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October 6, 1998

Mike Hargrove


Q. How much will you be relying on the late season scouting reports on the Yankees as to where to pitch them and where to position your outfield?

MIKE HARGROVE: I think that just like any time you rely on your scouting reports but you also have to factor in what your experience is telling you about what you have seen. We have had scouts on the Yankees for the last three weeks this season, maybe even longer than that, so a lot of what they have seen, we agree -- we are in agreement on, so, I can't put it into percentages. But given the combination of the staff's experience of what we've seen of the Yankees and our advanced people -- I don't know, you go on those reports obviously. I am sitting here trying to answer your question, I am not sure exactly how you want it answered but it is a 50/50 deal.

Q. What was decision not starting Gooden for tomorrow?

MIKE HARGROVE: Charlie Nagy has pitched better on five days rest, tomorrow is his fifth day; hottest pitcher the last half of the season, especially going into postseason pitched very well against Boston in Boston. Last time here he pitched very well. Power guys in the past have matched up well against the Yankees, hopefully they will again. And that just moved Doc back to the fourth spot.

Q. Would you compare the David Cone you saw in Game 1 last year to the one you saw this regular season and expect to see tomorrow?

MIKE HARGROVE: Well, we haven't seen David in a while. We didn't see him our last trip in. But watching tapes of David, obviously he is much healthier this time around then he was last year at this time. I think especially in the game of Texas, I believe he pitched in Texas, you know, he was very, very effective again; using his slider and his split and his fast ball. David is just -- he is a tremendous competitor that has outstanding stuff and when he is on his game, he is very difficult to beat. Last year I don't think the health of his arm allowed him to be on top of his game as much as he probably would be this time.

Q. What is the best game you have ever seen at Yankee Stadium and the best memory you have as a player?

MIKE HARGROVE: I can't -- gosh, I don't know about the best game I have ever seen at Yankee Stadium -- probably Game 2 of last year's Divisional Series here was the best game that I have seen here. My best experience -- my most fond experience was I hit a home run off Catfish Hunter here one time. I guess that is as good as any.

Q. Is there one aspect of your team that you are concerned with as the series gets underway tonight?

MIKE HARGROVE: I don't think that the any manager does not have a concern about his team or concerns about his team, no matter how good you are. I am concerned with how deep our starting pitching will take in our games. I am concerned how our bullpen will react to the innings we ask them to perform in. I am concerned about how our hitters will react to the Yankee pitching. I think that is a very normal reaction for any manager. There is no major concern that I have for our ballclub. I think that we are playing very well right now. I think we have a good ballclub, and I feel good about what we are doing.

Q. Were you at all disappointed with Doc for getting thrown out; were you mad at him a little?

MIKE HARGROVE: I was not mad at him, not disappointed in him. Any time that your starting pitcher -- you hate to see him leave the game, especially that early because that puts a lot of pressure on your bullpen, but I think we were prepared to meet that challenge and that we had Dave Burba sitting out there. I would rather have Doc stayed in the ballgame, but there comes a time when you have to do what you feel like you have to do, and not to beat a dead horse, because what is over is over, but I can't say that I blame Doc for anything.

Q. A year ago Charlie didn't have very much success against the Yankees, but he seems to be a different pitcher now. What is the main reason for that?

MIKE HARGROVE: The last half of the season Charlie really found his rhythm and arm slot. Kept the ball down in the strike zone, and he got -- he got the sink back on his sinker. His sinker wasn't flattened out like it had been in the first half of the season, was throwing good splits, but the biggest key with Charlie other than finding his arm slot was probably the fact that he pitched a well to hitters and stayed down in the strike zone.

Q. How much do you put into this idea that because the division -- winning the division isn't too difficult, that it affects the one lost wins and losses?

MIKE HARGROVE: I think there were a number of things that went into the fact that we didn't win anymore than eight, nine games this year. I think that the fact that we had two kids in our starting rotation. Some of our people didn't have the years that their track record says that they would have. I think that the fact that we lost Jim Thome for a one and a half for the season had something to do with it. I really believe that it is more along those lines then the fact that as I have heard continuously that we were a lethargic club, the last half of the season. I think if you look at what we did our kids, our two kids were outstanding the first half, the second half they backed off of that. Doc Gooden and Charlie Nagy and you can put Dave Burba in that he pitched well for us the first half. Second half Burba, Gooden and Nagy, you know, they -- Burba the second half was not as good as he was the first half. Nagy and Burba were not good the first half. So I think that sort of inconsistency in our pitching had as much to do with that as anything else. We played hard. We showed up every day to play hard. It just didn't always work out. I think that those were the reasons that it didn't on a consistent basis.

Q. Is there ever any kind of handing over after coming as close as you all did -- as close as you could ever possibly come, does that sometimes creep into the next season?

MIKE HARGROVE: Yeah, I guess there could be, but I don't know that that had an effect. I really don't. I was asked today by a gentleman how long it took me to get over Game 7 of the 1997 Series. I said just as soon as it happens I will let you know (laughs). I think there is a little bit of that residue, if that is what you are talking about. But once you get into it honestly as the season has gone on, I have thought less and less about that. I think that it is something when you go to spring training you are very well aware of. There is a lot of talk of finishing the job, all that kind of stuff, but all that is talk. That is just talk. You really -- you have to go out and as they say, "walk the walk" and to be able to do that you have got to -- you have got to mentally divorce yourself from what happened and I think -- I think we have done that. I really don't think that had anything to do with our inconsistency.

Q. Some of your players suggested yesterday that Manny Ramirez gets a bum rap when he makes defensive errors, do you agree with that; how do you feel about it?

MIKE HARGROVE: I think when Manny Ramirez came to the Big Leagues in 1994 we really pushed him and rushed him. There were a lot of people that wrote and said that we were crazy and they might not have been far wrong. But, you know, we felt that we had to do that to make our club better. I think we have been proven right in that regard. Consequently you get a young kid that is learning to play the game at the Major League level you are going to see a lot of mental lapses and that is, I think, as much as anything is what you are talking about. As Manny has matured as a player, we have seen less and less of those. Now, they creeped up, reared its ugly head in the Divisional Series in a couple of balls that Manny hit that normally were out. He didn't run real hard to first base, and one of them he made -- he got a single out, the second one was a close play at second base for a double. Manny Ramirez works hard daily offensively and defensively. And really has done a tremendous job in making himself, I think, one of the top two right fielders in the American League today. And, I think that it is too easy a target when you see Manny make a mistake, all of a sudden: Oh, that is just Manny. Well, that is not just Manny. Everybody else makes those mistakes too. Everybody is just keyed on Manny because that has kind of been his track record. But he really and truly, I think, I think a lot of other people do that see him on a daily basis think that he really has grown out of that stage.

Q. Do you see him getting anymore excited coming back here and playing at Yankee Stadium since he is from this area?

MIKE HARGROVE: I think that -- you never see Manny get real excited about anything. He really is very consistent in how he approaches what he does. But Manny may be at times a little more animated in the clubhouse when he does come back to New York. He feels comfortable here. His family lives here, his friends are from here and, you know, early on in his career he played very -- he hit very well in Yankee Stadium. Yeah, he gets as excited as Manny will let you see him get.

End of FastScripts…

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