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October 23, 1999: the Yankees vs. the Braves, World Series, Game One


All around the room, players are repeating the word 'patient' to describe their strategy at the plate. It sounds like they've programmed, and to a certain extent they are. Reporters try to pry out more complicated emotions, calculations -- "What was the attitude on the bench?" "Did you know you were going to get them?" "Did you notice Maddux letting down?" -- and mostly the answers are shrugs. This is a very good, very deep team that is used to winning lots and lots of games, in every kind of situation. They'replenty happy each time they win, but it's really just another day at the office. "You look down the bench and see Straw, Chili Davis, Jim Leyritz sitting there," Chad Curtis says. "That's a lot of firepower in reserve, and we know eventually we'll get the chance to use it." So why worry when you're down 1-0 in the eighth inning against Greg Maddux, one of the greatest pitchers of the past decade?

It was bitingly cold tonight, 46 degrees at game time and windy, and the Braves fans stuck it out most of the night. Still, it was surprising to see most of them streaming out after the eighth inning, with the Braves down 4-1.

But the Yankees have that effect on opponents and their fans; they demoralize them as they beat them. The media-interview room, where pre- andpost-game mass interviews are conducted, is down a vast hallway from the Braves' locker room. When it came time for Bobby Cox, the Braves' manager,to do his interview, he traveled to the room reclining in a super-size golf cart, one leg up, frown on his face. Of course, Cox has arthritic knees and doesn't want to make the long walk, but his pose made him look like he was being wheeled off the battlefield, vanquished.

--1:30 a.m., October 24, 1999


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