October 6, 1998
NEW YORK CITY: Game One
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
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
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
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
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