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October 17, 1998

Joe Torre


Q. Joe, would you assess Wells's performance tonight?

JOE TORRE: I think the Boomer has spoiled all of us with the way he's pitched. He missed spots. He had good spots but his location wasn't as good as it's been.

Q. Five hours ago you sat here saying how calm you felt. Can you tell us how calm you felt during the game?

JOE TORRE: I was. In comparison, I mean you're not totally calm. But in comparison to the other two series, I was a lot calmer. First game of a seven game series, you know, there's still a lot of room and a lot of time. Obviously we want to win. We've got a lead. I was very hopeful. We fell behind 5-2 and we knew it was going to be a climb, but it was incredible coming back like that. But compared to the other two series, I was a little calmer.

Q. Joe, how much of a relief is it for Tino to get the big hit?

JOE TORRE: A great deal. He said he felt really good today. He said he messed up one at-bat. But he had a wonderful batting practice today. It just looked like his hands were very soft and the ball was jumping off his bat. But, again, that isn't always an indication of what's going to happen. It really, I think it relieved everybody's pressure in the dugout today.

Q. Were you a little extra happy, as a manager you get to make key decisions but a lot of them are basic also. Starting Jeter is a basic one. Are you happy Ledee worked out?

JOE TORRE: Yes. And, again, just like Tino getting the homerun tonight, hopefully that carries over for him. And Ricky getting the big basehit early. It doesn't matter what else happens the rest of the series, he knows he can do that. So I'm free to use him any way I want. But that was very gratifying, yeah.

Q. Do you feel like Knoblauch has redeemed himself now?


Q. Oh, just the Game 2 from the ALCS.

JOE TORRE: We got into the World Series, so to me, once we get to the World Series, the redemption is there. There's nothing they can blame on him other than having a little bit of a blackout at a period of time. But, again, if you try in this game or any other game for that matter to make up for every time you struck out with the bases loaded, every time you made an error, that pressure would pile up so much you wouldn't be able to walk. So the fact that we did get to the World Series, I think, was the big thing for everybody. Not only Chuck, but we wouldn't want anybody living with that. I was pulling for the Cubs to get into the Wild Card for Brant Brown. I hate to have people talk about Brant Brown as a player and only talk about him dropping the fly ball.

Q. With your solid bats coming through in the top of the order, with your work towards Wells sputtering, does it have a balance in the game?

JOE TORRE: You know, the game is funny. It's not always going to be the same people all the time. And the fact that we win a lot of games, I think, relieves a lot of pressure that nobody caused us to lose. And, you know, Tino struggling, we still got into the World Series. So we felt we had something in the bank coming from Tino. But the fact that he didn't cost us anything, I think, it makes everybody feel good. And it just keeps him -- makes him able to turn the page and start over again. But, again, this is a tough game. The same people did all the good things and all the people who didn't do the good things kept not doing the good things. It doesn't work that way. You get a chance to play with nine guys in a lineup, it's going to be a different guy every day. That's what I like about our lineup, is that we're pretty steady through the whole thing. There's no one guy that jumps out at you that we need for him to hit for us to win. And I think the fact that the middle of the batting order, the three and four guys didn't get any hits tonight and we scored nine runs, that's pretty incredible. But it doesn't always surprise me because of the way the other guys perform.

Q. Joe, with the extra round of playoffs, do you think whoever wins the World Series is going to have to do so with tired pitchers?

JOE TORRE: It's even though. Once -- it's team against team. There's no question that when you start thinking about postseason, sure, adrenaline flows and you go on fumes. But you're right. The extra round of playoffs takes a little more out of you. Because when you're in the playoffs, it's more than a physical drain; it becomes an emotional drain and there's only so much of it you can take. I think that question is legitimate.

Q. Joe, how satisfying is it to see a guy like Ledee go in there and do what he did as a rookie?

JOE TORRE: It's great. He came up to me before the game, said, "Skip, I just wanted to say thank you." I said, "Thank me? You've earned the right. You're on the roster. I put you in the lineup." I was just pleased for him to do that and of course pleased for us because it gives us another weapon.

End of FastScripts…

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