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October 7, 1998

Joe Torre


Q. Can you talk about your exchange with the umps?

JOE TORRE: They gave me some kind of reasoning that he had to get back -- in other words, he had to get out of those restraining lines to touch the base, which I agree with, except he was never within the restraining lines. I mean he was on the grass, it was so blatant, you know, I don't know what to say. It was a terrible call. Just for one guy to say what he saw and the other guy to swear by it and meanwhile you have it on video.

Q. Can that really be classified as a judgment call, just a black and white thing that obviously they didn't know the rules or didn't observe what was happening?

JOE TORRE: Not really. Not when you know, you know the video is going to embarrass you. The thing is it was even as far as saying that being on the line means you are still within the legal limits of that box and there was no line ever touched. It was grass all the way.

Q. Does that excuse Knoblauch from not going and getting the ball?

JOE TORRE: No. It doesn't. I watched the replay before I came in here and he was yelling at the umpire and you can't do that. You have got to make the play and then go back and argue with the umpire. But I think he was just shocked that they didn't make the call.

Q. Would you say that this game was terribly out of character, not being able to advance runners?

JOE TORRE: Well, we had plenty of opportunities and we just couldn't get the job done. Our pitching, we wasted great pitching. What can I say? We had plenty of chances to win the ballgame or to score anyway and we weren't able to do it. I'd like to believe it is out of character, yeah.

Q. Should umpires be assigned to the playoffs on merit and not rotated?

JOE TORRE: I think the best umpires should be, yeah -- no question, they should be here on merit and, you know, the ball and strike stuff stunk tonight, but that stunk for both sides. I have a bunch of pitches in my pocket that I don't think you could have reached a lot of these pitches with bamboo sticks, but again that is for both sides, that didn't cost us the game it was bad on both sides.

Q. It is not appeal, it is umpire's judgment but isn't it four to five feet that the runner has to be on the dirt, not the grass?

JOE TORRE: No question about it. He was on the grass, but you can't tell an umpire what he saw. Especially when two other umpires come in and just shake their heads, you know, up and down like, sure, you know, if that is what he saw, that is fine with me.

Q. Was there any thought on your mind of bunting with Spencer in the 9th or is he not a problem, maybe never bunted, is it probable that he never bunted?

JOE TORRE: He may not have bunted a whole lot. A guy that hits 30 home runs, you don't ask him to bunt, that is a consideration -- that is something I will beat myself up with. He was swinging the bat as well as anybody. In fact you look back at his at-bats and the strikeout was really the only at-bat he wouldn't have advanced the runner. You know, but that is just a call on my part and as it turned out, it was the wrong one.

Q. In some ways, do you think you should have a replay to at least settle it so it is fair considering that this violation cost you the game probably?

JOE TORRE: No, we don't expect that. Things have -- I am sure we have won games that have been in violation too. It is just when it happens, you know, to me it -- Cleveland is a good team and you would have liked for the thing to be clean. Have them beat us clean, and again, they got the other base hit to make it 4 to 1, no question. But you have got to have better umpiring in there. That just leaves a bad taste and it is bad for baseball. As I say, when I talk about you know, Ted Hendry, as far as the other stuff, both sides got bad calls behind the plate, but that particular play was so blatant, I am not sure we would have won the game. It is just that you don't want to lose it that way.

Q. As you see opportunities going by, do you have some sinking feeling that something could come up and bite you when a team does that?

JOE TORRE: Well, the thing is at home and extra innings you love the opportunities because you never have to defend it. You score a run, you go home. As I say, we had some chances to do that and we couldn't do it. Sure, every missed opportunity is one you wish you had back. But that is the game. I mean, the game will rip your heart out, but again, it will make you happy as you have ever been in your life. It is just one of those things.

Q. Could you talk about the obvious possibility of being 2-0 and now being 1-1 to Cleveland?

JOE TORRE: Well, obviously 2-0 would have been wonderful, but we didn't have any free ticket coming in here as far as thinking it was going to be an easy run. You just hate to have the pitching that we got tonight from both Moe and Stanton and I mean all three of those guys, and David was spectacular, to hold a club like that for one run for you know, nine plus innings is -- you'd like to be able to win, but they did their job too, but, yeah, sure it was a missed opportunity for us.

Q. What would the rule have been had Hendry overruled the first base umpire; where would the runners have stayed?

JOE TORRE: Well, first of all he didn't overrule the umpire. Umpire at first just called the guy safe. It is Hendry who is the guy to call him out because it happened before he got to the bag.

Q. If he overruled --

JOE TORRE: Runners would have gone back and the base runner, the hitter would have been out.

End of FastScripts…

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