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December 31, 2001

The Week in Quotes

2001 in review

by Derek Zumsteg

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH

"When you're a little kid, you think about the seventh game of the World Series. It didn't matter how the hit came."
--Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks outfielder, on his Series-winning hit in Game Seven

BEST SEASON EVER

"To talk about it on May 21 is ridiculous. I could be hit by a truck tomorrow, then what? 'He was on his way, but, damn, he got hit by a truck.'"
--Barry Bonds, Giants outfielder, on his chances of breaking the single-season home-run record

"Guys work out all year round now. We have personal trainers--we all do. Guys don't want to go on breaks. The game has changed. When we came in the game, a second baseman was a 4-foot-2 slap-hitter. Now you have second basemen that hit 40 home runs. I don't know what they're feeding these kids now."
--Bonds

"What I'd heard was that he was standoffish and not a good teammate, but I found it far from the truth. I talk to him, and he's a great dude, way better than I thought as a person. I knew what he could do on the field, and it's still amazing."
--Wayne Gomes, Giants pitcher

"I've always liked him. Everyone has a different personality, and I respect everybody. Everyone is not going to treat you the same, but that doesn't mean they disrespect you. I refrain from judging people."
--John Vander Wal, Giants outfielder

"Just look at it. I was leading national TV spots for a month. He's barely leading the sports. Right there says that the magnitude is a lot less. He doesn't have people going through his locker looking for stuff and looking for bad things. In one sense, he's had it a lot easier with the media, which I thought would be more difficult. Unfortunately, he's getting the media but not the way I did. If I didn't make myself accessible, I'd get hammered. The media shies away from him."
--Mark McGwire, Cardinals infielder

"You know, it's tough being this patient."
--Bonds, to coach Robby Thompson, who was frustrated with the Astros pitching around Bonds

"I can't even express my feelings. I think some of them got some cheap shots in on my rib cage. So many years of frustration, I guess. That kind of got to me."
--Bonds, emotional over the pile-up of teammates that greeted him when he hit home run #71

BEST LEADOFF HITTER EVER

"To be in a class with Babe Ruth, you can't ask for anything more. Walks have been underappreciated. It's lost in the stats sheets. It lost its appeal somewhere. Another thing lost in the stats is on-base percentage. That's the most important thing in baseball. If nobody's on base, nobody scores."
--Rickey Henderson, Padres outfielder, on his walk record

"Let's see, for breakfast Rickey will have bacon and eggs, and grits if I can get 'em."
--Henderson, on the Rickey Henderson Diet

"Then I'll have a good meal after the game, either the clubhouse buffet or at a restaurant someplace. I'll eat a steak sometimes, sure. But not too much. I always leave something on the plate. Never eat till I'm full; pick here and there, eat small, eat often."
--Henderson

"Why you talk about when a player wanna quit? What is that player's ability? How much does he enjoy the game? Can he still compete? My grandmother didn't stop working when she was 40, and my mom sure didn't, either. There is nothing in life that says you have to quit at a certain age."
--Henderson

"It's more of a team record than an individual record, and I could never score as many runs as I have without my teammates."
--Henderson, on becoming the all-time runs leader

"If you play as a team and win as a team and lose as a team, you score the runs as a team. Maybe I'm the one that gets the number that goes with the record, but the team is most important."
--Henderson

"Batting average might be the most overrated stat in baseball."
--Johnny Damon, Athletics outfielder, on Rickey Henderson

"I thought I would never get there because I walk so much. If you continue to play as long as I've been playing, you get the opportunity to do it."
--Henderson, on reaching 3,000 hits

"I accept it as respect. You're trying to boo Rickey to get his attention. You're paying attention to me. You're talking to me."
--Henderson, on hearing boos from Mets fans in his return to New York

OFFSEASON OF THE WORST IDEA EVER

"If the Twins are contracted many will feel loss and sadness. No one, however, will feel that more than our family. It will be a sadness and sense of failure that no amount of money will cure."
--Jim Pohlad, son of Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who may receive $250 million to disband the Twins, in a letter to Twins employees

"It's the system. It's a very easy answer. I have an eight-year-old granddaughter who could answer that question after she looks at the numbers."
--Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, asked how successful businessmen could manage to lose money as baseball-franchise owners

"The loss stunned everybody. The debt is even more worrisome to people we do business with."
--Selig, claiming baseball lost $500 million on revenues of $3.5 billion

"I think Bud should look in the mirror. He's been saying for five years...that he's going to fix baseball, and I've seen him do nothing to fix baseball."
--Jesse Ventura, governor of Minnesota, on Selig's comments that fans of franchises facing contraction should "look in the mirror"

"The summary information they have turned over to us is meaningless in the absence of learning details concerning related-party transactions' salaries and fees received by the owners and their families, and the impact of stadium-acquisition loans by stadiums. In essence, what they have told us is, 'We lose money, but we can't trust you with the details.'"
--Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., during Congressional hearings on restricting baseball's antitrust exemption

"These issues are painful, very painful. No question about it. My sensitivity to these matters is always shaped by my own personal experience. But as commissioner, there's always a responsibility to deal with our problems. So I'll deal with them, as commissioner. But it doesn't make my job any easier."
--Selig, who moved the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee in 1970, on his memories of the Braves breaking his heart in 1965

FACTUAL ERRORS

"St. Louis is closer to Minneapolis than Milwaukee is. Are the [Boston] Red Sox going to benefit if Montreal is contracted? No. I don't think the Brewers would gain, either. It's so outrageous and not worthy of comment."
--Selig, on the potential conflict of interest between his partial ownership share of the Brewers and the contraction of the Twins, who are a little more than 600 miles away from St. Louis and a little more than 300 miles from Milwaukee (driving distance)

"Now, the thing I don't understand is that in the last one, Carl had a proposal that would pay for more than 80 percent of the stadium. Well, gosh, nobody's ever done that before. That's remarkable."
--Selig

SPOKE TOO SOON

"There's a new attitude over here this year. We want to win, and we don't need anybody coming in here and talking about your teammates like that. You don't do that on winning teams."
--Derek Bell, Pirates outfielder, on John Vander Wal's request to be traded after the Pirates signed Bell to a contract before the 2001 season

"He's never been an everyday player. If you haven't been playing everyday, stick to your role."
--Bell, who played in 10 more games than Vander Wal did in 2000, and played 100 games less over the 2001 season

"Even if [Tim Raines] doesn't make the club, the fact that he is in camp will help a lot of guys - Peter Bergeron, Orlando Cabrera, a lot of guys who, in the minors, didn't have any idea how to take a walk. ... Raines is a master. I'd like to see that happen before I get on, see a couple of those guys with a .400 on-base percentage."
--Felipe Alou, former Expos manager, on having outfielder Tim Raines in spring training for the Expos

MARINER WISDOM

"It is very tough for a ballplayer to get proud and to keep his dignity. There is not much difference between love and hate."
--Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners outfielder, through a translator, on Alex Rodriguez being booed on his return to Seattle

"I used to think experience was vital. But given the alternative, I'll take talent."
--Lou Piniella, Mariners manager

"Yes. Good place. They don't throw things. The fans just yell, 'You suck.' "
--Suzuki, on Yankee Stadium

"If you're going to get fired in this business, it might as well be early. Then you can enjoy your summer."
--Piniella, on the mid-season firing of Rangers manager Johnny Oates

PREDICTION OF NOTE

"Last year, I had a lot of health problems. My production went down a little bit because of the injuries. But I'm going to come back and put up great numbers. I'm excited."
--Juan Gonzalez, free agent outfielder, on taking a one-year deal from the Indians for the 2001 season

LAUGHING AT BAD SITUATIONS

"We've been giving away outs like government cheese."
--Mike Piazza, Mets catcher, during a team slump

"Save Fenway, my ass! All the people who say, 'Save Fenway,' should be here to see this. Save Fenway? Save the world!"
--Pedro Martinez, Red Sox pitcher, surveying a water-flooded clubhouse

"I left before they planted the trout."
--Jimy Williams, Red Sox manager

TRY THE VEAL, IT'S DELICIOUS

"I think I had about nine beers. We almost ran out."
--Mark Grace, Diamondbacks infielder, on what he did in the clubhouse after leaving in the seventh inning of an 18-inning marathon

"My first World Series? Better than anything I could have expected, better even than sex, but I'm lousy at that."
--Grace

"Triples are overrated--too much running. I'm not a big triples guy. The only way I'm going to hit a triple is if it rattles around, the guy kicks it, or if a little bird comes down and gets it, and moves it to left field."
--Adam Dunn, Reds outfielder

"[Charles Johnson] will never bunt as long as I'm manager. That's etched in stone. If I bunt Charles Johnson, put me in an insane asylum... where I may be headed anyway."
--John Boles, former Marlins manager

"The thought of rehabbing again and going to spring training and hearing Tony's 45-minute dissertation on bunt plays is not appealing whatsoever."
--McGwire

UNINTENTIONAL HUMOR

"To Derek's credit, he's given us every effort. He works hard. He does everything he's asked to do. He just needs to get healthy. People will say the Derek Bell signing was bad. But given Derek Bell's track record, nobody could have predicted Derek Bell was going to hit .130."
--Lloyd McClendon, Pirates manager, in June

"The things I did may be overreaction by me. Hey, it's not like Bill Selby is chopped liver. It was just that we had the lead, and I wanted my best defense in place. I was wanting to win that one so bad. It was no harm, no foul."
--Bob Boone, Reds manager, on switching Juan Castro and Bill Selby between second base and shortstop three times in one inning to keep Castro in front of likely balls in play

"When you watch him, he has kind of a happy butt. His butt's always wiggling, and he's got these mannerisms of wiggleness."
--Tony Muser, Royals manager, on infielder Neifi Perez

"I'm not counting that. That's not a combat walk; that's a free pass. He has to catch the hand grenade and throw it back."
--Muser, when Mark Quinn drew an intentional walk

"Some people say the 50-homer season was fluke, but nothing that takes six months to accomplish can be considered a fluke."
--Brady Anderson, former Orioles outfielder, on his hopes for being picked up after his release by the team

"We don't have a 40 home run guy anymore... We have to reduce mistakes, take advantage of every opportunity we get... We need to improve on moving runners over from second to third and our base running. There can be an eight- to 10-game swing in a season just from base running."
--Syd Thrift, Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations

CAN WE STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS?

"No more Ichiro questions."
--James Baldwin, White Sox pitcher, to a Japanese reporter

"I don't own this club."
--Billy Beane, A's GM, on why he had not yet signed Jason Giambi in July

"I don't believe in curses. Wake up the Bambino and I'll face him. Maybe I'll drill him in the ass. Pardon the bad word."
--Martinez, Red Sox pitcher, on the Curse

"I'm starting to hate talking about the Yankees. The questions are so stupid. They're wasting my time. It's getting kind of old."
--Martinez

"We just have to deal with our suckiness and go from there."
--Jeff Kent, Giants infielder, on the Giants' June swoon

"Let's not get too philosophical. We just can't hit him."
--Muser, Royals manager, mid-July, on his team's long winless string against Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer

SOMEONE SIGN HIM SO I'LL GET MORE THAN ONE GREAT QUOTE FROM HIM NEXT YEAR

"I've been probably the best player in the world, the worst player in the world, disregarded, nobody wanted me to play for them, sent down to the independent league, rumors, this and that, that and this and I will probably be the only individual where no one has ever known who I really am. It will be interesting. Read the book."
--Jose Canseco, White Sox designated hitter, on his forthcoming (and unwritten) autobiography

THE REST

"It's the best defensive team I've ever played for, and I've been on some good ones. We have the best pitching. Our offense is the most disciplined - well, except for me and Ichiro. I mean, Ichi and I swing at anything, but the rest of these guys are veteran hitters who know how to play and what it takes to win."
--Bret Boone, Mariners infielder

"Half of them are dogs, and to tell you the truth, half of them may be released this year."
--Wally Backman, White Sox minor-league manager (Class A Winston-Salem), on his players

"I feel like I've died and gone to heaven, especially after being a dumbass and signing with the Dodgers last year, which was the dumbest mistake I ever made in my life."
--F.P. Santangelo, Athletics infielder

"If you told me that when we left spring training that we would win 116 ballgames and tie a major-league record, I would have thought that you might have been smoking dope or something."
--Piniella

"Bergeron struggled last year, but they didn't send him down. There's always a double standard when it comes to Milton Bradley."
--Milton Bradley, former Expos outfielder, on his demotion

"I don't play this game for them. I play it for my teammates. Being a real fan means taking your bumps and bruises along the way. I've got more respect for them if they boo me every time instead of only cheering when I do something good."
--Marvin Benard, Giants outfielder, on San Francisco fans who regularly boo him but who cheered a home run

"You guys are crazy. Who'd hit third? Marvin Benard?"
--Dusty Baker, Giants manager, asked by reporters if Bonds should lead off to get him more at-bats

"I'm surprised how well I did today. I had a good pasta dinner last night. Maybe I walked past somebody with a bug. I'm surprised I was able to pitch. I felt like somebody beat me up for two days."
--David Wells, White Sox pitcher, on being sick and pitching six innings for a win

If you would like to submit a quote, please email Derek and be sure to include both the quote itself and a URL pointing to the quote.

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