- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 28, 2001

PHOENIX It's a rite of October: Paul O'Neill playing right field for the New York Yankees in the World Series. Since their postseason run of success began in 1996, O'Neill has been a mainstay in manager Joe Torre's lineup.
Until last night.
When the Yankees took the field against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1, the slumping and hurting 38-year-old veteran remained in the dugout, benched in favor of David Justice.
"It took me a long time to do it," Torre said of his decision-making process to start Justice over O'Neill against Arizona right-hander Curt Schillng. "I guess David's numbers are a little bit better than Pauly's, and really that's all you have to go on at this juncture."
The 35-year-old Justice, who has served primarily as the Yankees' designated hitter during the playoffs, was 10-for-28 with four homers vs. Schilling entering last night's game. O'Neill, who has a .261 average in the postseason, continues to be hampered by a stress fracture in his left foot.
And with dominating left-hander Randy Johnson starting for the Diamondbacks in Game 2 tonight, Torre again will sit O'Neill, who has played in 22 World Series games in his career and is expected to retire at season's end.
"To say that I'm not disappointed, I'd be lying, sure," O'Neill said. "But if we win this World Series, that's what's the important thing."
Justice didn't make Torre look good early on last night. He struck out in his first two at-bats and dropped a fly ball at the warning track in the third inning.

The other lefty
Although Randy Johnson will get all the attention tonight, Yankees starter Andy Pettitte is no slouch when it comes to postseason pitching. The 29-year-old has a 10-5 career playoff record and was named MVP of the American League Championship Series after beating the Seattle Mariners twice.

Extra bases
San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who broke Mark McGwire's single-season record with 73 home runs this year, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. …
Arizona became the 13th state plus the District of Columbia to play host to a World Series game. It also might be the hottest site on record. The temperature at game time was a steamy 95 degrees. Inside the air-conditioned Bank One Ballpark, which opened its roof shortly before first pitch, it was a comfortable 78.


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