10/17/2003 4:09 AM ET
Gone Fishin: Yanks set for Marlins
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NEW YORK -- With their emotional seven-game series against the Boston Red Sox in the rear-view mirror, the New York Yankees now have to face an unfamiliar foe in the World Series.
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
The Florida Marlins, who advanced to the Fall Classic with a seven-game NLCS win over the Chicago Cubs, have met up with the Yankees 14 times since Interleague Play began in 1997, most recently in 2001. The Yankees hold an 8-6 lead in the series.
Although most Yankees don't know much about the Marlins, there will be a few familiar faces. Jeff Conine played for the Baltimore Orioles for the past five seasons, while NLCS MVP Ivan Rodriguez caught for the Texas Rangers from 1991-2002.
The rest of the Marlins -- including their stellar, young pitching staff -- will be a mystery to the Yankees. At least those who haven't played in the National League recently.
David Dellucci, who started the season in the Senior Circuit with Arizona, believes that the Fall Classic will live up to its billing.
"I think we match up very well with them," said Dellucci. "They're a bunch of young scrappers while we have a bunch of seasoned veterans. I'm excited. It's going to be great in that big stadium with 60,000 people rocking."
Dellucci, whose first phone call after the Yankees wrapped up the AL pennant came from Marlins pitcher Brad Penny -- a former teammate with the Diamondbacks -- said that as good as the Marlins' pitchers are, the Yankees have been tested by going up against the likes of Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield.
"They have some great, young starting pitchers," Dellucci said. "But they can't be any tougher than what we've seen so far."
Manager Joe Torre, who has seen several of Florida's postseason games on television, has been impressed with what he has watched.
"They're an enterprising club," Torre said. "They do a lot of things, most of all, they don't quit. They have some fine, young talent over there."
Most of the Yankees players didn't want to talk about the Marlins, preferring instead to focus on their unlikely comeback against Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox. Aaron Boone, the hero of Game 7 after his walk-off home run against Wakefield in the 11th inning, said that the Marlins will present a tough challenge for the Yankees.
"They're really good in every aspect of the game," Boone said. "They play good defense, have good team speed and they pitch really well. They've shown a resiliency. Every time they're down, they get off the mat."
Torre, who called the Game 7 win one of the greatest of his tenure, said that his team's attention will be focused on the Marlins first thing Friday morning.
"It's going to be tough to top this one," Torre said. "We have to get ready for Florida now."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.