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February 21, 2005

The Week in Quotes

February 13-20

by John Erhardt

SPRINGTIME FOR SELIG AND COMPANY, FLORIDA'S A FINE LAND ONCE MORE

"It's like when you're waiting for Christmas. You know how the anticipation builds? That's the way he is when he's waiting for spring training. He gets so excited. When you're going to spring training, all things are possible."
--Carol Garner, wife of Houston manager Phil Garner, on how her husband feels about spring training (Houston Chronicle)

"If you are a true baseball fan, spring training is one of the most enjoyable times to watch baseball. The players are more relaxed. ... It brings back memories of the first year it looked like Phil might make the major-league team."
--Garner

"The first time [you have a chance to break camp in the majors], it's really a magnificent event. To see how they respond, that's pretty magical."
--Garner

"Spring training's always special. It's special because it's the start of something good, every year something to look forward to."
--Braves manager Bobby Cox (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"I told them to work hard and get ready for a championship season."
--Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella, on his opening message to players (St. Petersburg Times)

THEY'RE TWINS, BUT NOT IDENTICAL TWINS, IF YOU GET MY MEANING

"I'm happy that we've finally got something done. We worked hard on it, and it works out for everybody. I'll be a Twin for four more years."
--reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana on his new four-year contract, worth about $40 million (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"Our pitching has been strong the last few years. When you have a guy who is left-handed and is coming off a big year, you can do away with all the questions in your rotation."
--Twins GM Terry Ryan, somehow making "a big year" function as a tremendous understatement

"It was a long process but a professional process. I want to compliment both sides."
--Ryan

"You think he's going to be different just because he got a four-year deal? He's going to be the same old guy. He just might be driving a nicer car...or two cars."
--Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson, on how the new contract will change Santana

"It feels pretty good to win a case. It justifies why you went out there."
--Twins pitcher Kyle Lohse, on winning his arbitration case. He'll be paid $2.4 million in 2005

"In the past, I was kind of disappointed that we had to renew and had to have this case heard. But you've heard me say it 100 times; these were separate issues and I wasn't going to let them affect me."
--Lohse, on being re-upped for barely more than the league minimum the last two years

THE RED SOX HAVE A BURN BOOK WHERE THEY WRITE ALL THESE MEAN THINGS ABOUT THE YANKEES

"I don't like the Yankees. I don't think anybody does, except the Yankees."
--new Boston reliever Matt Mantei, on the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry (New York Post)

"[A-Rod] said he's doing [an intense workout] while 600 players are still in their bed. I said, 'What's wrong with me taking my kid to school? I'm not a deadbeat dad, you clown.'"
--Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, on comments Alex Rodriguez made earlier this month about his six-hour workout that begins at 6 a.m. (Boston Herald)

"I work out for three hours in the weight room, and I hit for another two or three hours [later in the day]. What makes you so much better?"
--Nixon

"He said the next time, [instead of slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hands] he's going to run him over. It's like, OK. You're a clown."
--Nixon

"He's done some great things on the field. He's one of the best baseball players in the game, and probably will be when it's all said and done. But when people ask me about the Yankees, I tell them about Jeter and Bernie Williams and Posada. I don't tell them about Rodriguez."
--Nixon, on Rodriguez and his place in the Yankee hierarchy

"When you talk about the Yankee organization, it's Derek Jeter, Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams. The rest of us are just the supporting cast."
--Yankee reliever Mike Stanton, saying basically the same thing Nixon did (The New York Times)

CATCHER NUMBER ONE: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN YOUR YEARS OF EXPERIENCE?

"I'd say a majority of the guys who strap on the gear are willing to play with pain, or else you're going to lose your job. Bob Boone used to say, 'The longer I'm out there, the less somebody else is.' If you're able to do that, it allows you to create accountability. People can count on me being out there. The more durable I can make myself, the more I've improved my worth to my teammates."
--Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek (Boston Globe)

"I wish I had a formula. Everybody is different. I get to know them as pitchers, get to know what they can and can't do. That's my first job. Sometimes you don't know until they get out on the mound. Then you have to figure out how they're wired in that same process. Then you get them back out there again, and you want to see them be successful. You also want to see them fail. Then you know what you have."
--Varitek

"I still have the ball they gave me. It's a mess. [Bret] Saberhagen covered it with ketchup, mustard, all kinds of stuff. It was a joke ball. I've got the real one, too."
--Varitek, on the ball teammates gave him after his first big-league hit in 1998

"You have to read umpires like human beings. Some umpires ask about a pitch often. Some umpires are too prideful and never ask. I know we're in for a long day with that guy. I just try to be as honest as I can. An umpire will ask, 'What did you think about that pitch?' And I'll say, 'It was a ball,' even if he had just called it a strike. I'm honest. I think it works in relationships. Then they know if I'm really arguing a pitch, that I really believe they missed it."
--Varitek

"I tell umpires, 'I'm going to call time out a lot today because Curt's ankle is really killing him. I'm going to go out to the mound a lot. I'll run back and forth, but don't come out there and yell at me.'"
--Varitek

CATCHER NUMBER TWO: HOW LIMBER WOULD YOU BE IF I ASKED YOU TO SQUAT FOR 130 GAMES?

"The toughest part was not playing, sitting on the bench. I sat on the bench way too long. Just playing baseball again is enough motivation for me."
--Twins catcher Joe Mauer, on being back behind the plate after missing most of 2004 with a knee injury (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

"I just want to stay healthy, play a full year and prove to everyone that the knee is fine. Hopefully, I won't run into any problems."
--Mauer

"He's got the capability of being one of our best players. You can't point a player to that extreme when they have just 35 games under their belt, but he has a high ceiling."
--Twins GM Terry Ryan, on Mauer

CATCHER NUMBER THREE: IF I SAID YOU WERE HANDSOME, AND THEN CHOSE ANOTHER CATCHER, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?

"There are 29 other teams in this league. I don't expect to be traded. I don't want to be traded. At the same time, you never know. I'm going to try to be the best I can, and who knows? I might be out of here before the three years, or I might have to wait three years. I don't really know. All I can know is I'm ready to go and prove that I'm ready to play every day."
--Giants catcher Yorvit Torrealba, on how it feels to be Mike Matheny's backup after Matheny was signed to a three-year deal (San Francisco Chronicle)

"I preferred to be with somebody else who gave me an opportunity to play. Obviously, it was a mistake. I was angry about the news. I realize that there's no reason for me to be traded. I've been here my whole life, even in the minor leagues. I'm just looking forward to playing every day. That's all."
--Torrealba

MAY YOU BOTH BE AS SUCCESSFUL FROM HERE ON OUT AS YOU HAVE BEEN UP UNTIL NOW

"I felt it was time. I'm OK with not playing. It wasn't a gut-wrenching decision. I've been prepared for this. The last month of the season got me ready."
--Barry Larkin, on his recent retirement after 19 years with the Reds (Cincinnati Enquirer)

"I didn't feel like I could commit [to playing for another team] after being with one organization so long."
--Larkin

"Every team Barry's been associated with he's made better. Every player he's touched has developed faster. He brings so much to the table as a leader and a winner. Our franchise is in much better shape with him in the front office."
--Nationals GM Jim Bowden, on having Barry Larkin in his front office

"I'm 99 percent sure. If I get a wild hair about coming back, and six or eight months from now I pick up a ball and feel good again, I might think about it. But that's probably not going to happen."
--former Giant Robb Nen, on deciding to retire after being out for two years with arm trouble (San Francisco Chronicle)

"I don't have any regrets about anything I did at any time. I may regret some pitches, how I pitched to somebody, but as for pitching, I'd have done things the same way now. For me, I played this game to win and go to the World Series."
--Nen, on whether he regrets shutting it down in 2002

"For me, this is incredibly disappointing because it's my job, our job, to get the players back on the field, and we couldn't get the right combination."
--Giants trainer Stan Conte, on Nen

"He's such a great human being and, I can't say this about many people in baseball, a very good friend. You want to use your skills to get the guy back because he deserves it more than anybody else, and you couldn't do it. I would have given anything to see him back on the mound one more time."
--Conte

"With spring training starting and me not being there, that's the tough part. When I decided a couple of weeks ago, I was kind of waiting for it after two years of rehabilitating it, and people telling me it was not a good situation. At that point, I kind of told myself it wasn't going to happen."
--Nen

THE REST

"I think if you're not ready for New York and Boston, it's going to be tough because the media is going to eat you up. Look at Kenny Rogers. The media ate him up. Ed Whitson? They ran him out. A lot of these writers feel they have power to bury you. If you're smart enough, and don't look into it that much, you'll be all right."
--David Wells, on the media pressures Randy Johnson will face in New York (Boston Herald)

"I need to get down here early so all you media guys can say I'm being a good leader."
--Braves outfielder/third baseman Chipper Jones, on why he showed up early for Spring Training (Atlanta Journal-Constituion)

"I'm 30. When you turn 30, all of a sudden from your toenails to your earlobes things start to hurt. I changed my way of going about it. I had never done anaerobic stuff where you go hard for a minute and a half, get a 10-second break, then go hard."
--Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, on changing his conditioning program as he's gotten older (Boston Globe)

"Where's my MVP? [Canseco]'s an admitted steroid user. I was clean. If they're going to start putting asterisks by things, let's put one by the MVP. I do have a problem with losing the MVP to an admitted steroid user."
--former Red Sox player Mike Greenwell, on reassessing the 1988 AL MVP balloting. Greenwell finished second to Canseco.

"Very borderline. He hurt himself by playing as long as he did."
--announcer Marty Brennaman, on Barry Larkin's Hall of Fame chances. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

"He gave up 40 home runs last year and we play in a homer park."
--Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, on why he didn't go after Eric Milton (Toronto Sun)

John Erhardt is an editor of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

John Erhardt is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

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Premium Article Team Health Reports: H... (02/18)
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The Week in Quotes: Fe... (02/14)
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The Week in Quotes: Fe... (02/27)
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Premium Article Prospectus Roundtable:... (02/21)

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