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October 6, 1998

David Cone


DAVID CONE: Could you please speak up a little bit, my earrings are ringing from Metallica playing in my head (Laughter.)

Q. How concerned are you with the weather tomorrow?

DAVID CONE: Not really -- I am not really that concerned at all. I think the fact that it is a 4 o'clock start is going to help. The only problems I have really had in the past was right around freezing, right around 32 degrees. I think we are a stretch from there right now.

Q. Would you compare your physical and mental state to what it was at this point entering your start against the Indians last year?

DAVID CONE: Well, it is night and day. It really is. Last year I was really worried. Didn't know if I could make it. I kind of fooled myself into believing that I was okay, or at least respectable. And I thought maybe I could keep us in the game, but I got bombed in the first game and I wasn't even able to make my next start. This year it is the other end of the spectrum, finished on a good note. Had a good first playoff game in Texas. I feel really good about it right now.

Q. As an athlete, any part of you that wants to get revenge for them knocking you out last year?

DAVID CONE: Well, yeah, I am not afraid to admit that there is a little revenge factor here, but I don't want it to be overplayed. Obviously this is for the right to go to the World Series, and that is the most important thing. But they are the team that knocked us out last year. And they deserved to go last year and they have had a great run as a team. I mean, they are standing in our way, and we are standing in their way right now. They are the team that knocked us out last year, so naturally we don't want to let that happen again.

Q. You were kind of involved in that way back in '88, I think with the Dodgers, they used -- does that really play in baseball such a specific game --

DAVID CONE: It can be. I have heard various opinions over the years, David Johnson was of the opinion that the situation in '88 gave the Dodgers a rallying cry in the face of them being the underdog. So everybody is looking for edges. Everybody is looking for ways to manufacture some sort of motivation. This series, certainly we can look to last year and say this is the team that knocked us out. And Cleveland can certainly look to the point that they have had a great run and they have come close to winning the World Series, but as of yet, haven't been able to do it. So. There is a personal side -- situations, Darryl. In '96, it was the Torre family and everything they had gone through with Frank Torre. It is hard to quantify those types of effects. Are they real? Do they count? Yeah, I believe they do. To what extent, I am not sure.

Q. David, as somebody active in the Players Association what do you remember most about Mark Belanger's role in the Association; what did he mean to today's players?

DAVID CONE: Well, I think he was one of the first players to really get involved in the Players Association and really care. I think he paved the way for not only a lot of the contracts you see nowadays, but a lot of the rights that have been gained over the years. He was an integral part of the Players Association. He wasn't a lawyer. He was a former player, but he probably knew more about the issues than any former player or any player today, you know, he is hard to compare. I mean, he was -- he was a huge contributor to the players cause for rights and a hell of a guy. He is tough. He was no nonsense. Probably stepped on some toes along the way, but he made a lot of friends along the way too. He is going to be dearly missed.

Q. With all you have gone through physically in recent years how are you a better and maybe different pitcher than you were maybe five, six years ago?

DAVID CONE: Well, I probably -- physically I probably don't have the, you know, the same strength I once had. Whereas five years ago I might have been able to rear back and try to challenge guys more, rely on my fast ball a little more. Now I create. Now I try to find what is working and in any particular inning try to mix it up; change speeds; have a much better idea of what I am doing now. I kind of wish I had my arm five years ago.

Q. David, is there any part of you that regrets trying to go last year and maybe is there any part of you that feels a need to make up for that?

DAVID CONE: Definitely. I think it was one of the low points in my career last year and when I talked Joe Torre into letting me start Games 1 and 5 of the first playoff series, I think I bit more off than I could chew. I think I put our team in a bad way as well. When I couldn't make my second start we were short a pitcher. I don't know if that cost us the series or not because Doc Gooden stepped up and really pitched a whale of a game in my spot. But no doubt I thought about it all winter long. It was a humbling experience. This year, absolutely, it is motivation. I worked all winter long to get to this spot and now we have another opportunity and personally I have another opportunity.

Q. David, could you describe David Wells as a pitcher and why he has had the season he has had?

DAVID CONE: I think he really turned up his intensity level. He is also much more refined pitcher in my mind. What I have seen from him in the past and what I have seen this year, he has mixed his pitches much better, come up with a cut fast ball; throwing his change up much more often. His whole repertoire, to me, has gotten better. He is also kind of fought through the reputation he has had for maybe not pitching through tough times or not being able to battle through days when his stuff wasn't there. We saw a different David Wells this year. He battled the whole year long. Never gave in and he really worked on his craft. I think he is a much more cerebral pitcher if that is possible to say about David Wells (Laughter.) But, yeah, he definitely has a much better idea of what he is doing. He is much more intense.

Q. Can you talk about the Indians line-up and what concerns you have facing them?

DAVID CONE: Their depth. 1 through 9, the speed at the top of their lineup, they can do a lot of things. They can get on base and hit and run. They go right-left, right-left. Have a lot of variety. Plus they are battle tested. They have had a great run as a team and organization. I am sure they feel like this year is the final piece to their puzzle. They want to get to the World Series and win it. They have been close a couple of times. I really think the depth of their lineup is probably the best matchup for our line-up because I have a lot of respect for our lineup 1 through 9 and bottom of our order, I think they are the closest thing to our lineup in terms of matchups in the American League.

Q. David, in terms of revenge, what do you player at David?

DAVID CONE: I don't know, I don't want to be -- I have never been superstitious to the degree that you feel like you have to do something. Whatever mood I am in - I will listen to whatever music, I don't want to offend anybody else in the clubhouse because I want them to score runs for me. I don't want to be in my own little world to where everybody around me is affected.

Q. Joe Torre, on that vein, described you before as kind of the "Yoda" of the pitching staff. When did you feel comfortable being that?

DAVID CONE: I don't know if that is good or bad. But...

Q. I may be exaggerating.

DAVID CONE: I don't know. I think, you know, when David Wells came over we had been together in 1992, I really made it a point to try to befriend him and get closer to him and find out what makes him tick and of course, some of the other guys that are younger and we have a multi-cultural pitching staff, when El Duque came over we were all enamored with him and his story, wanted to welcome him as soon as possible and make him feel comfortable. The same can be said with Hideki, Irabu, when he came over from Japan, he was under intense scrutiny. Never seen a pitcher break in with that type of scrutiny with banners for T-shirts being sold, you know, the hoop and, you know, all of the glamour around him coming from Japan, the Japanese Nolan Ryan, never seen a pitcher under such pressure. I just sort of took the lead and wanted to make everybody feel welcomed because I believe that we all feed off of each other and I believe if David Wells goes out and pitches a good game tonight then that takes a little pressure off of me. I believe good pitching is contagious and I think pitching staffs should pull for each other, and work together. And, I saw that work with the Mets back in the '80s and I am a firm believer in it now.

Q. Do you think you have had some influence on the rest of the pitching staff, personality or experience?

DAVID CONE: I hope so. I think that is part of my job description. I'd like to be able to say that to what degree, I don't know. But I'd like to be able to say that I have been able to talk to some guys, or pull for some guys, or have some sort of influence that has helped everybody and to some extent, but it is easy to say that when you are pitching well yourself. If I am going out there and getting bombed or if I am hurt or injured, then obviously my impact is much less.

Q. Most of the times Gerardi catches you. Tonight it is Posada. What is the difference between the way one catches from the other?

DAVID CONE: Well, Joe and I just seem to click, Gerardi, we have had more experience together. He seems to -- we seem to think on the same wavelength. Jorge, I think is going to be one of the best catchers in the league. We haven't had a chance to work together that much. I look forward to doing that in the future with him as we watch him develop. His talent is enormous, and we think that he can be one of the best in the business over the years to come. It is just a matter of experience with Jorge. That is something that Joe has the benefit of is a little more experience.

End of FastScripts….

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