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April 2, 2002

The Week in Quotes

March 18-31

by Derek Zumsteg

PREACHING

"To me, on-base percentage is important, more so than walk ratio or home runs. If you're on base, you can do something. You can manufacture runs. You get on base, everything else goes up. I've always wanted a .500 on-base percentage. I've always had one around .430 or .440. I should be able to get on base, if I'm patient enough."
--Barry Bonds, Giants outfielder

"To me batting average is an overrated statistic. It doesn't really tell the whole story like on-base percentage or slugging percentage. Really, that's what offense is: on-base percentage and slugging percentage."
--Steve Phillips, Mets general manager

"His on-base percentage at the top of the order should really help."
--Lloyd McClendon, Pirates manager, on outfielder Adrian Brown

"Leading off, I'm taking more pitches, trying to be on base, score. I feel better this way, waiting for my pitch, being more patient. I don't want to swing at balls any more. I want to be selective."
--Alfonso Soriano, Yankees infielder

REJECTING

"I don't care about the walks. How many bad pitches has he swung at? If he never walked this season, that would be fine, if he swung at his pitch every at-bat. He's a good hitter, and you go to the plate not to walk or to take strikes, but to get a pitch to hit."
--Rick Down, Yankees hitting coach, on Alfonso Soriano

"I don't talk about on-base percentage. I'm old school. I'm not a stat guy. I'm a talent evaluator. The guys who taught me the game of baseball never talked about on-base percentage. Give me talent and I'll give you on-base percentage."
--Omar Minaya, Expos general manager

"He's not an out. He's a pretty good little hitter."
--Grady Little, Red Sox manager, on batting Rey Sanchez second

"I can tell you this. In 10 years as a scouting director, I never read a report that ever referred to a potential leadoff hitter. Scouts look at tools, but their reports never get as specific as that."
--Gary Hughes, Reds special assistant to the GM

WE'RE NOT MAKING THE CALL YET

"No one's goal is ever to walk more, it's to be more patient."
--Shea Hillenbrand, Red Sox infielder

"On-base percentage is a big thing. It definitely puts more pressure on the pitcher and the defense."
--Garret Anderson, Angels outfielder, on his team's new emphasis on OBP

"I'm not giving up the first pitch I see. That might be the best pitch I'll see in that at-bat. If a guy throws me a strike, I'm going to swing at it. Taking a strike? I don't see a purpose in doing it. You only get three. I have a pretty good idea of how to put the ball in play. But I'm not as aggressive as I used to be. It hasn't shown up in my walks, but I'm not swinging at as many bad pitches as I used to."
--Anderson

"It's simple math. The more baserunners you have, the more you'll score."
--Darin Erstad, Angels outfielder

"We're eliminating batting average. We're eliminating selfishness."
--Mickey Hatcher, Angels hitting coach

"For me, the leadoff position is about on-base percentage."
--Bob Boone, Reds manager, on infielder Todd Walker's lack of steals

THESE AREN'T APRIL FOOLS QUOTES, I SWEAR

"The union's claim that our pledge rings hollow is totally without merit. Economic action by the clubs during the course of the 2002 season would generate considerable financial benefits to the clubs. But, we have declined that option because we do care about our fans, our players, and the integrity of the game."
--Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's chief operating officer, on the Players Association response to the no-lockout pledge

"I'm an optimist by nature. It's tough to do this job if you're not an optimist."
--Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball, on the possibility of getting a new collective bargaining agreement

"I can tell you no matter what a very significant number of franchises do, without a change in the system, without help in both the areas that you talked about, they cannot compete, which is exactly what I said earlier. And I know some people will say you can with good management. But with all due respect to that, you could bring the greatest baseball executive back, Branch Rickey or famous George Weiss of the New York Yankees or all the great executives of the past, they couldn't compete on a level playing field unless you do the things Matt that you suggested."
--Selig, in his online "town hall," when asked how small teams can compete for free agents without a salary cap or revenue sharing

"Certainly, we expect to play at least .500 ball, and hopefully much better than that."
--Peter Angelos, Orioles owner

"The players will tell you how many games they'll win. And the manager and the coaching staff will tell you how many games they'll win. I don't want to put any floors or ceilings on the team. It's their call."
--Syd Thrift, Orioles Vice President of Something or Other Derek's Tired of Typing Every Week

OW. OW OW OW

"You're always going to be aware that he had arm surgery, but I'm going to treat him just like we treated him when he won 16 games. He's not going to be babied. He's not going to be handled with care. I don't think there's that kind of concern."
--Dave Duncan, Cardinals pitching coach, on pitcher Garrett Stephenson, who had Tommy John surgery less than a year ago

"That's not like a fight. Mike could have taken his head off and thrown it in for a souvenir."
--Bobby Valentine, Mets manager, on catcher Mike Piazza's post-game confrontation with Expos pitcher Guillermo Mota

THE REST

"They're just as important as the closer, because if they don't get the job done, the closer is a nonentity."
--Art Howe, Oakland manager, on relievers Jeff Tam and Jim Mecir

"I don't want to go overboard, but I hear he's a pretty gifted outfielder. His best positions are right up the middle: second, short, and center."
--Randy Smith, Tigers GM, on the acquisition of infielder Damian Jackson

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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