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October 20, 1998

Joe Torre

SAN DIEGO: Game Three

JOE TORRE: Line-up will be Knoblauch, Jeter, O'Neill, Williams, Martinez, Brosius, Spencer, Girardi and Cone. And it was -- I didn't make my decision until a short time ago. It was between Curtis and Spencer. I decided to have the switch-hitters coming off the bench to pinch hit in case I needed them. And because you have a DH, you don't have a DH, and you have one less hitter, I just felt that Spencer may be more of a power threat hitting behind Brosius. Curtis has had some history with Sterling, and was 5 for 12, but I decided to go with more of the power guy, and make that decision.

Q. When did you tell Spencer, and what did he say?

JOE TORRE: Well, I sort of did it ahead of time yesterday. I told both Chili and Tim Raines that they weren't going to start. I mentioned to both Curtis and Spencer yesterday to go home and just come to the ballpark like you're playing today, and then I just posted the line-up.

Q. Joe, with your experience with Frank in '96, can you relate a little bit to Andy, even though his father looks like he's in good shape?

JOE TORRE: No question, it's very similar, and Frank was in good shape. I know he hadn't had his heart yet, but he was stabilized better than he was a month and a half earlier. But it's very, very similar. You have someone that you obviously love, and they're going through a tough time, and it takes a little focusing to be able to do that. I know that Andy's father has encouraged him to go out there and pitch, again, not dissimilar from Gooden when he pitched his no-hitter, he had the same situation, his dad was in a hospital in Florida at the time. And my experience, because I have a few more years experience than Andy does, to just sort of hide out. Once you get in uniform, and I'm sure he's going to be thinking of his dad tonight, but hopefully tomorrow he can find a place to hide for a few hours and get out and pitch a good ballgame.

Q. Joe, when you made your pitching rotation, did you have that in the back of your mind at all about Andy's father?

JOE TORRE: No, in Texas we pitched -- against Texas we pitched him in Game 2. Again, that was more experience than anything else. But after watching Hernandez pitch against Cleveland, he was a No. 2 guy, and it was either three or four for Andy. And again, Cone gets priority there. So he was going to be the number 4 starter, whether his dad had a problem or not and as it turned out, it's probably the best thing, because he's had time to sort of put everything in order for himself.

Q. Joe, did Spencer being a hometown boy make it into your decision?

JOE TORRE: If you wouldn't have told me that yesterday I wouldn't have known anything about it. No, I did it strictly on hopefully the ability of putting the right guy in left field. Again, Chad Curtis -- it's very difficult not to pick Curtis with what he's meant to the ballclub over the last year and a half. But the power threat was what made the decision more than anything else.

Q. Everybody has talked about what a great baseball season it's been, but the television rates haven't reflected that, do you have any take on why that might be?

JOE TORRE: No, I'm glad it's not my problem. But I know it's been a great season because to me, I think we've had more of the casual fan take interest in what Sosa has done, of course Mark McGwire, I think the energy is back in the baseball fan. I think they feel they can finally trust us again, and hopefully we don't let them down.

Q. Were you concerned at how bumpy it is in the outfield with it being torn up, and might that prompt you to go to a defensive replacement earlier tonight?

JOE TORRE: I'm not sure a good defensive player can play the bumps than a bad defensive player. Spencer is not a bad defensive player, the only thing that keeps him from being above average is lack of speed. But again, shortstop Jeter was screaming yesterday, every time it took a bad hop. And he was screaming for Ozzie Smith to come over there. You have to hope the ball bounces for you. It's probably going to be tough. Bruce Bochy warned me of that the other day. It's probably going to be a little choppy out there.

Q. What do you think some of the intangibles are? Can you talk about what you think separates a team like the Yankee team from the Astros that didn't make it this far.

JOE TORRE: I hate to compare my club. If our club plays the way we're capable of playing we'll be fine. And our success has been based on having five quality starters go out there every -- have one guy go out there every day. And that's why we won so many games. I know I've been asked during the season, how do you keep your focus? These guys go out once every five days. And I know we won a lot of games, and while it was going on, but these guys want to make sure their start is quality. And I know that's -- I don't know if it separates us from anybody else, but that's the reason we've had our success.

Q. Any particular reason why Spencer cooled off in the last few games?

JOE TORRE: If he didn't he would have caught McGwire. You just can't do it all the time. And the thing is, what he did show us is when you get into a little bit of a streak, that all of a sudden you're seeing the ball, it stops for you, and he could put a good turn on it. He's got the type of swing that he gets the ball in the air, and he's strong enough to get it out. But basically you lose your zone, we had a day off, maybe you don't play for a couple of days, and all of a sudden the zone gets bigger, and he's not as patient. That's what basically is called a slump. And you hope that you're able to get everything back in order as far as being patient, know what you're going to look for and be selective at the plate.

Q. What was the difference between Andy in his start against Texas, as opposed to his start against Cleveland?

JOE TORRE: He didn't look as comfortable in the start against Cleveland. And a lot of it could have been Andy, himself. Where we had a long time to wait for that start against Cleveland. He's one guy you'd rather pitch on four day's rest, than six day's rest. And I think he just got a little anxious that particular night, and his ball was straight, ball wasn't sinking for him. So I think it was probably too much time to wait. But he's going to have to be able to handle that.

End of FastScripts…

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