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October 19, 1998
SAN DIEGO: Workout Day
Q. Joe, who are you going to start in left field tomorrow?
JOE TORRE: I don't know yet. It's not going to be Ledee, so take that one and run with
it. But I haven't really zeroed in on anybody. There are a few candidates. You've got
Raines and you've got Curtis and Spencer, and the outside chance, the wild card guy could
be Chili Davis, because he threw his hat in the ring yesterday. But I'm going to have to
give it a little more thought.
Q. Joe, compare '96 to this year, and in '96 you lost the first two games, now you've
won the first two games, and there's a break. You're on a roll after you win the first
two. Do you think there's an advantage to the team, like you were in '96, if you're going
to lose the first two and you have that break, is that an advantage to the team that lost
the first two?
JOE TORRE: Now, just to confuse matters, okay? '96 we didn't have a break. We were
rained out the first game and they took that off day away from us. See you didn't have to
go through that whole thing. I remember, because I remember trying to lobby to get a day
from Bud Selig and it didn't work.
Q. What about it when you're on a roll?
JOE TORRE: Again, you understand that the day off is there, and that's why even if I
try to call off a workout like I did in Cleveland and guys come to me and they want to
hit, I don't think this time of year it really matters, because it's sort of all in what
you do, and you're going to have a day off and it's going to come down to the pitchers,
and the pitchers are used to having breaks in their appearances and from everything that's
happened in this postseason and even during the season has really been based on how well
we've pitched. So hopefully -- and we sent David Cone out ahead of us last night, which
was a smart thing to do, because that was a long flight and a late hour to get in. We hope
that he'll do well tomorrow.
Q. Joe, can you in some way handicap the left field thing, now, how you're at least
approaching it and is Chili Davis more likely a guy, if you're not getting production out
of left field can play Game 4 and 5 and is likely out tomorrow?
JOE TORRE: I think probably, right. As far as the rest of it, this is the National
League now, and you have to pay a lot more attention when you manage and go into I think
so, pinch hitting. I know a manager situation, ideal situation is to have a Chili Davis or
a Tim Raines, for that matter, on the bench just in the event the other manager is
thinking of changing pitchers, we have a switch-hitter, which keeps you from using up a
lot of people in the National League situation, because you don't want to run out. Yeah, I
think that's realistic to say that.
Q. Joe, could you talk about how you changed as a manager since the days of the Mets
and how the players have changed in terms of how you have to deal with them?
JOE TORRE: When I started with the Mets, I had basically the same approach. I think the
thing that's happened from the late '70's until now is obviously more experience, and I
think when you get more experience you may have more attention paid to you from the
players. Players from then until now are more celebrity than athlete. When we played
baseball even before I managed, we were baseball players, and that was it. Now they make a
lot of money, every single move they make is -- there's something said or written about
it. I think they're under a lot more pressure. And again, they take on more of a celebrity
status now. But to me it's still the same -- you still have to do the same things to be
successful, and that's basically go out there and play baseball and try and be as
unselfish as you can.
Q. Do you have a preference National League, American League, just from a manager's
vantage point, and as far as usual pitchers hitting, do you expect anything from them or
just be happy if they don't get hurt?
JOE TORRE: Well, David Cone, you know how you try to approach things from the positive
end, well, David Cone is -- sure I picked him for Game 3 because of his bat. And as far as
managing American or National, I like -- I don't like the designated hitter. I think if I
was a fan and sitting in your position, I think there's so much more going on when you
have to make decisions and you make the wrong one because it doesn't work, and you have to
take a pitcher out in the 6th inning when the bases are loaded when you don't want to
necessarily take him out. As a manager with the DH it's a lot less complicated, where you
don't have to make those tough decisions, but as a baseball fan, I think I'd rather not
have the DH.
Q. Joe, what was your highest salary as a player?
JOE TORRE: $150,000.
Q. Joe, Shane Spencer had a great September, then he practically won the Division
Series for you, then he had a couple of bad games and you've taken him out of the line-up,
is it because of his defensive ability he's not playing anymore?
JOE TORRE: We didn't do a lot holding in September, but what he did in the Division
Series, he helped us win, for sure, a big part of that. No, I don't think he's bad
defensively. I think he's probably average, maybe in certain situations a little above.
The only thing that keeps him from being maybe just slightly above average is lack of
speed. But he's aggressive in the outfield. No, I took him out of the line-up because it
looked like he was feeling for it. Again, if you're talking about regular season, he
probably stays in the line-up, but in postseason you really don't have that type of luxury
to sit with somebody to hope they break out of a slump, because of what everything
represents here. And since I have a place to go, with a Curtis or a Raines, there's no
reason to sit and wait for somebody to get better, basically. But he's definitely in the
mix for tomorrow.
Q. Does it mean anything to you that he's from here and he's dying to play?
JOE TORRE: Don't tell me those things. No, it doesn't. I can't let that influence me,
at all. With television, you're from everywhere and everybody will get a chance to see
you. I have to think what I need to do to help us win tomorrow, and hopefully I'll make
the right decision.
Q. Realistically what do you expect from your pitchers as hitters?
JOE TORRE: Again, I hope I'm not faced with the situation where I have to pinch hit or
have to make that decision. I just hope it's always a bunt situation, and for the most
part, make a last out of an inning. You really can't expect much out of a pitcher. You
hope if it's a bunt situation, whether it be none or one out, that we're able to get a
runner on second base. We've been working on that over the last probably month. That's
basically all I expect from my pitchers is to be able to lay down a bunt.
Q. Did you have a chance to see Hitchcock pitch at all during the National League
Playoffs and if so, an assessment and is he comparable to anybody you faced this year?
JOE TORRE: Well, left-handers to me, you know, you don't have to throw them all 90
miles an hour to be successful. I think Glavine and Neagle and Jimmy Key have proven that
over the years. What I noticed in Sterling Hitchcock is his command seems to be better
than what I remember, even though I didn't manage him, but we still played against him
when he was with Seattle, and he just seems to have a lot more command of his stuff. And I
was very impressed what he did in postseason, looked like he could throw a number of
pitches for strikes, but he was getting ahead in the count, and I think that is important
for any pitcher to be able to do.
Q. Given that Spencer is from San Diego and is a rookie, would it be beneficial for him
not to know that he was going to play the day of the game?
JOE TORRE: Well, I think if it was the fact that he hadn't played before in postseason,
yeah, that's probably true. And I think the fact -- and I will advise, if I don't tell
them before they leave today, if I still don't know, I'll sort of tell them all to come
expecting to play tomorrow. So he'll have that in mind, because I will let him know he's
one of the people I'm considering.
Q. Joe, you've got some very good pitchers, but when David Cone goes out there does he
bring something a little extra special to the game?
JOE TORRE: Oh, I think so. To me he's been a spiritual guy for us from the time he was
hurt in '96, went through surgery, came back and pitched Game 3 of the World Series. I
trust him. I've been second guessed for trusting, but I can't help that. You get involved
with these guys, and when you know someone has pitched big games and the way he has
approached big games and the fact that he -- you can trust somebody. I don't think there's
a better word to describe my feeling for David Cone than trust. And again, he may be able
to talk me into something, and he takes advantage of that trust at times, but I'll live
with that. Because I know there are times that he'll say he's okay, and I want to believe
him. But I think that also makes him say, well, since I made that commitment I've got to
do this, and there's something he can call on that a lot of other people can't.
Q. Joe, do you think you're at a disadvantage without the DH here, especially because
of how well Chili has been doing, and should we assume that Martinez, whoever you play in
place of Martinez -- whoever you play that no matter what happens he'll continue to bat
JOE TORRE: If Chili is in left field, yeah, he'll bat 6th. But if anyone else is
playing left field, I think I may move him up. Again, I haven't really committed to that.
It doesn't really concern me when he's swinging the bat well. And right now I think he's
swinging very relaxed.
Q. How about the disadvantage without the DH?
JOE TORRE: Well, as I say, without the DH you have to pay a lot more attention. You've
got to be aware of double switches. Again, you have that situation that haunts a lot of
National League managers of let's get through this inning because this pitcher is the
third hitter, I'm sure that has haunted a lot of managers, and maybe cost a run or two, if
you're trying to get someone through the end of an inning, so you don't have to burn a
pitcher or another hitter. So as I say, it's a much better game for the fan, without the
DH, but it's nice managing in the American League where you don't have to make those tough
Q. You said before that David Cone has been a spiritual guy for us. Could you elaborate
JOE TORRE: Well, it goes back to '96. We signed him as a free agent, he had been with
the Yankees the year before. And he's a guy that's going to pitch the big game. And when
he was not with us, and I remember I was talking with Don Zimmer in Spring Training, when
I didn't necessarily like what I saw, David Cone, what he was doing, but he doesn't
normally pick up a ball all winter, and you're not going to see anything that knocks your
eye out. And I remember Zimmer saying to me in '96, if we have to worry about David Cone,
we're screwed, basically anyway. As it turned out he had the circulation problem, missed
the start, came back, pitched well, and he had to have the surgery for the aneurysm. Doc
Gooden stepped up, but we missed David Cone, and the fact that he just showed up at the
ballpark after he had the surgery, it just seemed to lift everybody up at that time, just
his presence. So to me at that point in time I realized, even though I felt before -- that
he meant more than just giving him a ball and throwing a hundred plus pitches.
End of FastScripts