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March 15, 2004

The Week in Quotes

March 8-14

by Ryan Wilkins

AFTERNOON CONSTITUTIONAL (A.K.A., THE DUSTY BAKER QUOTE EXTRAVAGANZA BEGINS)

"I think walks are overrated unless you can run... If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps. But the guy who walks and can't run, most of the time they're clogging up the bases for somebody who can run."
--Dusty Baker, Cubs manager (Chicago Daily Herald)

"Who's been the champions the last seven, eight years? ...Have you ever heard the Yankees talk about on-base percentage and walks? Walks help. But you ain't going to walk across the plate. You're going to hit across the plate. That's the school I come from."
--Baker

"It's called hitting, and it ain't called walking. Do you ever see the top 10 walking? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk. But the name of the game is to hit."
--Baker

"I've got to be selective... I know I've got to be that way at the plate and look for a pitch to drive. I can't keep going up there thinking I can hit everything."
--Randall Simon, Pirates infielder (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

"I've got to start focusing more on getting the right pitch to hit... If I've got to take a walk, I'll take it. Sometimes, I have to do that. In the past, pitchers wouldn't come at me, and I'd help get myself out. It wasn't the pitchers getting me out. I was getting myself out. I have to change that."
--Simon

"The pitchers weren't coming at me because they knew if they threw bad pitches, I'd swing at them... I've got to start being intelligent at the plate and taking my walks. Maybe pitchers will look at me differently."
--Simon

PAGING WILL CARROLL...

"Sooner or later, somebody is going to get hurt, and then they are going to blow it all out of proportion... But go back and look at the overall picture. For a guy who is supposed to have run pitchers into the ground, look around and see our track record of how healthy our pitchers have stayed. Who has had healthier pitchers?"
--Baker, on his handling of young pitchers (Chicago Sun-Times)

"I'm really tired of people always picking at what I don't do... There's a whole bunch of them out there that haven't done what I have done. I don't pay no attention to that criticism. Why don't people leave me alone? Why do they always talk [bleep] on me?"
--Baker

"People [always] have been trying to bring me down. Very rarely do I hear what I have done. That's OK, that's how it is. Actually, that makes me stronger. It's OK. What are you going to say when I kick somebody's [rear]?"
--Baker

"You are damned if you do, damned if you don't. But you can't take away the fact that I've won. For the people who aren't down here doing our job, it's easy to sit up there and type the stuff over the computer. They say, 'Don't stick with your starters as long,' but when you bring in this guy or that guy, it's 'Why did you bring him in?'"
--Baker

BY THE NUMBERS -OR- HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE DUSTY BAKER

"The statistical analysis is something to factor in... When you see a guy in the dugout day in and day out or you're at every game, like we are, you know whether a guy can help you when it counts or not. We're probably more of the old, pure, go by our scouts, go by our coaches, go by our manager's gut feeling and try to make the right decisions."
--Jim Hendry, Cubs general manager (Chicago Daily Herald)

"When you manage against a guy or you coach against a guy or you have him in your dugout all the time, you know a lot of things already than just pure numbers can tell you."
--Hendry

"Sometimes numbers can be deceiving... Take a guy like (outfielder) Tom Goodwin. I don't think Goody's numbers over time are such that his pure stats are something you'd marvel at. But we all know down the stretch last year when it counted, he got a lot of big hits, ran the bases great, made some great plays and did the little things that don't show up in stats."
--Hendry

"Sometimes, somebody has to make a decision or collectively you make a decision whether guys are winners or not. Numbers alone can't give you that."
--Hendry

"I look at runs scored, runs knocked in, when the runs are knocked in, man on third, and one-out RBIs and two-out RBIs."
--Hendry, on what are the most important offensive statistics (Chicago Daily Herald)

"It depends where he is in the order... If he's in the top one or two, the most important stat is runs scored and on-base percentage. For your third, fourth and fifth hitter, it's RBIs and runs scored. And runners in scoring position, what your average is.
--Baker, on what are the most important offensive statistics (Chicago Daily Herald)

"Then, you hope again your seventh hitter is a good clutch man and drives in more than he scores. Your eighth hitter, you hope he drives in some key runs and scores fewer runs than he drives in. That's the guy where you need a higher on-base percentage because he gets the pitcher to the plate. That's my little-basics stuff."
--Baker

BEEFCAKE!

"Somebody definitely is guilty of taking steroids... You can't be breaking records hitting 200 home runs in three or four seasons. The greatest hitters in the history of the game didn't do that."
--Reggie Jackson, Yankees special assistant and Hall of Fame outfielder (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Henry Aaron never hit 50 in a season, so you're going to tell me that you're a greater hitter than Henry Aaron? ...Bonds hit 73 [in 2001], and he would have hit 100 if they would have pitched to him. I mean, come on, now. There is no way you can outperform Aaron and Ruth and Mays at that level."
--Jackson

"There is a reason why the greatest players of all time have 500. Then there is that group that is above 550. There is a reason for that. Guys played 19, 20, 25 years. They had 9,000 to 10,000 at-bats, and it was the same for everybody... Now, all of a sudden, you're hitting 50 when you're 40."
--Jackson

"The last I heard, (the illegal distribution of steroids and other drugs) was against the laws of the land... The players' association talks about 'my rights.' My rights? Do you have the right not to pay taxes? You do something wrong, you pay the penalty."
--Jackson

"That's outrageous. God didn't create stupid people. When you go on the air and say something like that, I've got to think Andy Van Slyke was born to be an idiot."
--Julio Franco, Braves infielder, in response to Andy Van Slyke's accusation that he was on "the juice" (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

"Steroids are supposed to tear your body down... You're not supposed to be able to play a long time on steroids."
--Franco

"God has given me a gift to play for a long time. If it was up to me, I still wouldn't be playing. But God has put me here for a purpose."
--Franco

"I am on the juice. The juice of Jesus of Nazareth."
--Franco

"Heck, no. I quit (taking tests) years ago, thanks to Mr. (Al) Rosen, (San Francisco general manager) Al Rosen told them to leave me alone, and that was in my first year of coaching. That's all I want to say about it... I was part of the decision that came down. That's why I said what I said earlier about McCarthyism. I know what I was talking about without going into detail. I shouldn't have to."
--Baker (MLB.com)

THE REST

"I loved the Wells pickup... I mean, I looked over at him in the clubhouse the other day and it was like seeing myself. Everybody always counts out the bald, fat dude, and yet we're always there at crunch time. Only thing is, David's lost about 30 pounds. He's a mini-me."
--Rod Beck, Padres reliever, on new Padre David Wells (San Francisco Chronicle)

"I'm always sensitive to owners pounding on owners."
--Bud Selig, MLB Commissioner (San Francisco Chronicle)

"You know, the territorial situation is what it is. I've described it in the past and it's no different today. We have internal rules and the internal rules are essential to running the game. If you don't have internal rules, you have anarchy."
--Selig, on the territorial rights situation between the A's and Giants (Contra Costa Times)

"I think (outfielder Juan Pierre) probably contributed to many wins (to the World Champion Marlins) that you don't even see-balls he got in the gap... That's what Mike Cameron is going to do. He's going to make (left fielder) Cliff Floyd a better outfielder. He's going to make our right fielders better."
--Fred Wilpon, Mets owner (Springfield News Sun)

"I'm just going to let everyone keep riding that out and keep stocking all those boxes in one cart. When we come back around to the grocery store again, maybe we'll have some other things we're going to put in there. I'm not just a defensive specialist-I'm a baseball player."
--Mike Cameron, Mets outfielder (Springfield News Sun)

"I'm a big fan of a three-run home run, but we're not a team that can wait for that. We're going to be aggressive at the plate, on the bases, and try to pick up runs here and there. It seems to work. We've been up there in runs scored, without having 30-, 40-home run guys."
--Ron Gardenhire, Twins manager (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

"Steinbrenner knows what he's doing, you can't hate that guy. He spends the money. I don't hate him. We've got other owners who could do the same thing, but they don't want to be like Steinbrenner."
--Torii Hunter, Twins center fielder, on Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (New York Times)

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