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March 6, 2005

The Week in Quotes

February 28-March 6

by John Erhardt

IN MY DAY, WE CHEATED, BUT NOT WITH STEROIDS

"Do you mean, how do I feel about being compared to a convicted criminal, who's in a deep financial hole, who lied about steroids when he was taking them, who's writing about history without having taken any notes, who references Ball Four in his book and misses the publication date by 10 years? That guy?"
--Jim Bouton, on having Jose Canseco's Juiced compared to his book Ball Four (Concord Monitor)

"Baseball has become a gross game presented in a gross manner with loud noises and advertising. There's nothing beautiful about it. Nothing contemplative. Baseball's beauty is its timelessness. There's no clock."
--Bouton

"But now when you walk into a ballpark you are blasted with advertising messages and a big TV set in centerfield. You don't listen for the crack of the bat. Now it's all about home runs. It's not about bunting or moving the runner over and all the little things. It's just a different game."
--Bouton

"A home run is now as boring as the dunk is in basketball."
--Bouton

"We would have taken them. Players will take anything they think makes them better. They need to be protected from themselves. That's the whole idea of a strong drug policy. It prevents any player from getting an advantage and then you don't feel you have to take them because the other guy is taking them."
--Bouton, on whether players in his day would have taken steroids if they were available

NONE SHALL PASS

"Our job is not to vote someone to the Hall of Fame, but to go through the voting process as it's defined. The objective isn't necessarily to vote someone in."
--Tom Seaver, commenting on the Veterans Committee's failure to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame for the second time in two tries (MLB.com)

"Election to the Hall of Fame has always been difficult. The Veterans Committee process gives players a second chance for consideration, but one must be reminded that each player on the ballot was considered for up to 15 years by the baseball writers."
--Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark

"The current process works by upholding the Hall of Fame's high standards for election."
--Clark

"Two years is too much to wait. A lot of players are 60 or 70 or so. You don't want to go to the Hall of Fame when you're dead. I told my wife very clear. If I'm dead and they put me in the Hall of Fame, don't go. They can eat it if they want. I want to go when I'm alive."
--potential Hall of Famer Tony Oliva, who received 45 votes, on having to wait until 2007 for the next Veterans Committee voting cycle

"They showed exactly that it's almost impossible to get into the Hall of Fame the way the system is right now."
--Oliva

"We hope that the next election will prove to be even more dynamic."
--Clark

MAKIN' THEIR WAY, THE ONLY WAY THEY KNOW HOW

"It's hard for us to contain ourselves, because this is a guy who represents and epitomizes excellence in his profession."
--Braves GM John Schuerholz, announcing the 4-year, $47 million extension Tim Hudson signed with the Braves (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"All along I knew this was the place I wanted to be. It was just a matter of getting together on a fair enough contract."
--Georgia native Tim Hudson, on the contract

"I think it will make me look a lot smarter. You can talk about him like you can talk about the great pitchers we've had here in the past. That's pretty good company."
--Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone

"Would my family be happy making $15 million or $16 million a year in a city where I'm not going to be able to see my kids, where I'm not going to be happy? It wasn't worth the risk. It's not like $11 1/2 [million] is peanuts. To me, it's fine."
--Hudson

"A talent like Hudson, you want to be able to lock him down. I liken it to locking down Doggie [Maddux] back in the day, 10 years ago. A guy with the kind of winning percentage and the kind of stuff, who's that young, you have to tie him up."
--Braves infielder/outfielder Chipper Jones

"No more hunting for me. Not with this contract. But I can go fishing."
--Padres pitcher and Alabama native Jake Peavy, on his new 4-year, $14.5 million contract (San Diego Union Tribune)

POTENTIAL MEANS YOU AIN'T DONE $%*@!#

"He has so much speed that he doesn't need to get such a big lead. That's what we were talking about. When you take a big lead like he had, you're focusing more on getting back than on stealing the base."
--new Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran, on teaching Jose Reyes to improve his base stealing (New York Daily News)

"I wanted to let him know that I'm here to help. I like to study pitchers. Guys who can steal bases have to take pride in what we do. We can't afford to get thrown out. Jose has great talent. For him it's all about experience."
--Beltran

"Obviously, John Buck is our guy behind the plate. But we see good offensive upside with [Justin] Huber. His bat is going to carry him."
--Royals GM Allard Baird, on catcher Justin Huber (Kansas City Star)

"We're not going to rule out the potential of him going behind the plate from time to time. It's just that we see the potential for an impact bat, and we want him to learn another position."
--Baird

"It helped me a lot, gave me a rhythm. I stayed back [on pitches] a lot better, so I kept doing it."
--Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, on his new batting stance where he waggles a bit (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

"Sometimes, he does get (the waggle) going too fast. I'd rather see him nice and easy with it. That's all he needs. I don't care what you do but do like to see some kind of rhythm with it."
--Brewers hitting coach Butch Wynegar, on Weeks' stance

"I actually labeled him a Randy Johnson from the right side with a Roger Clemens brain. He's actually got some things mentally going through his mind that he does not want even one hitter to get on base."
--Class A Kinston pitching coach Greg Hibbard, on Cleveland pitching prospect Adam Miller (MLB.com)

OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD

"If you're a stats guy, it's an easy target. I'm the first to admit, I feel I've underachieved the last few years. My power numbers haven't been where they should be. I should hit 20 home runs and 35 doubles every year. But I'm not going to jeopardize this team for the benefit of personal statistics."
--Angels first baseman Darin Erstad (Los Angeles Times)

"I know my power numbers are not on par [with other first basemen], but making productive outs is more important to me. The Moneyball approach is a different philosophy, a strong philosophy. I don't walk a ton, and my on-base percentage isn't as high as it should be. But I also roll about 30 ground balls a year to second base, getting runners to third."
--Erstad

"People just dismiss Burnitz - 'He strikes out a lot. He can't do this, he can't do that.' If you look at it objectively, he was sixth in the game in slugging percentage of people who struck out more than 120 times. He hit .307 with men on base. He hits left-handers well. He hit .287 with men in scoring position. To me, he's not striking out at the wrong times. The analysis is being done."
--Cubs GM Jim Hendry, on new right fielder Jeromy Burnitz, who ranked sixth in the game in the new SPPWSOMT120x statistic (Arlington Heights Daily Herald)

"You have to hit for average. That's what people get caught up in. There's only one Oakland A's team out there that really cares about on-base percentage. It looks better if you're hitting .300 and getting on base .320, than if you're hitting .260 and getting on base .360."
--Detroit outfielder Bobby Higginson, on how, in bizarro-world, .320 is better than .360 (Detroit News)

"I put myself in a better position to hit by being aggressive. Instead of assuming the pitch is going to be a ball, I'm assuming it's going to be a strike. I've been bad for a little while, so I needed to do something different."
--Higginson

"I'm not waiting around anymore. I'm hacking."
--Higginson

THE REST

"You'll have guys leaving tickets only for their wives and kids now. They consider it extra salary. It's not the union, major league baseball or the team. It's the IRS."
--Brewers third baseman and union representative Wes Helms, on the new IRS policy that taxes complimentary tickets that players leave at the gate for guests (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

"I don't think they have the team to go to the World Series now."
--Magglio Ordonez, on his old team, the White Sox (Chicago Sun-Times)

"Scott Podsednik, a lot of people don't know him, but this guy can play, man. He's going to hit .300 no matter what. He's going to steal 30, 40 bags no matter what. He's a big addition."
--Twins center fielder Torii Hunter, on Podsednik, who hit .244 last season

"If I could go back, we would have picked up that option and had him here for another season"
--Yankees GM Brian Cashman, on letting Jon Lieber go (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"If I end up closing, maybe I'll be a five-inning closer. But, no, Joe [Borowski] is feeling great and is healthy again. That's a big positive, and you have a guy like Chad Fox that depth definitely helps the bullpen a lot."
--Cubs closer candidate Ryan Dempster, on how the closer auditions are going (Chicago Tribune)

"It's nothing but a mole now. I've been hurt worse getting thrown out of a barn."
--Indians pitcher Kyle Denney, referring to his bullet wound scar he got when he was shot in the leg while sitting on the team bus in Kansas City (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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

Related Content:  Journal News,  The Who,  The Process

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