Tony La Russa
(Editor's comment: La Russa’s
post-game and post-series comments may have set a record for the shortest
interview of the type. Yet oddly it was because there were only two questions
asked, not because the notoriously testy manager would not entertain
Q. Would you give the Dodgers credit
for the job that they did?
yeah, this was, I think, closest that they came to getting beat, the first two,
but today from the get go they beat us to the punch all night, so give them
Q. What did you see from Pineiro
tonight, and was he up?
TONY LA RUSSA:
anything else, he had quite a few pitches he got up.
It's a tough way for him
to pitch, a lot of balls that did damage that were up, and it was just one of
those things. We didn't do anything with their guys. He pitched well.
Congratulate the Dodgers.
It was a hell of a series, so congratulations to them.
Q: How much air out of the ballpark
do you think Ethier's home run did here in the third
TORRE: Well, it
may have discouraged people, but it certainly didn't make us comfortable.
Especially the situation with two out and all of a sudden bang, and we scored a
couple of two out runs that I think were killers for them.
Q: Throughout this whole series,
your team has performed in two out situations amazingly well. I think they were
in four or five of them tonight. Talk about what that says about those guys out
TORRE: Well, you
know, you've been with us all year pretty much, and you've seen this ballclub
play a little ragged, and then all of a sudden we're playing a team that we're
going to see if we measure up, and we show up. And that's basically what
I mean, the thing that
I'm most proud of, and it doesn't surprise me, as emotional a game as it was the
other day when we really stole the game from them, to have the off day and then
come in as feeling good about themselves and yet understanding there was a lot
of work ahead of us, this ballclub has been great.
Vicente Padilla, it
looked like he was feeling his way in that first inning, but after that he was
nails. He was great.
This ballclub has worked
hard. They learned a lot last year, and they really care for each other, which I
think is necessary on a team that gets this far.
Q: What are your thoughts on winning
this Division Series and moving on to the next round?
Series, well, they're all scary. You play five games; you play seven games.
They're all scary.
But this Cardinal
ballclub beat us five out of seven, and to come in and have them come into our
place, which I thought I still feel there's a lot of pressure when you play in
your home, on your home turf, even though you like playing there. You still feel
you have to win. But we beat a very good team, and we won the two games that
Carp and Wainwright pitched, which certainly did a lot for our personality and
our confidence. This kid is remarkable right here on my left. (Andre Ethier
enters the interview)
Q: You look drenched. You've been
through a lot of these. What is it like after all these years to do it again
TORRE: Yeah, my
wife Ali is sitting right here. After we won in '96, she said, well, there it
is, you won the World Series. Let's go off somewhere and enjoy it, and I said,
let's see if we can do it again, never dreaming that I'm here in
We have more work to do,
but to get through the first round, it's wonderful. It's something that you
really can't describe how good it is, because I never experienced this as a
player, but in looking back, what it feels like as a manager, because it's you
have all these players that come together and become one. They don't go out and
eat with each other; all they do is play and help each other, and to me as a
manager, that's the most satisfying thing I can ever feel is how these kids come
together and just know how important it is what they do.
Q: Considering the circumstances, is
this the best you've ever seen Padilla pitch?
TORRE: Yes, it's
the best we've seen him, in fact, the longest we've seen him. Six innings was as
far as he had gone, and he was wanting to go out there in the eighth inning. I
thought about it for about a tenth of a second, but that was about it. I said
with these guys we have coming in, I don't want to do
Let me see, if Ryan had
gotten on base, and they had pinch hit a left hander, I was going to take him
out anyway in the seventh inning. If I was just going to go one man at a time
with him, I figured we'd start fresh, which is what we
Q: Manny went 3 for 5 with two RBIs,
and he had that double in the first with the RBI that kind of set the tone, I
thought, for the way things were going to go from there on out. Talk about what
you saw. He looked a little bit different at the plate. Talk about
TORRE: Again, it
looked like Manny was thinking line drive tonight. I thought his swing was a lot
more level, and that was important. I mean, that RBI was important, but the
knock in the fifth was huge when he pulled that ball down and hit the ball in
the hole. Actually that was the fourth run. That was huge. They were all two out
RBIs, and this guy hits a triple, he does everything but hit a single tonight.
We put ourselves in position to succeed, and we had a lot of guys
Q: Were you surprised that you swept
the St. Louis Cardinals with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, who were vying
for the Cy Young award?
TORRE: Yeah, I'm
very surprised. Again, that second game, we got a break. We got a break, and
guys got excited about it and really stepped up.
The at bat that Casey Blake had on Thursday, that was huge, nine pitch at bat, and he winds up
walking, Belliard gets a base hit, ties the game, Russell walks, and then
Loretta, who was 0 for 15 against Franklin, comes through.
You've got to throw all
that stuff out the window at this point in time, because you know, as much as
you like to see what the statistics tell you you should do, you really can't
make up for the emotion that goes on in these guys and what they will themselves