March 3, 2003
The Week in Quotes
February 17-March 2BUILDING 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."
"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.
"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."
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."
"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."
"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."
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."
"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.'"
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.
"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.'"
"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."
"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."
"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."
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."
"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."
"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."