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October 10, 2009

Joe Torre


Q. If there's a Game 4 tomorrow, is there anything you'd change with Chris Carpenter going for St. Louis?
JOE TORRE: I'm not really going to discuss Game 4. I'm not trying to blow you off or anything, but I don't want to do that right now. I guess it's superstition.

Q. Billingsley has had a number of games, including one here, where he sails through 5 and everything goes kind of haywire into 6. How do you stop him from having those episodes?
JOE TORRE: That's not Game 4 question. I'm not going to discuss Game 4.

Q. In all the playoff series that have been taking place, do you see a lot of weird things happening in the playoffs right now?
JOE TORRE: You know what, I think that playoffs -- obviously it's a baseball game. I think because it is the playoffs that we pay more attention to it. It gets magnified, and you see it over and over and over. Travel around 162 games, and there's some things that make you scratch your head and shock you and surprise you and all that stuff. But when it happens in the playoffs, you know, it takes on such -- so much more meaning.
But I don't really -- even for us, even though we're in the game, when we see certain things happening, it just startles us somewhat. But I don't think it's any more unusual than during the season.

Q. Not as much in this series, but there have been a number of questionable calls in the postseason already, especially last night at Yankee Stadium. Are you a proponent for expanding the use of replay, and if so, where would you want to expand it to?
JOE TORRE: You know, the play last night -- and I in fact just a little while ago saw the replay, heard people talking about it. The fair/foul thing, I think it could be expanded to fair/foul. Safe/out and stuff like that, I think that the games are a little long now, and I have a sense that they'd be interminable at that time.
I think for plays where maybe umpires are blocked out, I mean, they're human and they're going to make plays -- am I saying they're making more wrong calls now than they did years and years ago, I think we have more ways to scrutinize it and look at it now than we did then, so I can't say that.
But I think in terms of last night where he may have been blocked from making the call, as Melky was going by him, I watched it here a couple of times, I think something like that, that may be the future.

Q. Any lineup changes today?
JOE TORRE: No, same.

Q. Have you changed your managing style at all from your very first postseason until now?
JOE TORRE: Probably. Very first postseason was '82, and I mean, I had stars in my eyes and coming back to a place, St. Louis, where I had such great memories as a player. That whole '82 season just was a dream for me anyway because we weren't sure when left on the last road trip, if we were going to be the team that represented the west, even though I was managing Atlanta at the time.
But as far as making adjustments, I think over the years you pay attention to different things. I know spending the number of years, I guess it was eight years, with Zimmer, taught me a lot. It was sort of like the ice and fire. I supposedly was the ice, but we know he was the fire. We spoke a lot about postseason, about things you have to do, about things you have to pay attention to. So you know, the guy I'd like to be is the patient guy.
In postseason it's a little bit different. So I think in that regard probably I've changed my philosophy on making moves as opposed to during the season.

Q. What do you see in a guy like Joel Pineiro who's pitching for St. Louis today?
JOE TORRE: Well, he's been around awhile, and he's still a young man, but evidently Dunc got a hold of him and certainly gave him something right now to hold onto that's really worked. He's always had a good arm. You know, he's always had a lot of life on his pitches.
The only thing I think over the years when he pitched that you never saw the consistency that you've seen this year from him. So we certainly know that. We're aware of that. He pitched well against us. We have to dig in, basically, and be patient at the plate and try to have him pitch to us instead of us giving in to him.

Q. You alluded to this in the previous question, and you've been in many postseasons. But being back in St. Louis, managing in a postseason game, is that still special to you, have some extra meaning?
JOE TORRE: Coming back here, I have so many friends. It's like a second home. This is where I grew up, St. Louis. I played in the Braves organization, was traded for the first time to St. Louis in 1969. And I realized I was coming to a team that had been in two straight World Series, and I'd better grow up in a hurry, because I think I was quite a bit immature before that.
When you hang around guys that they had here at the time, the Maxvills, the McCarvers, Curt Flood, Gibson, Brock, you realize that you're on your own. They're there to help you, but you're on your own. It helped a great deal. So it's always been a very favorite spot for me. When I came back here to manage, also, in '90, it felt like this was the last stop I was ever going to make, and as it turned out I was able to go somewhere else that turned out pretty well. But St. Louis has always been a very favorite place for me and still is that.

Q. You were talking before about not wanting to look ahead to Game 4. Is it also important for you, for the guys, to put Game 2 out of your minds heading into this evening?
JOE TORRE: Oh, yeah. We benefitted. We took advantage of a break, and we're sitting here up two games to none. But certainly knowing in postseason that any team is capable of putting a winning streak together. I mean, otherwise you couldn't be here at this time of year.
It's the only thing I reminded yesterday, and I didn't think I had to, was the fact that here we are. You had Wainwright and Carpenter pitching the first two games, and we came away with wins, both of them at the edge of your seat type of things, and here we are sitting in a situation where we can do something special. But we still have to make each game the special or the new season, so to speak.

Q. You're up 2-0, but yet everybody has played it seems likes, everybody but maybe Castro. How much does that help down the line that a guy is not making his first appearance in an elimination game?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, I think every team that you have now in the postseason, when you hear them talk after the game, they talk about the team, this guy and that guy, and it really -- all the attention we get, whether it's media, whether it's fans, that certainly is great. It's certainly exciting.
But when you're in that dugout, when you're in that clubhouse, it's sort of this binding -- bonding and binding type of relationship that we're going to win together, we're going to lose together. We all try to sort of support each other, and if somebody happens to make a mistake, say like.
Matt the other day, they rallied around him, I don't think there's any question. It's just something that's a good feeling.
I've always felt, and when I talk to players, it doesn't matter if it's in February or October, it's based on the fact that you play this game for each other. You don't ignore the fans obviously, they're very important and you can't play this game without them. But the guy next to you is the only one that knows really how tough it is to do what you do. So there's a certain bonding that exists here.

Q. Through the ebbs and flows of 162 games, it's really important in this sport not to get too high or too low. You get into the postseason and the highs are magnified and the lows are magnified. How much harder is it to do that, and is it something you have to experience a few times before you really understand how hard it is?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, it is, and again, it's magnified and it's talked about and it doesn't matter what station you watch or what paper you read or what you hear, now computer, of course. You know, our game is full of negative statistics, and when things go wrong, it's about whose fault is it. Unfortunately that's what we're doing in our society, too.
But you're right about not getting too high or too low, unlike our sports where you're allowed to get high for the one game a week or two or three games a week. Baseball you're playing on an everyday basis and you have to find that thing in between that keeps your edge, and yet you make sure you don't fall too far. But when you drop down, you just have to try to -- and I try to add perspective to it, just about the simple things and don't look too far down the road. You really have to pay attention to right this minute. That's really the only message that's really been consistent with what I've tried to tell these guys.

Q. Did you watch the Yankees/Twins game last night, and if you did, did it bring back some of the memories and emotions of when you had some great games at Yankee Stadium against Minnesota in that first round?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, I watched some of it. We went out to dinner and then I was checking. My daughter taught me how to use all this technology.
Yeah, I mean, the New York fans -- fans are great in different parts of the country for different reasons, but when you get to Yankee Stadium -- I haven't been in the new Yankee Stadium. The old one, you felt that people were just sitting on your shoulders. But it certainly brought back memories of how passionate that is and how exciting it gets, and the players just feed off it, there's no question. And in a lot of ways you hope the opposition is intimidated by it.
At this time of year in New York, it's something that'll always be in my memory and something that really enabled me to be successful, really, being there and working for George who gave me the opportunity to manage some pretty good players.

Q. What does it mean to know that you've got Jim Thome ready to come off your bench?
JOE TORRE: He was so big for us, and we were talking about the possibility of getting Thome and Garland, and then when we were going to have a choice of one or the other, it would have been tough. But to have that guy coming off the bench that basically the opposition is going to have to be ready for. They're going to have to have a left-hander warming up for Jim Thome, not that he can't hit left-handers but you try to make it a little tougher on him, and the fact that you have a guy if you're behind in the game that can tie it up, or if you're ahead in the game a guy that can put it out of reach.
He is such a presence. I mean, he talks to the players, he's easy to listen to. He's not a gung ho guy, but when he says something you listen to him because he's speaking from experience and he's speaking from really a blue-collar type of background. It's great to have him as a weapon and also just to be on the team.

Q. This is the second time you're going to be introduced on the foul line at this ballpark this year. The first time you're on the National League All-Star team and got a rousing reception. How do you think it's going to go tonight?
JOE TORRE: Well, I think it's going to be consistent. I think Tony is going to get a greater round of applause than I am. He did that earlier this year, and I understand that. As I said, this is a very special town. These fans have always been great.
I know from opposing players, when you used to talk to opposing players when I was managing here or even playing here, they just looked forward to coming here. They'd walk around downtown, everybody is dressed in red. It was an event, and it continues to be an event. This is certainly exciting. I really enjoyed my All-Star experience, and there was never any hesitation at accepting Charlie Manuel's invitation because it was St. Louis, and that was the main reason in accepting, was to come back here. I'm looking forward to it.

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