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April 4, 2005
The Week in Quotes
March 28-April 3REJOINING SOCIETY
"And I miss looking that pitcher in the eye. I can't look my son in the eye when he's throwing me a Wiffle ball and say, 'I'm going to rip one off your forehead.'"
"Not that I need it, but I get that same adrenaline rush when I'm driving in to do a show. I never had that once coaching. So that's how I know this is my new direction."
"There's nothing to gear up for. I think a lot of guys a la Ken Caminiti, Pete Rose, guys who played like me ... I think they have the biggest trouble assimilating into regular society."
"That's stuff you, as a kid, dream about. So when you're up at the plate in a major-league setting, and they're chanting 'F.P., F.P., F.P,' it's almost like you step back and (think), I'm going to milk this."
"A lot of athletes base their self-worth, their identity, on being an athlete, being a professional, by the cars they drive, the house they have, by the material things they have. For me, it was never about that. I wasn't better than you because I was a baseball player. I was just a lot luckier."
"It means a lot to me. That's not just some chump change you're throwing around right there. I feel like I owe the organization whatever they want out of me now. I'm basically theirs."
"I feel like the organization is going in the right direction to win more games. I think the Tampa Bay area has a lot to look forward to because we're young and exciting and we're going to win games. I know right now things are not looking as well, but I feel that in time the talent will rise and we will have a winning team."
"It was not our goal just to sign and develop young men like Carl. It was to sign and develop them, get them to the major leagues and see them prosper and sign them to contracts like this."
"That's awesome that they took care of him pretty well. Now, I'm sure they'll take care of everyone else and get this thing rolling.''
"It's a very positive message to not only our major-league team, but our minor-league kids. Get up here and play well, and there's something waiting for you."
"It hasn't completely set in. It's a little weird. But I'm definitely excited."
"It made sense from our standpoint [to sign Harden]. He's a young kid with fantastic stuff. ... He'll be one of the top pitchers in the American League, if he's not already."
BUILDING VS. REBUILDING
"It's comparable to being a toddler, because the team is growing up. I think the reason to care is everyone is going to grow with the team as the team reaches success."
"First of all, it's a growing experience, and we have been making progress. You have to continuously improve. We have to be better this year than we were last year, and next year we have to be better than we are this year. It's a progressive upward slope. And as we progress upward, all things progress upward. Our sponsorships, our tickets, our player payroll."
"It's just a matter of what's burning inside of me. I've always said I'm my own judge. And I'm never going to be happy until we win."
"I've stayed away from the term 'rebuilding.' I think it's possible to do both [rebuild and compete]. I expect we're going to be a pain in the butt in the next few years, whether it's starting the first day of this season or in May. At some point, this is going to be a very, very good team."
"I never give away anything. I don't give away Instructional League games. As far as my private expectations, I'll leave them private. You're in the wrong sport if you go into the season and don't think you have a chance to do something special or to compete."
"I was excited during the winter. Nobody else was. The last couple of springs I didn't go to the games on the road. Now I try to catch every inning I can. It's been fun. It's exciting knowing we'll have these young players here for the next few years."
THAT OVERBEARING CALIFORNIA WORK ETHIC
"I've never had so many meetings - every day they tell you what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong."
"They're trying to get everyone to work as hard as they can during spring training, but a lot of the guys told me Mike [Scoscia] loosens up during the season. There's a lot of concern about what you're doing on the field here. They want perfection. That's good, because you want to have everyone on the same page."
"I got to Minnesota for my first game and started asking guys what the signs were [on defense] for a double steal. They said, 'The catcher just throws to second base.' But what about the sign from the catcher? 'The catcher will do a lot of stuff, but he just throws to second base.'"
"They didn't bunt, they didn't hit and run. We won a World Series with no signs. Then you come here, and it's a big difference. Here, you do what you're told."
"No. I'm going to make the Toronto Blue Jays pay every cent of my salary."
"To be released after four outings? What's four outings in the spring? Nothing. They can pay my gas money for my car, they can pay to fill up my 240-gallon tank for my 30-foot Pursuit, they can gas up my jet boat and our three jet skis."
"Not only are we going, but I'll be sitting with you and we'll be holding up signs reading 'Go Devil Rays!' "
YOU TRIED YOUR BEST AND YOU FAILED MISERABLY. THE LESSON IS: NEVER TRY
"We're happy to get a prospect and a little financial relief, but in the big picture, this was a disappointing end to what could have been a nice career in Boston for a very talented pitcher. But it didn't work out and I'll take responsibility."
"In hindsight, the contract was a mistake. I'll take the blame."
"If the guy was pitching the way he did three years ago, you don't acquire him in this kind of trade. We only got him because he is down, but at his age, we see the potential as an upside."
ADIOS Y GRACIAS, EL GATO GRANDE
"This is a sad day for me, but I honestly felt it was the right time to step away. I just wasn't playing up to the expectations that I have set for myself throughout my entire career, and I wanted to walk away on my own terms."
"Playing has been a part of my life for so long, but I just felt this was the right time to give a younger guy a chance to play."
"He said, 'Look, I'm not playing to my standards. I'll make the decision for you.' What classier person in baseball have we come across?"
WORKING ON YOUR SKILLS, LIKE PLATE DISCIPLINE SKILLS, COMPUTER HACKING SKILLS…GIRLS ONLY WANT BOYFRIENDS WHO HAVE GREAT SKILLS
"But he doesn't have that one quality that, for a leadoff hitter, is very essential to anybody, which is not to be afraid of hitting with two strikes on him. I'm not saying that he's afraid. But when hitters can go up and work the count, even take two strikes and then still be successful, that's when we say they're not afraid to hit with two strikes."
"I like walk, but I swing now. Now I like swing. No more walk."
"Today I tried to hit a homer. I'm ready for opening day."
"I know if I stay within myself and have a good approach at the plate, I'll be fine. I can't say what my numbers will be, but it all comes back to good pitch selection and timing at the plate. If I get those two things going, I'll be fine."
"If he doesn't make this team, I should resign and go home."
"If we don't keep Blanco, I should resign and go home. Because then we've totally missed what we're trying to do here."
"Every year you've got to try to add something different. Next year I'll start throwing a knuckleball."
"When I speak, people know I speak the truth. The thing is, our team has nothing to really hide. We're kind of out there."
"He worries after just one game of 0-for-4. I went 0-for-4 every day and didn't worry."
"There is no mechanism for a player in Ryan's position to demand a trade."
"Look at what kind of player I am. I'm never hitting any home runs. I never take any steroids because I don't need them. I take a lot of stuff I buy over the counter."