October 13, 1998
NEW YORK CITY: Game Six
Q. What is the reasoning and thinking behind starting Ricky Ledee in left field?
JOE TORRE: Why not? Every time I put somebody out there I am looking for somebody to
take charge of it. And we are not swinging the bats real well out there. And I just
decided to play him, he is a good defensive outfielder. And I have played Spencer out
there. He has as many at-bats as Spencer did this year.
Q. Having played for and against New York, can you tell us whether this is a more
difficult place for visiting players?
JOE TORRE: I think New York, whether Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium you always hear --
and probably my being from New York, you don't really pay attention because you know the
way the ballpark -- you did this, you do that. But a lot of visiting players are not
comfortable coming to New York. It is because the fans are loud and at times there are
certain elements of abuse. But again, I don't think that counts in postseason because
first of all, the best clubs are here in postseason. They have been there they were here
last week. So I really don't count that as you know, big deterrent for them.
Q. Being a native New Yorker you probably understand the way the fans work here. Do you
consider the Indians the Yankee's top rival right now in baseball?
JOE TORRE: We have gone two years in a row now and they went to the World Series last
year beating us, hopefully we can do that with a victory tonight. And go to the World
Series. For sure, I mean they have been in postseason play, what, four years in a row or
something like that. And we have been in postseason play in three years in a row --
hopefully it continues -- we always seem to have to go through Cleveland, they always seem
to come to New York. At least as far as we are concerned but I think we are a rival right
now. Sure after losing last year I think everybody looks for, I think it is a story for
you guys and you know, for us, we obviously want to get to the World Series and we are
going to have to beat this ballclub.
Q. If someone would have told you before the World Series that your team would be
batting less than .200 in five games, would you think you would be ahead 3-2?
JOE TORRE: Well, I probably was more concerned swinging the bat -- I mean, pitching
more so than swinging the bats. Two years ago we were definitely anchored by our pitching
because we didn't have as much offense as we had this year even though we haven't hit, I
still think that we do enough things during the course of the game even if it is not
getting basehits, I think moving runners, getting walks, we do a lot of things with this
club that we haven't been able to do last couple of years that don't necessarily show up
as far as base hits or batting average.
Q. If this team were to win the World Series, it would be the second in three years,
where would this team -- with the 119 wins, where would it rank in Yankee history?
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, hopefully it will take 125 games -- obviously the '27
Yankees, that was very important to me. If we were going to tie or beat any club more so
than the American League record even though we accomplished that also, to me, as far as I
was concerned, the '27 Yankees set the standard. Everybody compares. So what we did during
the season, I'd like to believe that in and of itself was a special thing and then of
course postseason, you know, a little different back in '27. You didn't have to go through
the tiers of playoffs like we have to do now. But I still think we have a special place in
Yankee order, yeah.
Q. In the event of a Game 7, have you settled on a starter for tomorrow and would you
JOE TORRE: I am not talking beyond Game 6.
Q. Are you guys aware or concerned at all what is going on with the National League
Series and maybe getting something from the fact, San Diego had a chance to put Atlanta
away, didn't, in using that to reinforce the need to put somebody out when you get the
JOE TORRE: It's a two-way street. It is not the matter of they didn't put them away.
Atlanta didn't want to be put away. There are two teams on the field and momentum shifts
very quickly in a short series and you don't win 100 games without being able to win four
games in a row. There is no question that, you know, we are aware of anything can happen.
We have a 3-2 lead right now, but we are not breathing any easier because we have a game
to give, we don't think that way. Third game in Texas, we had a 2-0 lead, we were very
tense because we wanted to close them out. I think that is the mindset of this ballclub
and that is the one area I feel very good about.
Q. Wondering what your impression is of the overall baseball season were and how the
postseason has matched up to it so far.
JOE TORRE: It has been a wonderful year with the home-run race that took everybody, not
necessarily by surprise, I think the bang, bang with Sosa and McGwire right down to the
end was terrific. Cal Ripkin went on stopping the streak himself. The races, the division
races, and the wildcard races in both leagues, it has been a wonderful year. I think
baseball right now -- let's not screw it up. I think we are on the way back of having it
be as popular as it was before all this work stoppage stuff. I think what we have been
able to do is get the attention of the casual fan, with the home-run races. I think even
the non-baseball fans were very interested in what was going on.
Q. Are you willing to take more chances tonight in given situations to avoid a Game 7?
JOE TORRE: I like to believe we always take chances. I mean we feel like we are a very
aggressive club. We don't want to play tomorrow. There is no question about that. We will
do everything we can to win tonight. Again, the game will pretty much dictate what we do.
But it is going to be based on how we get started with David Cone. If we get a lead, if we
play aggressively or if we sat around and just waited for people to hit home runs we would
have trouble scoring runs. So we are going to try to do whatever we can to score and
hopefully David will give us the game that I feel he is going to give us.
Q. Without second guessing a fellow manager, could you give the pros and cons on what
Bochy did last night with bringing in the pitcher?
JOE TORRE: No second guessing -- when you think that -- and as a manager, you think
like a manager. I had fun when I was a broadcaster because I could do all these things and
nobody could ever second guess me. But the thing about a manager and just from following
the series, Kevin Brown was going to pitch Game 5. Well, if he was going to pitch Game 5,
0-0 to start the game, why not pitch the 7th and 8th with a two-run lead. I mean, to me
that was a plan and it is really tough to second guess that. If he had enough rest to
pitch 9 innings or 8 innings, why not pitch two innings. It just didn't work out.
Q. Have you or Chris Chambliss talked to Tino about his struggles or have you basically
just let him go up to this point?
JOE TORRE: I talked to Tino, but Chris does constantly and he looked yesterday and
today at videos, which they do everyday and during the game. Constantly working on it.
Hopefully just -- hopefully Tino settles in tonight and gets a hit the first time up and
all of a sudden things open up again. But they are constantly working at it. Sometimes you
over do it and you overcomplicate it for yourself, but again, that is the one area we
didn't have years ago all the video equipment and it is nice to be able to compare what
happened last year with what is happening this year and show them side by side and maybe
you know, be able to lock in on something. But they have been going over it for the last
couple of days.
Q. Can you see any change at all?
JOE TORRE: Can I see any --
Q. Approach to the hitting?
JOE TORRE: We are going to know in the game. I think a lot of it is emotional. You
don't get any hits and you put a little pressure on yourself. I thought Jeter was swinging
the bat really well, then he didn't get any hits, then all of a sudden I think that
bothered him a little bit, he started you know, pressing a little bit. That is the human
element. That is what makes the postseason very unpredictable.
Q. Along those lines with the players struggling, do you feel it is the playoff
pressure, untimely hitting or the quality of the pitching?
JOE TORRE: I think it is combination. I think the pressure doesn't allow you to have
the patience that you have during the season where you say, well, I will come out when it
is 5 games, 7 games, 4 games whatever it is, I think that type of thing adds to the
immediacy of it. But the pitching -- obviously they are the best teams and you are going
to see some quality pitching on a regular basis that you didn't necessarily see during the
Q. You just said about how Kevin Brown, he may have pitched Game 5 anyway and really
may have been in another way looking at it as just part of the plan. How important is it
for a manager to stick to a pitching plan through a series in light of Game 4? A lot of
people thought maybe you should have gone away from Hernandez --
JOE TORRE: I think it is important for the psychology of it. I mean, if you go away
from Hernandez say in Game 4 who is going to pitch Game 5, he has to pitch Game 5. Now if
he doesn't believe we have faith in him to pitch Game 4, now we are stuck with him to
pitch Game 5. I think it is important to make a plan and live with it. If it works, fine.
If it doesn't, well, you know, you had a plan. You had a reason to do it. It is not like
you wake up in the morning saying, I think I will try this. You stay with a plan. You put
enough time into it. It is sort of like hitting. You get up there and you have a plan to
hit against certain pitchers, all of a sudden first pitch is a breaking ball and it
changes your mind, now you are going to do something different. Good hitters don't do
that. They stay with their plan, because it took them a long time to come up with a plan,
but one pitch shouldn't change that. I think that those two things are very similar. You
have got to have enough confidence in your ability to make a plan and then just stay with
it in spite of whatever goes on.
Q. In choosing Ledee, is there kind of a feeling that maybe a young guy won't feel as
much pressure in a game like this, doesn't have much time to think about it?
JOE TORRE: You know, it could go one way or the other. Young guy, obviously you know,
whatever he gives us is a bonus. To me, you take what a young kid can give you. He is not
in the middle of the lineup, he is not batting third or fourth. Go out there and play the
best you can and hopefully it is good enough. Again, with Ledee, he is on our roster and
since I have tried everybody else out in left field, I just thought we would give it a
shot. The kid has ability. He had more at-bats during the regular season then Spencer did.
So hopefully we get -- I don't want to say lucky, but hopefully it was the right move.
Q. Was there ever anything a fan said to you or a fan could say to you that distracted
you from going out there, the words that --
JOE TORRE: Well, you are human, Steve, and it is tough to not feel it or hear it,
acknowledging it, I think opens up that they got you. I remember during the '72 season
half, leading the league in '71, and being one of the upfront guys in the strike, in '72,
I was booed opening day and it bothered me very much in St. Louis. Looking back at it, in
essence I started pressing. I don't think I have got -- you get angry every once in a
while, you tell somebody to shut up or whatever. But to me it is acknowledgment. If you
acknowledge that it bothers you, I think you are letting them in. But there are a lot of
times you really have to bite the bullet, because you are human. You hear it and probably
the fewer the people that are in the stands, the easier it is to hear somebody. When you
have 50, 60,000 people, you are not going to hear it as readily as someone yelling out
there. I remember years ago in San Diego, I had made two errors on two plays I was playing
third base and somebody kept calling me a hamburger out there and by about the third error
I was starting to get hungry (Laughter.). But, there are like a handful of people in the
ballpark and you are going to hear those people. I think tonight, sure you will --
somebody will be agitating, they will boo or scream or yell, but again, you are not going
to hear the individual comments unless you are warming up in the bullpen where they have
more access to you.
End of FastScripts