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March 3, 2003

The Week in Quotes

February 17-March 2

by Ryan Wilkins

BUILDING A CHAMPION

"Look at the Anaheim Angels. That was a baseball team. It was all about winning. This team is starting to develop kind of a makeup of its own. Hopefully we can bring the mullets back and grow the hair out. I think you're starting to see baseball players who are going to be all about winning. You're going to have a lot of guys pulling from the same rope instead of three or four pulling from different ropes."
--Kevin Millar, Red Sox outfielder

"The difference in most championship clubs is defense... Everyone knows you've got to have enough pitching to win and everyone knows the game is seeming to become more offensive every year, but the common denominator is almost every championship club has outstanding defense.
--Chuck LaMar, Devil Rays general manager

"Whether you're a building organization like ourselves or a team coming off a World Series championship, it's the constant. It's what comes to the ballpark every day. And I don't think you can win without it."
--LaMar

"You wouldn't believe the players who would have signed here this winter... just because Lou is here. I'm talking about quality guys, winning guys."
--LaMar

ALL THE SMALL THINGS

"The percentage of stolen bases is the thing people bring up all the time... But I can't tell you how many times, by running the bases hard, we forced the other team into mistakes. We're going to continue to be aggressive."
--Ron Gardenhire, Twins manager

"I think we're going to look back at the end of the year and say he was a huge find... He does a lot of things to help a team win. He was always a pest to me. He'd get a big knock to beat you. He's a tough out because he uses the whole field."
--Art Howe, Mets manager, on Rey Sanchez

"I've watched Ordonez hit just about every day and I'm thinking seriously about hitting him second. He'll get a lot better pitch selection than when he did when he was hitting 8th for the Mets. He should be able to bunt and hit and run."
--Piniella, on shortstop and HACKING MASS All-Star Rey Ordonez

EVERY PITCHER TELLS A STORY

"I haven't talked with Skip yet... We have a good relationship. I expect to be monitored. I also expect to be respected for my honesty if I feel good. I understand I'll be monitored for a little while. But come a month into the season or so, and I ain't showing signs of decline, then I think the monitoring should be thrown out of the window."
--A.J. Burnett, Marlins pitcher and fan of the Charles Bronson series Deathwish

"You have to be awake the first six innings to be a starter."
--Miguel Batista, Diamondbacks starter, on the difference between starting and relieving

"The good thing about having Randy... was that every time I had a team meeting, I had it before the games Randy pitched. That way, they'd say, 'Boy, that skipper is a smart guy.'"
--Lou Piniella, Devil Rays manager, on former Mariner Randy Johnson

"Left-handers get away with murder... When Mossy was with us last year, he balked 90 percent of the time."
--Terry Pendelton, Braves coach, on former Braves pitcher Damian Moss

BALLS & STRIKES

"Walks are harder than swinging the bat. I can swing the bat all day. But walks are harder because it wears you down. I'm on my feet all day. There's no down time. I have to train myself even harder because by the time the fifth or sixth inning comes, I'm burnt.
--Barry Bonds, Giants outfielder

"It is not an easy job to stand on your feet for four hours. It takes its toll on me. Then (when I'm in left field), the ball is hit in the gap and you guys say I'm two steps too slow. I'm like, 'No, I'm too tired.'"
--Bonds

"If you look at a top-10 list (of prospects), you're not going to say, 'Who are their guys that throw strikes?' That's not important at a young age because they think that strike stuff is going to come along... 'Yeah, he throws 95 mph, we'll teach him to throw strikes.' Or, 'We'll teach him how to throw other pitches.' Sometimes it just doesn't come around."
--Mike Bacsik, Mets pitcher

"And what you see is the guys who stay consistent, throwing strikes, staying healthy, able to locate different pitches, they kind of move up little by little, kind of sneaking through that radar. That's how I felt I did it."
--Bacsik

"You've seen me take batting practice. I hit a lot of homers. In games, for some reason, I can't... I'm going to try to not swing at pitches over my head, and in the dirt, and everywhere. We'll see how it works. If it doesn't, then I'll go back to swinging at everything."
--A.J. Pierzynski, Twins catcher

MAKING THE GRADE

"I was just happy to get out of there... It wasn't anything I'd done. They didn't want to play me anymore. They told me that. It wasn't like, 'OK, he stinks.' I hit .250 and had 7 errors. I hit over .370 my last 100 at-bats. They just didn't want me there."
--Royce Clayton, Brewers shortstop

"If somebody is going to release you for that, there are a lot of players going to be released during the season... They can make up anything they want. They can say whatever they want to say. I know in my mind, it wasn't performance-based. It was something different."
--Clayton

"Different people have different types of spring training... Some people have really good spring trainings, but you can't really run them up a flagpole and put them on top of the world. In other cases, some people may be slow starters. Each individual is different, so we take everything into account, and what they've done in the past is a real big factor."
--Grady Little, Red Sox manager

THE REST

"He hasn't done much in the last seven or eight days I guess. To use his quotes, he's been 'chillin.'"
--Stan Conte, Giants trainer, on outfielder Barry Bonds

"Missing a couple days isn't going to hurt. He was a couple days late last year. Pretty good year."
--Ken Macha, A's manager, on AL MVP Miguel Tejada being late for spring training

"People have emphasized that to be a good hitter you need to hit .300. That's what I've concentrated on."
--Shin-Soo Choo, Mariners outfield prospect

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