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World Series 2001
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10/23/2001 02:18 AM ET
Torre's postgame press conference
The following is a transcript of Joe Torre's postgame press conference, courtesy of ASAP Sports.

Q. Can you look ahead a little bit, kind of look at this matchup with Arizona, what you know about them and what you expect from that series?

JOE TORRE: Well, I know we are going to know more about them than we know now. We don't busy ourselves with something that may not happen, so when we get our scouting reports, we'll know. But I think we know enough to realize that the series is going to be tough for us. We hope we can make it tough for them because their two big guys out front, and the people that follow them they are pretty darned good, too. The pitching, and I have been a firm believer, and I think that's been our signature for these five years -- actually six years we have got to post-season. Pitching, pitching, pitching and sometimes one run is enough and we have proven that. So we respect them a great deal because first thing you think about are the two guys they are going to throw at you.

Q. As far as your scouting, did you do anything differently against Seattle than you did during the course of the season?

JOE TORRE: I don't think we did anything differently. We just executed a little bit better. I want to say here, Mel Stottlemyre, I don't think anybody prepares a pitcher to pitch, especially a big game, better than Mel Stottlemyre, but our scouts have been great. We have gotten a lot of information, but I think Mel Stottlemyre breaks it down and has the trust of his pitching staff, and that means a great deal because, I mean, Andy Pettitte, Mussina; if it was not for Mussina back in Game 3 of the Division Series, I know we are not going to be sitting here talking right now.

Q. How happy are you that you convinced George two years ago not to trade Andy and how much do you think your words persuaded him not to do a deal?

JOE TORRE: I think a lot of it was both Mel and myself. You know, Andy was struggling. He was terrible. Andy would get strike one, strike two on somebody and then all of a sudden try to do something different and get whacked. He lost his confidence for a time. But the fact that I had never been to post-season as a player, I think I understood what he did in '96 was very special and that carried a lot of weight with me. You know, we -- I'm not sure how close we came to doing anything, but I know there was a lot of talk, and George, you know went along with Mel and myself because, again, you know he trusted our opinion.

Q. I know you have not gotten a lot of time to mull this over yet, but will Mussina be your Game 1 pitcher; what do you think of him in that spot?

JOE TORRE: If he is, I have a great deal of confidence. As I said, if it was not for him we would not be sitting here now. Mel and I have not talked about it. We have not allowed ourselves to talk about it knowing that we still have work to do here. We'll maybe talk tomorrow. We're going to work out on Wednesday, take tomorrow off and we'll figure it out and see which way we want to go.

Q. Joe, you were pretty much able to contain Ichiro this series, where he did not hurt you.

JOE TORRE: Yeah, again, we executed our game plan and again, Ichiro is too good a hitter, as Edgar is to pitch one way, and our pitchers changed it up, we changed locations, we moved the ball around, and made it look like, you know, it made it tough for him to look at a -- you know, one particular zone. He's such a good hitter. He can run like the wind, he plays outfield better than anybody, and I'm not saying this because I'm emotional, I said this before, he plays the outfield better than anybody I ever remember playing the outfield. You know, that's last year, Alfonzo, we got him out and did a pretty good job on Piazza, but this year, both Edgar and Ichiro, you know, we handled them -- something we didn't look forward to but our pitchers really performed well.

Q. Can you talk about Bernie Williams' performance, coming up with the big hits when you needed them?

JOE TORRE: Bernie, I think the most important part of that at-bat -- I mean last night's big hit is something that doesn't surprise us. Bernie has done it for the six years I've been here, but today was such a big home run, because two runs and four runs, it's a big difference. When he went 0-2 on Sele, and then was able to run the count to 3-2, you know, I had a pretty good feeling that he was going to put the ball in play and hit it, because you see that many pitches and I was just pleased -- which means he was seeing the ball good on that at-bat after going 0-2, it looked like Sele was throwing the ball by him, and to hit the ball as he did to the opposite field, it was huge for us, it really was.

Q. So much has happened in New York since September the 11th. You didn't hear him but Lou said he was getting his butt kicked and looked up in the stands and the fans were reveling and he really felt good for them?

JOE TORRE: We all know how passionate Lou is. When I started the post-tragedy season here and went to Chicago and I remember seeing, you know, "Chicago loves New York," "God bless America," that touched me, and knowing what happened in Boston, which is our fiercest rival, they are singing "New York, New York" there. I think New York, as much as some people love to hate it, have come to our aid and to our support and maybe it was unfair advantage we had on people that we were so motivated because of that.

Q. This year, fifth American League Championship as a Yankee, is what you just talked about what makes it so much nicer this one, and is there something else in this fifth one that's special to you?

JOE TORRE: Well, no, I think what made it special is this city needed something. Again, not trying to use this, because we have done well before what happened on September 11, but I realize and the players realize that all of a sudden, our responsibility was more than just to baseball fans. It was the City of New York, to represent them and to bring a smile to their face, which we are still trying to dig out. I don't know if it will ever be the same, but so far, you know, we're working like hell to try to give them a little rest from the weariness they have experienced.