for right-handed hitters. I think left-handed hitters can get caught up in the wall because they probably have as much success -- probably more success than right-handers because they don't have to try to pull the ball and you are always trying to pitch away from a hitter's strength and that would be sort of a way. There were a couple of balls hit in Yankee Stadium that would have been off the wall or into the net here. But again, you have to pitch your game. You can't do anything different. You got to stay within yourself and then just hope it works. But I know the hitters, it is not like we haven't played here before. Just the fact that you have to approach the pitcher as opposed to where you are playing.

Q. Jimy Williams said tomorrow you are going to be able to feel the electricity; Pedro the new hero in town and Roger back in his old stomping grounds, how do you feel about that?

JOE TORRE: I think you'll feel it before tomorrow. I think, as I said, when I start counting those days for Pedro -- not knowing if he was going to pitch or not, then coming out of the bullpen in Game 5 -- it is electric. There is no question it is -- it is a special time. It would be a special time if it happened during the season but to happen in Game 3 of the Championship Series in Fenway, where both pitchers you know, have won Cy Youngs -- or Pedro is on his way to the Cy Young, it is pretty damn incredible. I just hope it lives up to that hype. I have a sense it will.

Q. How much do you think Roger Clemens or a guy like him needs postseason success on his resume and how much does it weigh on him do you think?

JOE TORRE: I go back to John Elway. I'd hate to think that he didn't have a successful career if he didn't win a Superbowl. Jim Kelly the same. You always find a way to have someone not have a complete career. I mean I remember Roger having a lead, walking off the field, Shea Stadium in Game 6; to me, that quality start he was in a position to win, so that has to be counted in his favor. The game he pitched in Texas. There is no question that you want a World Series' ring to sort of put the exclamation point on your career. And that is -- the money isn't the object anymore. It is how -- it is something that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. I think that as opposed to how Roger himself performs is more important. Roger is -- I saw the look on his face when we gave out the rings this past spring and it was that hungry look and right now we are as close as -- as close as we have been with him here. So I think that is what drives him. I hate to think that if he isn't successful tomorrow that that would tell anybody anything other than what he has done all his career.

Q. Going back to Girardi, Clemens a little bit. As an old catcher, what do you see being the relationship there? What kind of things does Joe do to help Roger out? Kind of talk about the dynamics.

JOE TORRE: I think it is the fact that it is the experience. And then Roger had some success with Joe and he had some success with Jorge. But again, I don't want -- Joe is catching tomorrow, yes. And he is catching the day after tomorrow with Pettitte pitching. But it is nothing more than experience. Jorge Posada caught most of the games this year. He will catch even more next year, and he is the future of this organization. But when you have an opportunity to have Joe Girardi -- and the pitchers just appear to be comfortable with him -- don't get me wrong, no pitcher has come up to me and said I'd rather have Joe than Jorge. We haven't had one pitcher in the four years that I have been here that ever said that-- I just think it is -- I hate to say trust, because then it is a mistrust with somebody else. I think it is just confidence knowing that this particular catcher has had experience, and experience is what it is all about in the postseason.

Q. I wonder if you could talk a bit about Mariano, and the automatic nature of what he seems to be able to give you guys these last few months?

JOE TORRE: He has been doing it -- we handed him this job in 1997. He took a little time getting used to it because he was sort of the setup man, two inning set-up man in '96, it worked very well for us. When he first got the job in 1997 -- it is a little different when there is nobody behind you, somebody cuts that safety net out from under you and you realize that when the ball gets by you, the game is over. It took him time. We kept handing him the ball saying I don't care how bad it is you are going to still do this thing because you knew he had the guts, you watched him pitch the year before and then the home run in 1997, that Sandy Alomar hit. He hit a 2 and 0 fastball to the opposite field to tie the game up and then we had to find out what he was all about. It is a long winter when you have to go through the winter thinking about that. But he came back the next spring and Mel and I made sure we talked about the home run and made sure it didn't keep him from being the aggressive guy that made him really good. But I think where the growing has come was probably from September of 1998, when all of a sudden he had discovered with Mel's help, the movement on the fastball instead of just rearing back and throwing the four-seamer and thinking strike out, strike out, strike out. Now the movement on the ball, he doesn't really care if he strikes people out. He is getting strike one and sometimes there is a hit and sometimes it is an out. So you just see it at that point in time getting better and better. Even when he hit a little hiccup in July where he had a couple two or three outings in a row where he gave it up, he just fought his way through that.

Q. Defending World Champion. You have won 12 straight postseason games. You just beat Boston twice in a row. If anything yet, you are the underdog in this game. Does that feel a little strange?

JOE TORRE: Well, I feel pretty good about our pitcher. Again, not to take anything away from Pedro because in my mind -- I don't really believe pitchers should get MVPs but I make exceptions in cases with the year he is having this year. I could not criticize that decision. I don't feel like an underdog, let's put it that way, so it really doesn't matter. I don't get caught up in that stuff. Sure, if you are an underdog there seems to be less pressure for you but when you play for the Yankees less pressure is non-existent. That doesn't work. I am looking forward to it tomorrow and as far as who is supposed to win and who will win, that remains to be seen.

Q. You and Jimy Williams had a point -- counter point going in the 8th inning; is that fun for you as a manager, especially in the playoffs?

JOE TORRE: Well, it is fun when it works on your -- to your benefit. I mean, it is something that if I am in his dugout I do the same things he did and he is in my dugout he probably does the same things I do. Everything is magnified, so that makes it that much more special when it does work. But that is the fun part of managing, there is no question, that you get into that chess game and you deal with the 7th, 8th and 9th inning. When you have the teams like we have, you don't pay much attention to what is going on in the first six innings, because down toward the end is where you have to save your moves and really see if, you know, see if you can match up, that is what it is all about. Match-ups and knowing knowing what matchup you want and -- again, a lot of times it is just a matter of who gets the first move, which dictates other things. Certain batter is hitting, you can do some things, now all of a sudden you wait one more batter, now it is in the other guy's court. So it is a fun thing to try to maneuver it where you can get the last move.

Q. Would you talk about what the acknowledgment of the Boston fans meant to you when you returned to Fenway this year and how far do you think it will -- conversely how far do you think it will go for Roger?

JOE TORRE: When I came here my first game I managed back from my recovery I wasn't planning on taking the lineup card out. I asked Don Zimmer he said yes, you should. Rick Cerrone had suggested it to me and I said, no, I will wait 'til I get back to the Stadium. When Zimmer said, yeah, you should, I went out there and it was -- again, didn't surprise me, but I think I didn't expect it to be that generous and I was very touched by it, the reaction. As far as Roger tomorrow, I remember when they introduced Pedro in Yankee Stadium they booed him a little bit -- I said to Roger, who happened to be sitting next to me, I said, you will do better than that (Laughter.) And I think that is what is going -- I think that is what the goosebumps are going to be about tomorrow. It is going to be respect. There is going to be screaming and yelling just like every time we play here except again magnified because it is postseason and what it means, but it is going to be a heck of a show.

End of FastScripts…

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