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September 13, 2004
The Week in Quotes
September 6-12FLOODGATES, OPEN
"The comments he made, I think they were unprofessional, because I was doing my job.... The only reason I did it is because he would do the same if he was on my side. And I didn't make it a big deal because it was Mr. Wetteland coaching first base. If it was somebody else coaching first, I will make a big deal about it because that's the rules. I think you can call up people to be on your coaching staff, but you can't have them on the field."
"Even after the game, I forgot about it. Now all a sudden they come up with his comments and I think it's unprofessional. But when the 'best manager' in the history of baseball talks about you, that means you're on somebody's mind. And when you're beating the crap out of the best manager in baseball, and we beat the (bleep) out of them, it makes me feel a lot better."
"To me, I think [Atlanta skipper] Bobby Cox was the best.... To compete against the guy [Showalter] that invented baseball, and beat him, that's something you should feel good about as a rookie manager."
"I could have made a big deal about it, but I was professional enough because I respect the guy that was coaching first base.... Wetteland did something in the big leagues. [Showalter] never even smelled a jock in the big leagues. He didn't even know how the clubhouse in the big leagues was when he got his first job...'Mr. Baseball' never even got a hit in Triple-A. He was a backup catcher or a first baseman all his career. Now all of the sudden he's the best ever in baseball."
"He told somebody he didn't like me because I have too much fun in baseball. I have fun in baseball because I was good playing this game. And I made a lot of money playing this game...something he never did. And I have a championship ring on my finger. He made comments he's not supposed to be making about anybody."
"It's too bad I didn't have to go to the minor leagues to get this job like he did. I was coaching straight up in the big leagues. I was a big-league coach and I went straight to big-league manager. Ozzie Guillen had to do something to take those steps. I only played two, three years in the minor leagues and played 14 years with the same team."
TEN YEARS LATER
"I would hope we continue to learn, but in baseball we have not done a good job learning from the past.... We need to continue to inspect history so we don't make the same mistakes again."
"As long as you have the system of labor relations that's created in the United States, it's always possible.... In reality, the 1994-95 experience has produced a change in our relationship [with the players] that makes the likelihood of it reoccurring much less."
"[H]ow tough it was bringing the sport back. It's taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I hope the lesson learned by all parties is that we need to solve our problems quietly and sensibly. Our fans don't want to hear about this from either side."
"There were a lot of new ballparks. A change in the economic system was critical because it created much more competitive balance...the wild card and interleague play have worked.... The game is still the best game ever invented."
"I'm going to be honest with you...I don't want him to do it here at home. I'm sorry for the fans. I'm sorry for baseball. But that's the way it is. In this game, you have to have a lot of pride. And the way this year has gone for us, this would be the last thing that we need."
"It's a lot...only part of it is strategy. The biggest part of it is fear. And then there's the discipline of the guy. He doesn't swing at bad pitches."
"I guess we just have a sense of calm and confidence here now.... When I was playing baseball, I used to look at Kirby Puckett and see how relaxed he was and think, 'It must be nice to know you'll get a hit every time.' I don't think we feel like we'll always be right, but we'll eventually figure it out."
"Our philosophy is about taking advantage of undervalued players. One day, it might be on-base percentage. Another day, it might be guys that steal bases. We have to find gaps in the market."
"This season is really a credit to Billy...I'm not surprised by what they've done because Billy has no fear. He is never afraid to think outside the box. There was a demand for excellence this year, not a wish, not a hope, but a demand. I don't think people realize how difficult it was to build that team with those market dollars."
NUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET, I'M A POWER PACK
"For a short-term goal, I reached it...But coming back and looking at it from a long-term (view), you always hear that baseball is a marathon, not a sprint, and I think I'll be happy when I look back 10 years from now, 15 years from now if I stay healthy all those years. Then I'll pat myself on the back."
"It was a very special inning.... We've been waiting to see him, and we saw him. He thrilled us all and he was very good. He was at the top of the highlight list for us, and there were a lot of them."
"I'm just real excited for him...more so than I am for the team. But watching him pitch, I'm excited for the team now as well. That's a huge addition. But the first thing was, I just wanted for him to have the gratification of getting back here and making pitches. And that's exactly what he did. Now, let's go with it. The focus changes."
"I just know our team.... We played handicapped for most of the first half. I said it before-those other teams can't do what we can do, which is win when you're not at full strength...When we had guys go down, we had players like Lew Ford step in. And Lew is good enough to be a starter for a lot of teams."
"I don't see the relevance....I care about what I care about. Nobody respects the game more than me. Our guys may look a little goofy, but they try hard to play the game right. If this were the Boy Scouts, maybe we'd try to get medals by having them cut their hair or tuck their shirts in. But this is their personality. Why take it away?"