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December 16, 2013

The Week in Quotes

December 9-15

by Nick Bacarella and Chris Mosch


REACTIONS TO PROPOSED HOME PLATE COLLISION BAN

“The way these catchers are getting speared, they don’t have a chance. I think it’s better to be proactive before we carry a guy off the field paralyzed and think, ‘Why didn’t we change this rule?’ ”
—Giants manager and former MLB catcher Bruce Bochy, on Major League Baseball’s proposal to ban home plate collisions in 2014. (Tyler Kepner, New York Times)

“When I was growing up as a kid in Philadelphia, it was a badge of honor. You were expected to hang in at the plate, and the runner was expected to do everything he could to tag the plate. We’re going back 40 years ago, but the mind-set has changed a bit.”
—Angels manager and former catcher Mike Scioscia.

“I got knocked out at home plate. I’ve been dizzy. Chili Davis absolutely hit me the hardest, no doubt, and I managed to find a way to our dugout. Jack Clark helped me at home plate; I needed some help being taken off the field. I don’t remember those, to be honest with you.”
—Scioscia.

“But I think it’s going to be good. Instead of running toward the catcher, and try to (force) the ball out of his glove—which if you see those plays, it's maybe once out of 10 plays the ball leaves the catcher's mitt — when that rule comes, catchers will now be more protected. The game is going to be better.”
—Former catcher Ivan Rodriguez. (Christian Red, New York Daily News)

“I am a little bit old school in the sense that I don’t want to turn home plate into just another tag play. This is a run. This is the difference between possibly making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. It should matter a little bit more. In my mind, I’d love to see something that if there’s a collision, any hit above the shoulders, maybe the runner is out. I don’t know how it’s going to pan out.”
—Tigers manager and former catcher Brad Ausmus.

“What are they going to do next, you can’t break up a double play? You’re not allowed to pitch inside. The hitters wear more armor than the Humvees in Afghanistan. Now you’re not allowed to try to be safe at home plate? What’s the game coming to? Evidently the guys making all these rules never played the game of baseball.”
Pete Rose. (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

LEGENDARY TRIO RECEIVE BASEBALL’S GREATEST HONOR

“I haven't had goose bumps in a long time. I got them this morning when I got the call. I've still got them. It's a funny feeling. It's the greatest honor you can have in baseball."
Bobby Cox, on being elected to the Hall of Fame. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

“It was one of those things where it worked almost in reverse, because guys had so much respect for him. Veteran players knew you had some leeway that young players didn’t have, but very seldom would guys take advantage of it, because there would be that sense of guilt. Almost like you were trying to put one over on your dad. We all know that feeling when you were a kid and you did something and your dad said, ‘I’m disappointed.’ It was kind of the same way with Bobby.”
—Former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine, on how Cox would let the players police themselves for the most part. (David O’Brien, Atlanta Journal Constitution)

“He was a big part of the culture in the turnaround for the Braves. We were all mindful of not only the team we had and the success we had, but what we had in Bobby. Guys on other teams used to always say, ‘What’s it like paying for Bobby?’ ‘I would love to play for Bobby.’ ”
—Glavine.

“Mr. Torre is like a second father to me. I learned so much from him, but what sticks with me the most is the way he treated everyone with respect and fairness. In my opinion, it was his greatest attribute. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”
—Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on Joe Torre being elected to the Hall of Fame. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)

“I'm so excited for Joe. In many ways, he was the pulse of all those championship teams. The one thing about Joe is that he never panicked, and that type of calm demeanor allowed us to go out and do the things we were capable of doing. He was a great teacher and father figure to all of us.”
—Former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.

“I watched (the press conference) on TV, and Tony wasn’t smiling. I kept waiting. I would be jumping around, yelling, dancing. But it’s like the message. Direct. That’s Tony. It will sink in soon what this means. It’s going to hit him when he’s with family just what he’s done. It’s what a great career deserves.”
—Angels first baseman and former Cardinal Albert Pujols, on Tony La Russa being elected to the Hall of Fame. (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“So well-deserved. I owe a lot to him. I owe my career to him. … A lot of guys would come into our team and wonder why is this guy so intense? It didn’t work for some players. But, look, there’s a reason why he kept winning every year. The game has really evolved because of Tony. And there he is now, at the very top of the game, as high as you can go, in the Hall of Fame, where he belongs.”
Mark McGwire, who played for La Russa in Oakland and St. Louis.

RUSSELL WILSON FALLING WAY BACK IN THE DRAFT

“Our scouts brought the idea. We always talk about, not just in baseball, the great leaders, the great innovators, coaches, guys with elite level work ethic. We've used Bill Walsh a lot [as an example]. One of the guys the last couple of years we talk to our scouts about, the kind of makeup we're looking for, the type of work ethic, what wins: Russell Wilson. You read about this guy and hear people talk about him. He's off the charts in character and focus.”
—Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, on selecting former Rockies second baseman and current NFL quarterback Russell Wilson in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. (Richard Justice, MLB.com)

“At the end of the day, he obviously has a lot bigger things that he's working on right now and we don't want to interrupt that aspect of it, but if at some point down the road he decides he wants to do the baseball thing again, we felt like it would be a positive to have him with us.”
—Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller. (Richard Durrett, ESPN.com)

TWITTER

THE REST

“A lot of the people I've met in New York have always said that, 'True New Yorkers are Mets fans.' So I'm excited to get a chance to see them all out there.”
Curtis Granderson, after being introduced by the Mets at a news conference at the Winter Meetings. (Byran Hoch, MLB.com)

“With the number of rumors you hear—I was at dinner last night, and somebody texted me that we had acquired Matt Kemp… We never, ever have had a conversation with the Dodgers about Matt Kemp.”
—Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, on the boundless speculation that is the MLB offseason. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

The last four offseasons I've had some kind of surgery or injury that I've been rehabbing through, and this year I didn't have to deal with any of that. Seems like the season ends, something happens and I go into rehab from October until December and I don't really get that real big strength base and the training that I need. This year has been so much better mentally and physically, to be able to spend time with my family and get back into my regular training routine.”
Justin Morneau, who finalized his two-year contract with the Rockies on Friday. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)

I'll have to get more than two bats for Interleague this year—maybe even a bat bag”
Brett Anderson, after being traded by the Athletics to the Rockies on Tuesday. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)

“It's pretty obvious that Arizona made a very strong commitment as far as bringing me over and ended up trading some very good talent in order to acquire me. That says a lot. For me as a player, you always want to go where you're wanted and give your best effort for somebody who's made some sacrifices to get you.”
Mark Trumbo, on being acquired by the Diamondbacks as part of a three-team deal on Tuesday. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)

“This club is in a decent spot. We had a tremendous second half and certainly didn't do it at full strength. We get guys healthy, that's an improvement, in my mind. If we have Matt Kemp for a full season? He was one of the best players in the game. If Zack [Greinke] doesn't break a collarbone and miss five to six weeks, if we stay away from the major things, we'll be better than we were and we were good enough to win the division and get to Game 6 of the LCS.”
—Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who indicated earlier this week that the organization is focusing on adding starting infield and bullpen depth rather than chasing a frontline starting pitcher. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)

“You don't see many Robinson Canos on our roster right now. We have few guys that play every day. The other guys know coming in they have to do some things well to get the at-bats. And if that starts out in a platoon role, they seem to buy into the team concept and deal with that.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin on employing platoons and being able to get the most out of his players. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)

“We think he's going to be on the roster. One of the reasons the baseball people signed Jacoby Ellsbury is the two of them together present a tremendous dynamic one-two or nine-one, whatever Joe Girardi decides to write in at the top of the lineup… One will play left, one will play center, and it's a tremendous defensive situation. So no, there's absolutely no intention to move Brett Gardner. We get inquiries about every single one of our players all the time, [Cashman] listens, but there's no attempt here to trade or move Brett Gardner.”
—Yankees team president Randy Levine. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

“Look, this is a situation where you don’t know who’s chasing who. Me, like you guys, all we got to do is wait. If he gets suspended at some point, he will learn his lesson, and he will figure that he got suspended for a reason. If he doesn’t, go back and play baseball, man. We go back and give the fans what they want to see, us putting up a show.”
—Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, urging the media to pay less attention to the ongoing dispute between Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and MLB. (Christian Red, New York Daily News)

“It’s not just the size. It’s the ability of the player. People forget Jeter is 6-2, even a little closer to 6-3. A-Rod was a pretty good shortstop, and he’s a big guy… Cal Ripken was pretty big. It’s all in the flexibility and the lateral quickness and movement of the guy… Generally, when I saw Bogaerts, I was watching him on a routine ground ball at third base. Most third basemen sit there and let the ball come to them… I saw him really work his feet to get around the ball, to catch the ball in rhythm. Matter of fact, I said right there, ‘There’s your shortstop.’”
—Former Reds shortstop and current MLB Network analyst Barry Larkin, on his confidence in Xander Bogaerts’s bright future at shortstop, despite his larger-than-average size. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“Detroit has a history of winning. I’m a winner and I want to win.”
—Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis, explaining his attraction to his new team. Davis signed a two-year deal earlier this week. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“My point was that baseball, collectively, to protect the game, to protect the market, and you have a product that is so successful and the market is not responding to it, what is the reason? The reason is not the performance of the franchise or the players. The reason has to be there’s a dynamic operating here that is not consistent with what other markets do in baseball … Clearly if you win and you’re successful, your fan base rewards. So my suggestion of New Jersey or Montreal or somewhere ... The idea is for the betterment of the game. I think we have to look at markets that aren’t rewarding playing the game at a high level.”
—Sports agent Scott Boras, outlining potential solutions to the Tampa Bay Rays’ consistently low attendance rates. (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)

“Getting Nori allowed us to move Gordo into the middle. The success of our team is going to depend the current group that we have getting better.”
—Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on how the team’s acquisition of Norichika Aoki from the Brewers allows them to bolster the middle of their lineup: manager Ned Yost plans to move leftfielder Alex Gordon down to the fifth spot in the batting order. Gordon led off for Kansas City for the majority of 2013. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)

“You start bordering on self righteousness when everybody sits up on a horse and starts looking down on people for the decisions they've made. But we'd all like to see the game cleaned up, absolutely. But also to realize once again we don't know the entire stories of people. I'm not one that's going to be standing up and pointing my finger beyond what the judgments are that have been put on him.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, on forgiving shortstop Jhonny Peralta for his past PED suspension. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)

Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here
Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here

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