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October 8, 1998

Joe Torre


Q. The reaction with the media today, people calling in sports radio, all that stuff?

JOE TORRE: All the things I don't listen to. Tell me what they did.

Q. Pretty harsh, as you can imagine. I'm wondering if the headlines -- do you think that's too much?

JOE TORRE: Fill me in a little more and I'll react to it. Which one of us block heads were they talking about?

Q. Knoblauch.

JOE TORRE: You know, he made a mistake. He overreacted to the umpire and underreacted to the ball, but you can't do anything about yesterday. You've got to move on. And the only thing you can do is learn from it, that's something you hope only happens once in a lifetime, but you can't -- that can do -- can't do you any good, thinking about it, obviously. So we have to just move on. There is really no magic formula to forget it you're never going to forget it.

Q. Rolling over Texas, it was expected you would roll over the Indians; does this put a little fear into your ball club now?

JOE TORRE: Did you watch our games in Texas? We didn't do a lot of rolling over. They were very close games, could have gone either way. When a club has been to the World Series two out of three years and has been postseason as many times as Cleveland, you don't take them for granted. As long as we play the game and pitch the way which we should be pitching -- last night we just couldn't hit.

Q. Could you talk about changing your mind -- not having a work out to making it optional?

JOE TORRE: It was basically, I didn't -- I told the guys to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today and then they all asked me for tickets and I couldn't get them. Basically, a few guys wanted to hit, so I allowed it to be just an optional. So I didn't really change my mind. It was basically the guys who wanted to come out here and take some swings.

Q. No intent on let me get these guys away from here for 24 hours?

JOE TORRE: That was the intention, but not because of the screwed up game. It was -- I think pressing a little bit swinging the bats. I think if we lost the game in just the pedestrian way with a homerun and over and out, I'd have felt the same way. I just think we may be swinging the bats too much in batting practice. That was my intention. It had nothing to do with trying to hide out from anybody.

Q. Because Chuck had maybe been pressing anyway in some ways before this, is this natural to worry about him a little bit more?

JOE TORRE: I worry about everybody, to be honest with you. Tino is pressing a little bit. We all want to do well. We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves, myself included. That's what baseball is all about or any competition, especially when you get to championship time -- championship time, but you realize that everything is magnified. I don't know anything other than what I normally do, which is talk to individuals if I think we need to talk.

Q. Do you think you need to talk to Chuck?

JOE TORRE: I will. I have. We'll continue to do it and not because -- sure, because of last night, we want to make sure that we keep looking ahead. You start looking in you are rearview mirror and somebody is going to hit you in the rear end. So we're going to have to just pay attention to tomorrow.

Q. Chuck came in here and said he screwed up, he apologized to his teammates. What do you think about him doing that?

JOE TORRE: I'm sure it was very hard with all that went on last night, but it wasn't necessary for him to apologize. We're all in this thing. We don't get a chance to rehearse and only put the perfect item out there to play the game. We make mistakes and have to live with them, have to work through them and I think that's what makes you tough. That's how you judge a good team when they can bounce back from bad things that happen. But no, it was not necessary for Chuck to apologize to anybody, because he tries his best. And last night it was a lapse we got caught up in. What I thought it was was a bad ball and I did, too, but that doesn't allow you to forget about the game going on.

Q. What do you think about the umpire's explanation later?

JOE TORRE: Which umpire and which explanation?

Q. Jim Evans' explanation. Really wasn't interference, that running on the infield grass really wasn't interference.

JOE TORRE: Jim Evans also said it could have gone either way, that was one thing I did see him say or hear him say, but I watched him do it. To me, you have those lines for a reason and those lines are put there and if you watch the regular baserunner and not very many of them run the line, but the only time it does come into question is when there's a play over there. But to me, he was definitely outside those restraining lines or whatever the line -- whatever they call them -- and he was hit in the back. Sure, he was close to first base, he wasn't at first base and to me there was no line for Tino to throw the ball and that's what has to be allowed. As far as the explanations, they weren't good enough because I don't think they got the call right. Again, that doesn't mean we were going to win the game, but we may not have lost it that inning.

Q. At what point did you decide that David Cone would be your Game 2 starter instead of Game 3. If you go to Game 7, you essentially made the choice of Andy Pettitte. Why is that?

JOE TORRE: I did it basically around David Cone. He had only thrown 85 pitches in Texas. That last game I thought was a curse because the rain was coming and we had to cut him short. But I felt he was probably better suited to pitch five days after that start and then pitch Game 6 with his extra day's rest as opposed to pitching Games 3 and 7 which would have been on short rest. I just wanted -- not short rest, normal rest. We like to give him the extra day when we can. So in order to do that, it was Game 6.

Q. It seems like people in general, fans or whoever had the tendency to let go and forgive when someone admits they've made a mistake. For that reason, I don't know if you advised Chuck -- do you think that was wise, to come in and do what he did or to admit it?

JOE TORRE: No, I did not and I agree with you. Everybody -- we've all made mistakes and, sure, there are -- we lay sleepless at night wishing you never made mistakes but we all have done it, so I think people understand when somebody makes a mistake. Sometimes when you're in the public eye, you know, mistakes are more unforgivable, but it's still brings out the human aspect.

Q. When you say we've all made mistakes, would you like to see once an umpire admit he made a mistake?

JOE TORRE: I've -- umpires have admitted. Umpires have admitted. You know, as far as I'm concerned, in a lot of instances as far as I'm concerned, umpires try -- and I have a lot of compassion for that. I really do. It's tough because the umpires, for the most part, like everybody else, are nice guys. I just -- there are certain umpires that I think shouldn't be in postseason play. And I think they should find a better way to pick the qualified umpires as opposed to just working a rotation.

Q. What is it about Andy Pettitte that gives you confidence? He can really rise to the occasion in that pivotal Game 3 and snuff out any momentum the Indians may have.

JOE TORRE: Well, I always think about Game 5 of the World Series. There's not much -- it wasn't a much bigger game than that one he played in Atlanta and he pitched a 1-0 game against a very good ball club. Of course, against Texas, a very tough ball club, and he had his struggles the last half of the year. His stuff the last few outings before the game I thought was very good. Just a matter of changing his approach, to be more aggressive and throw more strikes and that's what he did in that game against Texas. It's inside him. I have no problems with Andy Pettitte pitching Game 3 and Game 7.

Q. Some of your players feel they got robbed, one of your high professional players got booed pretty good. Do you think that could be a rallying point for the team?

JOE TORRE: One thing we've always stressed here is we do it together, whether we win or we lose, it's together. And there's no question we'll rally behind Chuck. And Tino takes on a lot of responsibility for this, too, and we're rallying around Tino. To me you go out there, you're not going to get a hit every time up. Postseason as I mentioned a minute ago is much more magnified because all you people are here and it's understandable. I mean, that's what people want to -- most people pay attention to and we have more TV audience, everybody -- there's only a few final four teams left and there's more attention being paid. Yes, that's a rallying point for us. We're in this thing together, very proud of what we accomplished up until now and we hope we can continue and go on to the World Series because that's been our goal since February.

Q. I think you were uncharacteristically outspoken harsh on your comments on the umpiring last night, what prompted the comments, and do you think you might be fined by the league office?

JOE TORRE: Wow, I thought I was calm, too. I don't care if I get fined. Start worrying about that stuff. I thought I tried to be as -- I don't know -- restrained as possible. To me, it was just -- it was a bad call over and over. It's over and gone. I mean, it's finished for me. If I get fined, I get fined. I can't worry about that. But it was -- it hurt at that time and it still hurts, but you have to learn to get through it. I anticipate I'll get fined and they've had me before.

Q. You also talked about Hendry's ball strike calls

saying --

JOE TORRE: So did everybody else.

Q. Ted Hendry and Jim Evans -- they stunk for both sides?

JOE TORRE: I tried to get across that I never want to blame an umpire for losing the game. We had 9, 10 11 innings to win it ourselves. When I talk about the ball strike thing, he wasn't only widening our zone, he was widening the other team's zone, too. That had nothing to do with winning or losing. Just the chamber of his job last night which I didn't think was good. That's the only thing I try to stay away from as far as criticizing umpires, because it always sounds like you're bitching, oh, we lost because of that. No, it was a bad call and it doesn't guarantee we were going to win. You just hate to see just an obvious call go uncorrected and let two good teams go on and play a team game and have them decide who wins.

Q. What are your impressions of Bartolo Colon?

JOE TORRE: Throws very hard and seems to have a certain calm about him that even if he's in trouble he doesn't seem to rattle. I was very impressed. Spent a couple of days around him at the All-Star Game, doesn't say a whole lot to you, walks around with a lot of confidence. Young kid that's coming -- I don't know how old he is, but experience-wise and he has a great arm and I think he's learning all the time. He's going to be a battle for us, we're going to have to be selective and again, he's one of those high fastball pitches that can throw the ball by you if you don't pay attention.

Q. Did you make a decision on the DH for tomorrow and why?

JOE TORRE: I really haven't. Haven't thought about my line up. We'll work out today and I probably won't have anything for them until tomorrow.

Q. When the Cubs made the wild card, you expressed happiness for Brant Brown. How important do you think it is for Chuck Knoblauch's piece of mind the rest of his life --

JOE TORRE: I think it will be wonderful and that was the reason. I didn't want the Mets' fans in New York to think I was pulling for the Cubs because I didn't want the Mets to win. It was basically because of Brant Brown. You don't want somebody labeled like that. Sure I'd like to win for reasons other than that, that would be a great eraser for this whole thing because there are certain people that like to put labels on people and it's unfortunate when you've had a career like Bill Buckner. Brant hasn't had that career yet and Chuck is in the middle of it. Yeah, I'd hate for someone to be remembered for something negative when their career has been good.

End of FastScripts…

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