Yanks may boycott spots with Gray

NBC reporter's interview of Rose offends Torre

Yanks: Braves aren't done

Notebook

October 26, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees manager Joe Torre indicated yesterday that his players may boycott NBC reporter Jim Gray in response to an interview with Pete Rose before Game 2 of the World Series.

Gray, speaking to Rose on the field after a ceremony honoring the All-Century team, turned the interview with baseball's all-time hits leader into an interrogation, leading many fans to phone in complaints to NBC's local affiliates.

Rose, who is banned from baseball for betting on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds, finally lost patience with the relentless questioning. "I'm surprised you're bombarding me like this," he told Gray. "This is a prosecutor's brief. It's not an interview, and I'm very surprised at you."

Torre referred to Gray's treatment of Rose, who had his ban lifted for one day so he could take part in the ceremony, as "uncalled for" and said he was "very disappointed."

"For some reason, we've lost sight of the word `respect,' and I think we deal too much in shock value," Torre said. "Some of my players came back as it was going on, very upset with what was transpiring, and I just watched it today and was disappointed."

Torre also said he wouldn't try to influence his players on how they respond to Gray.

"I never encourage or discourage them. They do what they want to do," he said. "They're all individuals, and I'll support them if they have good reason to do what they do. I'll support them in what they decide to do."

Nothing for granted

Two losses at home might have drained some life out of the Atlanta Braves, but don't expect the Yankees to begin writing their epitaph just yet.

"Winning two games there, you can't do any better than what we did, but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us," said catcher Joe Girardi.

"They have a very good team. They're a lot like our club. They rely on their starting pitching, and their starting pitching is very, very good. Runs are tough to come by."

Just getting some hits has been a chore for the Braves. They've managed only two off New York's starting pitchers, and seven total. Leadoff hitter Gerald Williams is mired in a 2-for-30 slump. Chipper Jones has one homer in the last month, and it provided Atlanta's only run in Game 1. Andruw Jones is batting .196 with no homers in 12 postseason games. Ryan Klesko is hitting .185 with one homer.

"Gerald plays a big role. He hasn't had many hits the past six or seven games, but he can get hot at any time," manager Bobby Cox said.

"Ryan and Andruw have really good power, and we haven't seen that lately. If they could get hot, it could be a huge swing here."

As if the Braves aren't in enough of a bind, they'll be facing a pitcher in Game 3, Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, who hasn't given up a run in 15 2/3 consecutive World Series innings.

"No matter how good you are, our offense shouldn't be this bad," Klesko said. "When our hitters go out there and be patient and get a rhythm going, we're going to be all right."

Cox said he may hold a team meeting today, though he's not sure what good it would do.

"I don't know if they mean very much," he said. "We can't play any harder, we can't try any harder. At this point, I don't really know what to say except a few chinkers here and there might help."

Long layoff for Pettitte

Pettitte hasn't pitched since Game 5 of the American League Championship Series in Boston. Could eight days off make him too strong?

"I'm always concerned about that," he said. "I'm not a guy who likes to go on a lot of rest, especially pitching here in Yankee Stadium. The crowd gets so into it.

"Sometimes the juices get flowing a little bit too much. That's one thing I can't let happen because my ball gets up in the zone a little bit when I try to overthrow."

Oh, brother

Williams spent five seasons with the Yankees before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1996 and missing out on a World Series ring. He grew close to New York center fielder Bernie Williams during their time together, "but right now Bernie's up 2-0, so friendship is out the window," he said.

The two players are often mistaken for brothers.

"I get asked that question a lot," said Gerald Williams, "but it's OK. He's a very good person."

New York, New York

Girardi needed only one word to sum up what the atmosphere should be like at Yankee Stadium tonight.

"Loud."

"It'll be a good atmosphere. We have great fans, and they're very vocal. They get very loud," he said. "They like to have fun, and I think they know how to have fun and make it hard on the other team."

Girardi understands this could be the last season that some of the players around him, including free agent David Cone, will be dressing in the home clubhouse. And that provides a sense of urgency that, on the surface, might seem a contradiction for a team that has become a regular guest at the Fall Classic.

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