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July 10, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. This is obviously a very special night for you. Where does it rank?

JOE TORRE: It's really special. This whole Cal Ripken thing and here I am I'm thinking of making changes and I'm writing down d OR on and bang, somebody is saying get up get up and he hit a home run. It was really magical. And Cal is such a -- he's such a class individual, and his legacy in baseball is just going to be not how he played, but the way he played. The way he carried himself, and it's wonderful. I've been lucky enough to do this four times now, and this certainly is very special one, it really is.

Q. He looked a little surprised to be playing shortstop there.

JOE TORRE: That started with A-Rod. A-Rod called me on Thursday night. We were on our way back from Baltimore, and there was a message for me to call him on his cell phone and I called him -- actually as soon as we got on the airplane, and I said , "Oh, no, I hope he wasn't hurt." That was the first thing that came up in my mind. He came up with this idea and said, "What do you think?" And I said, "I think it's dynamite" the only one we tried to keep out of it obviously was Cal. He wouldn't move. And A-Rod was pointing, saying, he wants you to move. That was a great idea and I thought it came off real well.

Q. Derek Jeter seems to come through every time you need him.

JOE TORRE: He's hit two home runs in two years. I told him I think it took Hank Aaron 10 or 12 years to hit his first home run in a All-Star Game. He said I was going to swing 3-0, I don't care where it was. We don't have any sign in this game. I told these guys, "If it's a 3-0 count and we are behind in the game more than a run, then use your better judgment there and don't swing, but otherwise, let her fly." We haven't seen that for a while from Derek, to be honest with you. He's hit a couple home runs and he's really been having trouble driving the ball. Hopefully this thing, selfishly speaking, starts something for us.

Q. Would you sum up the Seattle experience and how were treated here by the fans?

JOE TORRE: These fans are very special. They are loud and they are boisterous, but they are great. They are great. I mean, we went through this in the Championship Series last year, and they are respectful, and yet they are very loyal to their people. I love this city. I came here as a broadcaster with the Angels and everybody talked about the sun never shines. Well, it seemed every time I showed up here during the Angels games, you know, the sun was always shining. It was a very pretty city. Just, of course, you know I took a little abuse in New York. I thought I would be taking the abuse out here. I took abuse in New York for picking seven of my own players. So I thought the politically correct thing to do when we had to make replacements was to come right here and do it. I wanted to soften the blow as much as possible. They all played great, they all played a big part of part of it. Ichiro, he just set the tone for the whole game with the infield single.

Q. How forward are you looking to having the last chapter of Cal's career written in your ballpark.

JOE TORRE: I mean, when you think about Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth when you hear about these people, obviously we never saw them play. But when you hear about Cal with the Iron Man speak, and then the production the other day -- we just finished a three-game series in Baltimore and we beat them, but the last game, Cal had three hits, knocked in two runs, pulled in a single off left field off Mark Wohlers, who throws 98 and he talked about that. I went on a streak, I went to Philly and hit the ball really good. He was ^ twinkling again, like he was thinking about maybe changing his mind. I think like he said, once he made the decision to retire it sort of took a little bit of the load off of him. In Yankee Stadium, which is a special place, and to have Cal play his last game there, I know we don't have any tickets available; that's a pretty good indication, but it's going to be very special. He's just a very special ballplayer and a very special person.

Q. You've been a witness to some great moments in history. Did you get some goose bumps at moments in this game?

JOE TORRE: We're allowed to do this now. Years ago we would not disrupt a game for anything. I thought it had a nice touch, with the Commissioner coming out and honoring both he and Tony. Yeah, I got goose bumps. It's tough to be that close to a Cal Ripken or a Tony Gwynn and not feel what they represent. It's corny, but it still works, as far as I'm concerned. You know, we talk so much about how much money people make and going from team to team. I think we lose the sentimentality and what it takes.

Q. Was there any thought of letting the home run be his last All-Star at-bat?

JOE TORRE: Sorry. We had production. There was going to be production at the top of the sixth inning. (Laughs). Again, we wanted it in the middle of the game, and we talked about it obviously on TV and obviously Cal was in on that one. We wanted him out there for a few innings, hit or no hit, I think just his presence, you know, I think the give all the fans just a chance to take it all in.

End of FastScripts�.

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