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October 18, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. How anxious are you to close out this series tonight, and are you worried about the cold weather with El Duque on the mound?

JOE TORRE: Well, we are anxious to close it out because, you know, the momentum shifts are so quick in a short series. As far as El Duque, you know, the game last year, somebody reminded me earlier today, the game last year he pitched in Cleveland, it was a cold day. So, you know, I don't think that's a problem. I know from my personal experience that hitting's a little tougher in this weather than pitching is; unless you have trouble staying loose. I don't anticipate that should be a problem with him tonight.

Q. Last night in the eighth inning with you guys in the field, I was sitting in the right field press box, I couldn't see it clear. On Knoblauch's throw, Girardi backed that up. If I'm right, how significant a play was that in that inning, and is that an example of why he plays in kind of the mindset you guys bring into this series?

JOE TORRE: Well, that's no question that was a big play, but Posada would have been there also. That's what catchers do; they sort of trail in that situation, try to get the angle on where the throw is coming from. But Joey was definitely a big play for us. It kept the man at first base.

Q. With all the attention given to umpiring in this series, do you believe there's a place for instant replay in baseball?

JOE TORRE: You think about that, I know if I'm on the other side of the field, like last night, you want them to get it right. As a manager, you want them to get it right. But, again, you go into this thing as, you know, we're all humans; we all make mistakes. The only problem I would have with instant replay is baseball, unlike any other sport, suppose you have an umpire at third base who misses a play or calls somebody safe or out, and it's reversed by the replay procedure. Now, you have that umpire standing there all night, and the people aren't going to be pleased with the fact that they got it right; they're going to be on him for missing it. It's abuse. It's going to be total abuse. Depending on where you are and how heated the game is, it could get out of hand. Football, you're way down there. Even hockey you're protected somewhat. The officials don't stand in one place. I think that could be a problem. No question, you want to get the play right. I know I've gone out, and on appeal plays, have asked different umpires to let me know what you saw from your angle, but it's something that's gone on for a long time. When you get to this time of year, there's no question there's a lot of magnifying going on.

Q. Are the things you see and hear from the stands now, is it worse than it used to be? Do you see a loss, maybe a loss of vitality that kind of keeps kind of decaying, in a way?

JOE TORRE: I think at times. I mean the stuff that they were chanting, you know, with Roger the other day was fine. I mean that -- you know, HA-HA, we beat you, that's fine. What went on with Darryl Strawberry yesterday I thought was over the line. I didn't think that was right. I guess it depends on what city and what the frustration is. You know, New York you have things that you don't have in St. Louis. Chicago, you have things that you don't have in Minnesota. It's just depending on the city, I guess. But for sure there are a lot -- and I think what has allowed that to happen, I mean, watch TV, go to movies, listen to radio. I mean all -- you know, everything's down now. There are no barriers anymore.

Q. There's been a lot made, certainly in this area, about Knoblauch's tag on Offerman. Do you think that was the turning point in the ballgame?

JOE TORRE: Well, let's just set the scene. Throw to first base, get an out, man at second base, two out, you have your best against my best at that point. You know, Rivera's pitching against Garciaparra, and so we don't know what's going to happen. It wasn't like it loaded the bases with nobody out or it's a three-out type of thing. But for sure, I mean we had gotten an advantage from it. I don't know about a turning point. Again, it's one of those breaks that I've been on the other side of, and it's something that it burns you and then Jimy, rightly so, was frustrated last night. But I, you know, I don't know about a turning point. For sure it was nice not having to face Garciaparra with the tying run on second base.

Q. Do you think you would have pitched to him there? Would you have put him on?

JOE TORRE: I don't know that. I was asked that before. This is a tough ballpark to put people on intentionally. It really is. Because even if you make a good pitch to the next hitter and it's a fly ball to leftfield, it may scrape that wall on the way down. I really don't know what I would have done. For sure I would have looked for Zimmer, wouldn't have let him get away from me too far. Normally when I try to make a tough decision like that, he disappears on me. (Laughter.) I really, honestly don't know what I would have done. Because earlier, when we had the play at the plate Andy pitched around Garciaparra, we didn't walk him intentionally, but I think Andy did.

Q. With a number of calls that have gone your way the last three years with luck, do you feel it will even up somehow and there will be some key call blown against you?

JOE TORRE: How do we know this isn't getting even from early on? This may be the evening up for all the bad stuff that happened early on. I don't know that. I hope not. I'd like to -- what happened yesterday, in church, I don't know if I mentioned this yesterday. But my daughter, my little 3-year-old daughter, we were leaving church and she wanted to light candles. A Red Sox fan came up to me and said, "If one of those candles is for a victory, I'm going to blow it out." I said I never light a candle asking for good things to happen like that.

Q. Any line-up changes for tonight's game?

JOE TORRE: Posada will catch. Spencer will play leftfield. Chili Davis will DH.

Q. If you were to win tonight, based on what happened last night with the fans, would you get everybody inside a little quicker?

JOE TORRE: I don't know that. I think we just have to see how it goes. You know, tonight if we did win, it would obviously mean we're going to the World Series, which is what our goal was when we started spring training. But we normally do more celebrating in the clubhouse than we do out on the field, except maybe, you know, if you're celebrating the World Series.

Q. Would it be important to have a week off now before the World Series, given your win tonight?

JOE TORRE: Well, it wouldn't be a week. It would be Saturday. You know, last -- in '96, we finished up on a Sunday and played the first game on a Sunday, which was -- turned out to be a problem for us. We got our butts kicked and lost the next game, too. There's not a whole lot you can do. You can't simulate games, somebody can get hurt. You really don't know. You'd like to have time so you can, you know, set your pitching up, but the way we've pitched in post-season, you know, I want to win tonight obviously because of the momentum factor; you just want to do it. But I don't -- I really don't know, as far as advantage or disadvantage. I know one thing, that the seven or eight days off we had in '96 didn't help us.

Q. What are your impressions of what the Mets have done, just coming back and somehow making the series?

JOE TORRE: I think it's great. I mean for what the Mets came from two down with three to play, and having to have to swallow two years in a row of not playing well the last week of the season, no matter what happens, I think they can walk proudly around anywhere. New York, especially, because they've shown a lot of heart and a lot of grit to win those games. I know they're at home, and it really doesn't matter when you get in those types of games where you play. But it's a great confidence-builder. I'm sure the Braves may be a little on their heels at this point in time. As I say, I think they have validated that they're a good team and want to win very badly.

End of FastScripts…

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