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October 7, 1999
NEW YORK CITY: Game Two
Q. Joe, when did Roger fly back to Texas and did he go to Houston or is he up in the
Dallas area and why?
JOE TORRE: Has anybody looked for David Cone? He's with him. They both went to Dallas
ahead of time. Yeah.
Q. Any particular reason why?
JOE TORRE: We always send our pitchers ahead.
Q. Even though Andy's a completely different pitcher from Orlando Hernandez, is there
anything he learned watching Orlando perform in Game 1?
JOE TORRE: Well, you're right; they're very different. The only thing that Orlando
showed him after the first few innings was getting ahead in the count helps, and I think
that's the one thing all our pitchers have to do, is get ahead in the count. There are
very few pitchers that pitch the game that could afford to get behind and be able to
overpower people. We can't do that. So I think he has to try to -- I don't want to say
control the strike zone, but he has to try to get himself in more pitcher's counts than
Q. Did you think that Texas was too patient -- very patient the other night?
JOE TORRE: Well, they're aggressive. They're a very aggressive club. Juan swings at
pitches, but again, you look on the other side, there's Pudge swinging early in the count
and he gets a single and double before you get a chance to blink. They are what they are.
That's why they scored so many runs. They're an aggressive group of hitters and they can
knock your brains out. I didn't see anything different in Texas, you know, other than
they're very aggressive, they know what they want to hit and they go after it.
Q. Zim talked yesterday about the staff, the starting staff as a whole not putting
together ten straight starts, you know, that were solid. And he was hopeful that might
happen in October. Is that realistic?
JOE TORRE: Well, we can all hope it's going to happen. We do. We hope that we can pitch
as effectively as we did the other night. But it's true. Roger kept battling himself all
year. David Cone was terrific in the first half and then pitched a perfect game and then
had some good games after that but not as consistent as he was in the first half. And
Pettitte was more consistent in the second half. And El Duque was pretty much the same all
the way through. Irabu was very consistent in the first half. That's what we base our
success on. Every time I send a pitcher out there, even though we didn't maybe get the two
or three times through the rotation consistently all year, you always expect that you will
because of the caliber of the pitchers.
Q. Because the post-season has become consistent here for the last few years, have you
taken the time to remind your guys that there's a fragility factor here, and let's enjoy
this, but let's take care of this as well?
JOE TORRE: There's no question. I think they know that and we do talk about that, that
we have to appreciate it, you know, the fact that it took me 35 years to get there, and I
think for that reason I appreciate it maybe more so than some people like say Chipper
Jones and Derek Jeter, they get to the Big Leagues, that's what October's all about. They
never make plans for October because they always figure they're doing something. But I
think they're aware of it. I think last year was a good example because of what we had
accomplished during the year and if there was ever a situation where we felt that we were
good and maybe didn't have to work as hard in the post-season last year I think proved to
me that there's not a whole lot of reminding that has to be done.
Q. Johnny Oates said before Game 1 that he thought you guys came back to earth a little
bit. Do you think the way you beat them in Game 1 put some doubt in their minds?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, every game is on its own merit. You really, you know, it's
tough to judge momentum, because you beat a club from 1996 till now. You play them, you
know, a dozen times during the course of the year, too, and they beat you and we had a 9-0
lead last year, one game they came back and scored ten runs real quick. It's not like they
roll over and die. Last year I think Roger had a 5-0 lead and they came back and snatched
it away -- this year. I still think every game is on its own merit, and I don't really
think the game the other night had a whole lot to do with anything other than that game
the other night. That's my personal feeling. I'm not in that clubhouse, so I really don't
know what's going on in that clubhouse. The only thing I try to do is, you know, try to be
aware of everything that's happening on my side.
Q. If you do notice that you have a little psychological edge, Johnny Oates comments
your team may have it; how big of a factor is that?
JOE TORRE: Well, I think if it becomes a psychological thing, I know on our side when
you win a lot of games, you go out there and you have the confidence that you can win
again. I mean that's big for us. And in this game, when you play especially in
post-season, where all the ability, in my mind, is fairly equal, the psychological part of
it is big. Because that's the only thing that could probably separate the winning and the
losing. But, again, you have to do what you do. I mean you can't go out there and get
behind the count, throw the ball down the middle and expect just because we have beaten
them that they're not going to, you know, hit the ball, stuff like that. So I think the
psychological edge, sure, it works on our behalf, but we still have to make sure that we
go out and do all the things. You can't give things away. You have to play well
defensively and we have to pitch effectively.
Q. Do you know, is Zim coming back next year? If he wants to come back, is there any
doubt he'll be back here?
JOE TORRE: Well, I'm happy to say it seems like he's having fun again. For sure, I want
to have him back because, you know, he's one of my favorite people. Not only for the fact
that we've become close personally, but we work well together. And I think that's
important. It has to be fun for him, I know he's had some problems this year physically
early in the year. When I was gone with my problem, he was thrown into this thing of
managing, with that he didn't have a whole lot of fun. But then once he started doing the
job we hired him to do, I think the fun came back, and it's nice to see. You know, I know
he's -- he's back and forth on what he wants to do, but I sense that he would like to come
back, and I certainly would like to have him back.
Q. How has Roger looked to you over the last few days throwing? Do you feel like the
long layoff has actually been good for him? Given him a chance to rethink things or
JOE TORRE: Well, the only thing I do with Roger, after we talked in Tampa about when he
was going to pitch and he had his plan already mapped out, Game 3, so he decided what his
weight room work is going to be, what his side work was going to be. I have not been with
him when he throws on the side. I'm never with him. Every once in a while if there's an
injury or something, I'll go out in the bullpen and be with the pitcher along with Mel.
But for the most part, they do what they do, and I've just been in conversation with him
the last couple of days, he seemed very relaxed and very mindful of what his job is. I
don't think anybody has to tell him that. I think he's looking forward to it. The only
thing that you try to hope is the fact that you don't get too pumped up. When you get too
pumped up, especially in his case, he's a very emotional person, he starts jumping all
over the place. When that happens, you can't contain it on the mound. That's what gets him
a little wild.
Q. How big a difference is there between going to Texas tied 1-1 and going to Texas
perhaps up 2-0?
JOE TORRE: Well, it's huge. I mean 2-0 in a five-game series is huge. It puts us at a
terrific advantage. If we happen to lose tonight's game, knowing that I have Clemens and
Cone going in Games 3 and 4, I feel pretty good about that. That's one of the reasons I
wanted those experienced people for those two games. And knowing that if there's a Game 5,
that it's back here, unlike a couple years ago when it was a little bit different. I think
that makes going down there 1 and 1 a little less stressful, I think. But the 2-0 thing,
if you're 2-0 going down there, it makes you feel pretty good. Even though it's not over
with, but certainly momentum is on your side.
Q. Joe, once again as usual, this time of year there's talk about making the Division
Series in the seven games. That would take us back to November. What is your feeling about
going back to a 154-game regular season?
JOE TORRE: I'd be for that. There are too many things that have to be done, obviously,
you know that with Players Association and whatever. But the playoffs just seem to be so
exciting. I wasn't one of those wild card people, but what's happened in the last couple
years in regards to the wild card has been very exciting. So I think since we have, you
know, enlarged the format for the post-season, I think that's probably the way to go as
opposed to trying to, you know, have a victory parade and a Thanksgiving Day parade at the
Q. At this stage, how much of an eye are you keeping on the other series and did you
stay up watching the Mets/Diamondbacks?
JOE TORRE: It's great watching baseball. Especially when you know every game is so
important. I did stay up, right to the bitter end last night. Initially, curious about
Todd Stottlemyre, because his dad sits next to me and pulling for him very, very much
because of what he's gone through this year. I know what kind of competitor he is. We
watched as much as we could of that game today until we started our batting practice and
that got out of hand in a hurry. But I know every player talks about it, and I know my
staff watches. It's fun watching it because you know everybody's going to watch us
End of FastScripts