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April 26, 2004

The Week in Quotes

April 19-25, 2004

by Ryan Wilkins

DUSTY + PITCH COUNTS = TWIQ GOLDMINE

"[Kerry Wood]'s approaching the threshold of the great pitchers who don't really need a closer in the ninth. It'd been hell taking Ferguson Jenkins out of that game (Saturday) or Bob Gibson or (Sandy) Koufax or Curt Schilling or Randy Johnson or Dave Stewart or Roger Clemens back in his day."
--Dusty Baker, Cubs manager, on Kerry Wood's 131-pitch outing against the Reds (MLB.com)

"That's a situation where you're trying to have Woody get to another point in his career where he can close his own games... He was still throwing 97, 98 miles an hour."
--Baker

"When I start every game, I expect to finish it. If I have 125 going into the eighth or ninth, obviously I'm not going to finish the game. If I'm at 100, 110 (pitches) going into the ninth then I feel like I should physically be able to finish the game."
--Kerry Wood, Cubs pitcher, on his outing against the Reds (MLB.com)

"It was frustration that happened at the end there where hopefully soon Woody will make that close-out pitch. That's what I'm trying to get him to."
--Baker

"I'm trying to get these guys to a point where they've never been before... It was going to be hard to bring in anybody else who was throwing better than Woody."
--Baker

"Rick Sutcliffe, when he was here, he would've killed you if you took him out that game."
--Baker

"I hate [pitch counts featured on the scoreboard] more than anything because I'm up there looking. I don't ask. I don't need to know."
--Wood

"If you don't do it, he'll never get there. You have no chance of him ever knowing what it's like to be there unless you give him the opportunity. Are you risking the game? Yes. But you're risking the game no matter who you bring in anyway. You've got to give the young man a chance, especially the way he was throwing."
--Baker, on leaving Wood in the game

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

"We pushed him through to 83 pitches for obvious reasons and there's no way he was going further... Otherwise, if we don't have any regard for arms, we can pretend this is 1850 and let everybody go out there and throw 150 pitches every single day. And we'll just have one or two pitchers and we'll be OK."
--Eric Wedge, Indians manager (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

"Anybody who has any clue, who has any feel for the game, has to appreciate we had already taken Jake further than we wanted to... Anybody who doesn't understand is probably asking why C.C. Sabathia doesn't pitch every day and throw 150 pitches. I don't know why I'm talking about it. It's silly."
--Wedge

"He threw 24 pitches on April 14 and 10 days previous to that [April 6], he threw 71... That's as many pitches as he's thrown all year. To ask him to go beyond 70 or 75 pitches, at the most, is putting him in harm's way."
--Wedge

ACQUIRING INFORMATION

"There are things that we have tried to do with statistics but we didn't have the time or the intelligence that Jeff does in dealing with it. Now we have that at our disposal, and that's to our advantage."
--Walt Jocketty, Cardinals general manager, on statistical analyst Jeff Luhnow (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"'Moneyball' talked about looking at data in a different way about your players. From that perspective, we're on the same trajectory. I can't speak to the influence the book may have had on Bill or Walt or anybody else. Different teams have been doing different things long before last summer. I don't think it's necessarily something that's brand new. What's interesting is how data has become available at a level that facilitates this analysis. 'Moneyball' aside, this is coming."
--Jeff Luhnow, Cardinals director of baseball operations (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Some people will resist; some will accept it. But it's here. It's not going anywhere... Scouts used to do their job without a radar gun. Now every scout has one. I consider statistical analysis to be a tool just as important as a radar gun."
--Luhnow

"We're being more creative about obtaining information that assists us in acquiring players... My job is to find talent. We have our scouts out looking at players. Jeff and his staff will help us find a specific type of player or pitcher we may be looking for."
--Jocketty

"I think it's to the point now where you can't solely base it on a scout's evaluation alone for the simple reason that he might see a guy when he's real good, especially in a short period of time. Statistical data looks at a longer period of time."
--Jocketty

USING THAT INFORMATION

"It's all very doable... I have to be patient. I have to do it in a way that has the best chance of success, which means understanding where other people are coming from. There is going to be some resistance. I need to figure out how to work with those people who accept it and those who are more reluctant to prove its value. If I can make their job easier, they're going to want to use it."
--Luhnow, on facing resistance within the Cardinals organization

"If I can improve a scout's batting average from .200 to .300 by giving him some techniques and ways to think about things, he's going to want to use it. Now is the hardest time because you have to establish credibility. I've been through that before. I've had a lot of change programs."
--Luhnow

"It's easy to pick on any group of people by finding the least productive members and pointing out their deficiencies. (Scouts) are going to be able to do that about all these analytical people coming into baseball as well."
--Luhnow

"There will be people who do analysis well and there will be people who get it wrong. It's going to give everybody an opportunity to say, 'See, it doesn't work.'"
--Luhnow

"There are going to be lots of mistakes made along the way. Just because the data is available, doesn't mean it's always going to be interpreted properly. Sometimes information can point you in the wrong direction. Plus, it's a sport. There are so many things that can happen beyond what numbers say."
--Luhnow

"It would be irresponsible for a club to ignore all that data just to operate the same way they operated back in the '80s."
--Luhnow

"There is no way you can replace evaluating a player in person, especially at the amateur or international level... I don't think it's a battle between scouts and computers. I don't buy into that. There are opportunities for every club to do better in every area."
--Luhnow

QUOTES FROM THE KID

"What's funny is people who see me on the street come up to me and talk to me, and they're like, 'You're a totally different guy than what I thought you would be.' It's just the way things happen."
--Ken Griffey Jr., Reds outfielder (Cincinnati Post)

"I wanted to come to Cincinnati to sit at home? ...People don't realize how stressful and painful rehab is. 'Oh, he's just rehabbing.' Having to learn to lift your arm up, having to learn how to walk again. I had seven months of rehab, five days a week.
--Griffey

"People think of how frustrated they are in not being able to watch me play. My frustration level is probably 10 times more than that because I can't play. I mean, I've played this game since I was a little kid. I had a job for two weeks, but all the rest has been baseball.
--Griffey

"I run into walls, I dive, because that's a part of my makeup... That's how I was taught to play the game. So many guys are just so worried about their offense, and that's all that anyone worries about, is offensive numbers. I worry about my defense just as much as my offense. I take just as much pride in it."
--Griffey

"If I can't play the way I've always played, I don't want to waste my time or the organization's time or anybody else's time. I have to go out there and dive and have some fun."
--Griffey

THE REST

"Some guys are great defensive catchers, some are great offensively and some, like [Mike] Piazza are a combination of both."
--Jim Hendry, Cubs general manager, on Michael Barrett (Chicago Tribune)

"Frank got hurt and there was no 'Frank Thomas Watch.' Frank Thomas is way better than Prior, and he has done a lot more than Mark Prior. 'Prior Watch'? Wow. I mean, wow."
--Ozzie Guillen, White Sox manager (Chicago Sun-Times)

"It's hard enough for me to manage one team than to comment on another one. I've got enough stuff here. As much as I like Ozzie, I can't worry about what he says either. I find it strange that we don't say much about them, but they say things about us."
--Baker, on Guillen's comments (MLB.com)

Related Content:  Jeff Luhnow,  The Who,  The Week In Quotes,  Jeff Baker

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