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Interview with Rob Becker, Steve Goldstein

Aired October 25, 2003 - 09:44   ET


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN ANCHOR: The Florida Marlins are making a habit of proving the experts wrong. Many predicted the series would be over by now, and the Yankees would be the world champions. But the Fish simply won't fade.
Josie Burke now joins us from New York with a preview of tonight's game six. Josie, I envy your seat this evening.

JOSIE BURKE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, everyone, I think, looking forward to seeing what the Yankees will do in this situation, because it's such a rare thing for them, under Joe Torre, to be facing World Series elimination.

But both managers sending the guy that they want to the mound tonight in game six. And for the Marlins, it's Jack McKeon. That means he's generating a little bit of controversy, because his pick to start is his 23-year-old ace, Josh Beckett, and Beckett will be pitching on just three days' rest.

But there's no controversy about the Yankees' starter, the left- hander Andy Pettitte. He has been their stopper all post-season long. He has three wins this playoff, and each one has come after a Yankees loss.


ANDY PETTITTE, YANKEES GAME SIX STARTING PITCHER: I just hope that I can get out there, get in good rhythm, you know, get my stuff working, and, you know, just looking forward to trying to give us a great start.

JACK MCKEON, MARLINS MANAGER: Beckett and Provano (ph) have pitched the best for us in the playoffs, and why not go with the best we got, and take our chances?

JOSH BECKETT, MARLINS GAME SIX STARTING PITCHER: I wanted to pitch game six, yes, you know, you always want to, I guess, be that guy, you know, take the ball in that last game or whatever. They came and asked me, and I just said I wanted to see how I felt on my second day. That's usually my stiffest day, and I was actually fine. I actually had more stiffness the day after I pitched.

MCKEON: He's a resilient kid, and even though he's a youngster and he hasn't pitched that much this year, but he's come into his own in the postseason. And right now we feel that's our best shot. BECKETT: I'm looking forward to it. I think actually a day less rest, it's easier to stay sharp than, you know, having that extra day, the sixth day.


BURKE: The always-brash Beckett might have some reason to be even more confident going into this game. That's because he actually pitched in relief on just two days' rest during the NLCS, and he pitched very, very well.

But the Yankees do have one thing in their pocket, and it's a little bit surprising. It's a statistic. The last eight teams to go down 3-2 in the World Series and then come home for game six and seven, well, seven of those teams have actually rebounded to take the title, Sean.

CALLEBS: Interesting. Josie Burke, thanks very much.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight could be the night for the Florida Marlins if they beat New York at Yankee Stadium. The Marlins will win their second World Series title.

Joining us from Miami with a preview is Steve Goldstein of Florida Sports Radio. Thanks so much for being here, Steve.


COLLINS: And in New York, we have sports columnist Rob Becker. And always got to say, before we get started, guys, let's try to keep the shouting at a minimum.

All right. Let me just ask you, can the Marlin do it? Rob?

ROB BECKER, SPORTS COLUMNIST: Well, sure they can, because they're up three to two, and you have to say that gives them a better than 50 percent chance. But there's several reasons why it's rational to believe in the Yankees chances. One of them is what...


BECKER: ... Josie just said, seven times out of the last eight, when a team came home down three-two, it won the last two.

But consider this also. The Florida Marlins, both of their starting pitchers will be on three days' rest, and the Yankees will be on four days' rest. The last five years, when a pitcher goes on three days' rest, he wins a quarter of the time and gives up six runs.

Also, if you look at this series, the Yankees ERA is a run and a half better, and their batting average is 40 points better. The more games you play, the more likely those overall trends will take hold, rather than a flukish, like Torre's incorrect decision to bring in Jeff Weaver in extra innings in the fourth game, which cost them that game.

COLLINS: Hey, Steve, is this all just a bunch of numbers, or do you agree with this logic?

GOLDSTEIN: You know, Heidi, I think you've been watching a lot of baseball. I mean, it's just a bunch of numbers. Logic is out the window. If logic made any sense, the Florida Marlins would not even be in the World Series.

Now, think about this. The Yankees pitched Andy Pettitte on three days' rest in game two, and he dominated the Marlins. And, you know, in the ALCS, Boston saved Pedro Martinez for game seven, and he lost.

You know, Jack (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Heidi...

BECKER: Well, wait a second, he got -- remember...


BECKER: ... that Pettitte is more of a guy who pitches down, and Beckett has fast balls up. He's going to tire in the seventh and eighth and ninth innings in a way that Pettitte wouldn't be expected to.

GOLDSTEIN: Well, we'll worry about the seventh, eighth, and ninth inning when they get there. The bottom line is, from a week ago, we were on the air, Rob, the Marlins weren't even supposed to be in the World Series, and now they're up three games to two. They have won 101 games this season.

They're the best team in baseball since May. It's about time people started waking up and realizing that this team isn't just some fluking Cinderella, it's a darned good baseball team, the best defense in the league...


GOLDSTEIN: ... and the best speed in the league.

COLLINS: All right, Rob, let me jump in real quick here. I want to just remind you of what you did say last time we chatted. I think you mentioned something about predicting the Yankees would be in this series, obviously, and that they would win the World Series, and they'd win in six games.

BECKER: Well, I clearly was wrong about the six games.


BECKER: But I still think I'm right about the Yankees winning. And the primary reason is what I said last week, starting pitching, watch the last two games, Pettitte and Messina (ph) on four, five days' rest, versus Beckett and Provano on three. I take the Yankees.

COLLINS: All right. Final thought, Rob Becker?

BECKER: Well, I think that if the Yankees do lose, the most important thing is that Torre used Weaver incorrectly in that fourth game. He had four other options. He picked the guy who gives up a run per inning. He should never have done that. It was an illogical thing by a very good manager otherwise.

COLLINS: And Steve Goldstein, you get the last word.

GOLDSTEIN: Well, of course, Heidi, it's going to be the Marlins. You know, they got a game-winning home run the other night from Alex Gonzalez. This guy's batting average was like the "Animal House" GPA, and, you know, below one. It was, Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, young man.

Heidi, I want to invite you down here Tuesday. It's parade. It's going to be on Biscayne Boulevard. They're going to have a boat parade in Fort Lauderdale. Come on by, because, believe it or not, the Florida Marlins are going to be the World Series champions. Incredible.

COLLINS: All right. Well, if it happens, I will be calling you for tickets to that parade. So watch out for what you offer.

All right, thanks so much, guys. Steve Goldstein coming to us from Florida, obviously, rooting for the Marlins, and Rob Becker coming to us from New York for the Yankees. Thanks so much, you guys. Appreciate it.

GOLDSTEIN: Thank you.


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