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October 9, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. Joe how much do you think Strawberry's home run did for Clemens tonight?

JOE TORRE: Not only Clemens, but for everybody. I sensed we were very quiet and very tense at the start of the game. And Darryl's home run sure woke us all up, but it gave him the three-run lead. He was out there getting ahead in the count. They lit some balls hard all night but getting ahead in the count was the big difference for him. It was terrific. This was a very tough series for us, just the fact you play Tuesday, you're off Wednesday, play Thursday, you're off Friday, to try to maintain any kind of momentum is very difficult. But Roger certainly set the tone tonight.

Q. What do you think this does for Roger to win this game?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think it turns the page on everything that happened this year. He approached it the way I anticipated he would, that, you know, this season which there were a lot of question marks: Why isn't he this and why hasn't he won that, and why is he so wild. And I think he had a chance to turn the page, and start over and tonight he kept his emotions intact, which I thought was the big key for him because his stuff was terrific then he started getting beat up with that ball hitting back from the mound. But tonight, as far as I'm concerned, Roger Clemens is Roger Clemens. I mean this is the pitcher we traded for.

Q. After watching the Mets game today, how special will it be for the people in New York to have a subway series?

JOE TORRE: I think it's special to the people in New York today, you know, having the Mets go into the next round as well as our ballclub, I can't look ahead to a subway series. I'm sure Bobby feels the same way. You have to be thinking about the guy in front of you. Right now, we don't know who that is and they do. But we're going to enjoy these next couple of days off then hopefully, you know, continue on and get to the World Series. If it was ever a subway series, New York will be a wild place to be.

Q. Can you measure the impact of Bernie's defense in this series?

JOE TORRE: Well, talk about how many tools he has. You know, tonight, first-step quickness tonight on those balls in centerfield, I thought Clayton's first ball was maybe out of the ballpark, but for sure off the wall, and he was so quick getting to it that he was able to catch it, you know, and still sort of brace himself to the wall. But his defense, the play on Juan the other night, it was huge. I mean, these are the things he's capable of doing. And, you know, it's nice to see him step up, as well as a lot of other people. I thought Knoblauch tonight made a key play, the ball jumped off his chest, beckoned on it, threw the runner out. There were a lot of good things that happened. The one bad note I thought Todd made that great play, we had a chance to do something, open it up, and Zeile made that terrific play down the line on Curtis. I thought that was a bad sign for us, because, you know, we hadn't scored since the first inning. Managers like to score in a number of innings, but Loaiza was very stingy. Not to be embarrassed about it, giving up a home run to Darryl. But he shut us down after that, basically.

Q. Talk about the overall job your staff did in the series, letting these guys only have a run.

JOE TORRE: It's incredible. It really is. Last year we did the same thing, and I remember saying that this was the toughest series for us because you don't want to go through this ballclub again, and think you can hold them to one run. But there's one thing about our ballclub that bothered me in the second half, our pitching staff, is that we walked so many people. If we went into the Series, the same way we would have been murdered. I felt these guys were ready to pitch, and it's just a matter of good pitching stops good hitting. We have been able to pitch here in this series. Hopefully we can continue to do that.

Q. In the first, did you think that Jeter's drive was a home run, or what was that the thinking in the dugout?

JOE TORRE: I did. You know, I did think it was a home run. It sort of hesitated at the top. You can't really tell. It just looked like it was. I got it has a little overspin on it. I didn't know who to argue with first. I knew there was an interference because he had run into McLemore; so I didn't know where to go first. And I sorted of stopped and looked at Derryl Cousins and looked like he saw the same thing I did. That's when I went out to talk to Rocky.

Q. The Rangers scored a ton of runs during the regular season, but then when they get in the playoffs, they only can't put anything together. From the other dugout, does it look to you like there's a different approach or is there anything different?

JOE TORRE: No. But you know, obviously when they've had trouble beating us, you know that there's a certain psychological thing going on. But I don't think the approach is any different. Again, I know they scored a lot of runs. But if you think back to the All-Star Game in Boston this year, you have Walker, McGuire, Sosa, Pedro took care of all of them. There's something about it if you go out there and pitch the way you're capable of pitching, you know, good hitters, even the good hitters don't hit. Hitting depends on how many mistakes you make. The good hitters don't miss them. They don't follow them back. But we didn't make many mistakes. They hit some balls hard tonight and we were able to make some good defensive place, not the least of which was Derek's play on Todd to end the game.

End of FastScripts….

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