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October 10, 2000

John Halma


Q. What do you think the acquisition of John Olerud has done for the team?

JOHN HALAMA: He's helped us out as far as the infielders. He's come in with some clutch hits. He's been great.

Q. How have you done against the Yankees in the past?

JOHN HALAMA: You guys have the statistics. Look at them.

Q. You have a lot of family here?

JOHN HALAMA: Just mother, father, fiance's family, that's it.

Q. How do you feel about going up against Hernandez, being that he has such a great post-season record?

JOHN HALAMA: Well, I'm not pitching against Hernandez. I'm pitching against the Yankees. Hernandez's history speaks for itself. I'm just going to try to get the Yankees out.

Q. Growing up in Brooklyn, were you a Yankees fan or a Mets fan?

JOHN HALAMA: I have been a Met fan.

Q. Doesn't every pitcher size up the pitcher that he's going against, even if only in the back of his mind, and says this is going to be tight, I've got to do different things; I can't give up the sacrifice fly, because it may be the only run of the game?

JOHN HALAMA: Me personally, I've seen El Duque pitch last year in the post-season and I know what he's capable of doing. I can't go out there and worry about giving up a sac fly or, you know, giving up two or three runs. I've got to go out there and do my job. I've got to go out there and get the New York Yankees out, whatever the lineup is and not get into deep innings, the two, three, four-run innings. I have to stay away from those, give up the solo run and that's it. Hopefully our offense can strike and put them on the defensive side.

Q. How much are you looking forward to pitching tomorrow?

JOHN HALAMA: I'm looking forward to getting my feet wet in the playoffs. I got skipped in the first round against the White Sox. So I'm looking forward to go out there and pitch.

Q. Same kind of question. You were set to pitch the fourth game against the White Sox. Do you think it is going to be tough to stay sharp, after having prepared yourself for a game that did not get played?

JOHN HALAMA: I hope not. I haven't pitched since the second-to-last game of the regular season. I've thrown tons of bull pens, flat grounds. I think physically I'm as ready as possible. Mentally, I'm as ready as possible. It's the post-season. It's not the regular season. There's going to be some pressures. I'm going to have some nerves. Hopefully I can get over them quickly and just get on with the game.

Q. As a former Mets fan, have you been keeping track of them and can you allow yourself to think what it would be like to pitch against them in Shea Stadium in the next round?

JOHN HALAMA: No. Not really. I pitched against the Mets when I was with Houston. It was an exciting time of my life. This isn't Houston -- this is Seattle now. I'm not looking forward to the World Series right now. We have to go up against a tough Yankee team. It is not about the third, fourth, fifth game. It is about the game at hand. Hopefully we can come out of here, take the first one and then worry about tomorrow.

Q. How much of a factor are the shadows for these four o'clock starts and how much of an advantage does it give the pitcher in the early innings?

JOHN HALAMA: Is that Seattle or New York? I don't know the shadows out here. I don't know how they are. We played, if I'm not mistaken a 1:00, 1:30 and a 2:00 game and there was absolutely no shadows. Seattle, I think is a lot tougher because the shadows go all the way up the first baseline to the pitcher's mound. The pitcher's mound is the last part of it. That is provided we play the early games. I think the games are scheduled for 5:00, and I don't think they would be that much of a factor, except in the outfield.

Q. Can you talk about your approach against their lineup? And are you surprised that aside from the first inning of Game 5, they have struggled for the better part of a month now?

JOHN HALAMA: I'm not going to approach it any differently. I've got to go out there and throw strikes, mix my offspeed pitches in for a strike, and like I said, try not to get into multiple-inning runs scored for them. Give up the single run; that's fine. Give up two or three, now you're asking a lot more from our offense. El Duque's history in the post-season, he's pretty stubborn. He's not going to give up any runs. I have my work out for me. Like I said I'm going to try to keep the game as close as possible for however long that I can.

Q. Would you give us a read of being a New Yorker and pitching at Yankee Stadium?

JOHN HALAMA: I never had any idea what it's like to come into New York and play the Yankees. I got a taste of it last year, and these Yankee fans, they really cheer for the Yankees. Whether they are intimidating for the guys on the field, I don't know. I don't know if they hear them. To stand out there during batting practice, you really get harassed, they stick by their team.

Q. Did you come to Yankee Stadium --


Q. Never?

JOHN HALAMA: Never came to Yankee Stadium. Went to one Met game my whole life.

Q. Where did you live in Brooklyn?

JOHN HALAMA: I live in Brooklyn.

Q. Where?

JOHN HALAMA: It's irrelevant.

Q. Would you talk about how pivotal you and your teammates think it is coming off a three-game sweep?

JOHN HALAMA: Game 1 is always the important one. You want to strike first. It is better to be up one game than down one game than where we have to claw our way back in. It is the best-of-seven, four games and you go on to the World Series. We're looking at Game 1 right now. Hopefully we can win this one and then we worry about Game 2.

Q. How does a Mets fan live in Brooklyn and not go to more games?

JOHN HALAMA: I'm not really a big baseball fan. I've played it. I love playing the game. I don't watch baseball at all. I don't read the sports sections. I don't watch ESPN. It's not me.

End of FastScripts....

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